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:
- A new study finds that investing in global health R&D is a smart move for the U.S. economy. – NPR
- Learn how small-scale farmers in Africa are adapting to climate change. – Ensia
- Read how Rainforest Alliance is using mobile phones to keep farmers up-to-date with the latest sustainable farming methods. – The Rainforest Alliance
- How can mobile data collection help improve prison reform efforts in India? – Dimagi
- UNICEF provides a statement on the famine that is disproportionate affecting children in Somalia, South Sudan, northeast Nigeria and Yemen. – UNICEF
THE SIDE EFFECT OF THAT NEW MALARIA DRUG? AMERICAN JOBS
A research study released last week found that by investing in global health research and development, the U.S. Government is not only providing low- and middle-income countries with life-saving medicine, it is also putting money back into the U.S. economy. By creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs, the study found that for every dollar the U.S. spends on global health R&D, 89 cents goes right back into the U.S. economy. This study will be important as policymakers debate whether or not to cut back on funding for U.S. foreign aid programs.
Researchers found that between 2007 and 2015, the U.S. government invested $14 billion in global health research and development. And that created 200,000 new American jobs and returned $33 billion to the U.S. economy.”
HOW SOME AFRICAN FARMERS ARE RESPONDING TO CLIMATE CHANGE — AND WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM THEM
Climate change is threatening the livelihoods of small-scale farmers in Africa, and forcing them to come up with innovative solutions to issues such as droughts that create harsh growing conditions. This article lists three ways African farmers are combating climate change with sustainable and adaptable farming strategies.
Innovations that make farms less vulnerable to wide swings in conditions will become increasingly important as climate changes and population grows. Productive, affordable and accessible practices like these could make all the difference between barely surviving and thriving in an increasingly uncertain future.”
SUSTAINABLE FARMING IS JUST A SWIPE, TAP, CLICK AWAY
To help provide better access to smart agriculture practices for farmers, the Rainforest Alliance created a farmer training app on CommCare. The app provides farmers with best practices and allows them to connect with other farmers, helping to create a global community of sustainable farmers.
This ingeniously simple, low-cost technology is accessible to everyone, regardless of age or gender. And because the information is presented in videos, photos, and graphics, farmers of all literacy levels can use the app, too. Furthermore, it is designed so that once it’s downloaded, it can run offline. A farmer in a remote area without internet can visit the cooperative office or town center to download, then carry the tablet out to his or her coffee plot.”
For more information on this project and how the Rainforest Alliance started using the farmer training app with coffee producers in Guatemala, read this blog post from 2015.
HOW MOBILE DATA COLLECTION CAN AID PRISON REFORM
One of our Dimagi Field Managers recently teamed up with Sanghmitra Singh, project officer for Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative’s Prison Reforms Programme, to discuss the role technology can play in improving prison reform efforts in India. This article highlights three ways that mobile data collection tools can be used to improve transparency and conditions in prisons.
Developing a more open system is a critical step to improving prison conditions and protecting prisoners’ rights, and technology and data have the potential to play an instrumental role in facilitating this process.”
CHILDREN PAYING A DISPROPORTIONATE PRICE AS FAMINE LOOMS ACROSS SOMALIA, SOUTH SUDAN, NORTH-EAST NIGERIA AND YEMEN
Last week, Justin Forsyth, deputy executive director at UNICEF, made a statement on the famine currently affecting Somalia, South Sudan, northeast Nigeria, and Yemen. Forsyth thanked humanitarian actors for their assistance and asked for their continued support for as long as the famine continues. This statement details the current situation in the regions, lessons from the 2011 Somalia and East Africa famine, and UNICEF’s response plan.
The stakes for children across these four countries and their sub-regions could not be higher. Nearly 1.4 million children are at imminent risk of death, and many more millions of children are at risk unless we turn these crises around and build sustainable recovery. The longer we wait to address these children’s needs, the more we jeopardize their future. Children and families facing the gravest threats count on the leadership and generosity of the people of the United States to stand with them, to help them survive this crisis and go on to build a brighter future for themselves and their countries.”
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