Welcome to our weekly #ICT4D News Roundup! We are passionate about the intersection of technology and social good. Each week we look for the best articles that focus on the ICT4D industry, the issues that impact the sectors we work across, and interesting content for social enterprises.

 

Highlighted articles this week:

    • Farmers in Zambia tilled a series of graphs into their fields to send a message about agriculture in Africa. Find out more. – Fast Company 
    • Learn how CommCare is helping to strengthen the level of care community health workers provide in Côte d’Ivoire. – Jhpiego
    • A look at one of the most successful and scalable technologies to come out of the Development Impact Lab at the University of California, Berkeley. – ICTworks
    • With political resistance mounting against U.S. foreign aid, how can the global development community do more with less? – Cooper/Smith
    • Read why agricultural extension programs are crucial to addressing rural poverty and hunger. – Devex

 


TO GET THE WORLD’S ATTENTION, THESE AFRICAN FARMERS TURNED A FIELD INTO DATA


A group of farmers recently spent five days tilling a series of graphs into their soil to send a message to the global community: invest more in agriculture in Africa.

Read this article and watch the accompanying video for more information on how these farmers believe investing in agriculture will support more entrepreneurs, create better sustainable food sources, and lift communities out of poverty.

A series of graphs in the soil, called the Field Report, share key data. Even though Africa has a quarter of the world’s arable land, it only produces 10% of the world’s food. More young people are moving away from rural communities at the same time that the population–and the demand for food–is growing. A giant ‘11’ makes the point that growth in agriculture is 11 times more effective at reducing extreme poverty than other sectors.”

Read more on fastcompany.com


COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS APT TO TAP AN APP IN CÔTE D’IVOIRE

In order to make healthcare more accessible, especially for those living with chronic illnesses, the government of Côte d’Ivoire, in partnership with Jhpiego, is working closely with local nurses and community health workers (CHWs) to bring healthcare services closer to people in need. As part of a new chronic care model, CHWs are being trained to prescribe medications, which before were only accessible through doctors. In order to facilitate this, Jhpiego created a mobile application on CommCare for CHWs to track the care they provide patients.

A case in point: Loukou Kouame, a yam farmer who had all but given up before a CHW using the CommCare app showed up at his home.”

Read more on jhpiego.org


SCALING TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS WITH DEVELOPMENT ENGINEERING

The Development Impact Lab (DIL)created in 2012 by the University of California, Berkeley, works to advance international development through science and technology innovations. This article analyzes Community Cellular Networks (CCN), one of the most successful examples of a “development engineering” project to come out of the DIL.

As DIL nears the end of its fifth year, we have been reflecting on our portfolio of projects, considering the development innovations that have scaled and those that have not. A few key examples illustrate that large-scale impact is indeed possible with the right mix of targeted funding, technological innovation and rigorous field work.”

Read more on ictworks.org


“AMERICA FIRST” & FOREIGN AID

As the United State’s foreign aid budget has the potential to shrink in the near future, the development community must look for ways to do more with fewer resources. Cooper/Smith, a startup that uses data as a means to improve the efficiency of development programs, argues that data might be the key to achieving more impact with less funding. This article highlights three steps donor governments and aid organizations should take to generate actionable data.

With the Trump Administration’s proposed budget portending fewer resources for foreign assistance, providers must accomplish as much as possible with available resources. In addition, better data about what well-run programs can accomplish, will help persuade the public that foreign assistance is a wise investment. Donor governments and aid organizations should take three basic steps to generate that data.”

Read more on medium.com


OPINION: AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION AS A CRUCIAL SUPPORT TO DEVELOPMENT

Research shows that investing in agriculture versus other sectors can lead to significantly better returns in terms of reducing poverty levels and fighting hunger. As organizations and governments attempt to reach the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, agricultural investing is expected to be a big part of reaching these goals. This article investigates more holistic approaches to agriculture development rather than simply focusing on food sustainability, and how agriculture extension programs have the potential for greater impact.

Perhaps most significantly, investments in extension can often be extremely cost-effective and impactful relative to other investments in agriculture. One global study found that extension provided a 62 percent median rate of return for extension analyses compared to a 48 percent median rate of return for agricultural research.”

Read more on devex.com


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