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:

  • Are financial penalties an effective way to persuade women to give birth in health centers? Read more about this new policy underway in Liberia. – The New York Times 
  • Eight innovations are changing the way African countries use data. – One
  • [Q&A] Read how Terre des Hommes is using mHealth to reduce child mortality in Burkina Faso. – Dimagi Blog
  • The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization is delivering seeds and fertilizer to farmers whose crop yields were hit the hardest by Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria. Read about their efforts to help feed those in need. – All Africa
  • Do you know the “10 concepts everyone in ICT4D should know?” Get up-to-speed here. – ICTworks
  • African heads of state agreed on two initiatives to help stop the spread of AIDS by 2030. – UN AIDS
  • [Event] AgImpact and ACIAR will be showcasing their research on Mobile Acquired Data on August 9. Learn more and RSVP for the event! – ACIAR

 


ENTICING PREGNANT WOMEN IN LIBERIA TO GIVE BIRTH IN HEALTH CENTERS

In Liberia, local governments are using financial penalties as a way to convince women to give birth in health centers. While the policy seems to be working, experts are concerned about long-term ramifications. Some worry financial penalties might cause friction in communities and foster negative associations against health workers. They are also concerned that the increase in patients on resource-strapped local health clinics, will worsen the level of care women receive. Read this article for a more in-depth analysis.

The local policy essentially forces women to give birth in health centers by threatening financial penalties — a practice aimed at curbing maternal deaths. In Liberia, 725 women die for every 100,000 live births — among the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world.”

Read more on nytimes.com


EIGHT WAYS AFRICAN COUNTRIES ARE USING DATA TO CHANGE LIVES

CommCare on a tablet in Burkina Faso

The United Nations recently held a two-day conference titled, “Data for Development in Africa,” where governments and organizations came together to discuss data innovations for development. This article highlights eight specific innovations that were mentioned, with varying goals.

“When people within the international development talk about the ‘data revolution,’ and get excited by its potential to change the world, it can sometimes feel slightly beyond reach. Here, we’ve decided to explore 8 real life examples of why #datamatters, and how it is being used across Africa to change lives.”

Read more on one.org


MHEALTH TO REDUCE CHILD MORTALITY IN BURKINA FASO

Health workers, mom, and baby using CommCare in Burkina Faso

In 2010, one in 10 children in Burkina Faso died before the age of five, mainly due to lack of access to quality health care services. Terre des Hommes started the Integrated e-Diagnostic Approach programme (IeDA) in 2014, with the goal of reducing child mortality by enabling better quality of health services through mobile health tools, quality improvement processes, and a data management strategy. Read this Q&A with Guillaume Foutry, IeDA Project Director, for more information on the project, how it scaled, and key takeaways from the implementation.

“Do not focus on the technology only: integrate the human factor. We are building a tool, but people are going to use it… how do we train them? How do we collect their feedback? How do we understand their challenges?”

Read more on dimagi.com


NIGERIA: SEEDS GIVEN TO 1 MILLION FARMERS HIT BY BOKO HARAM IN NORTHEAST NIGERIA

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is delivering aid to some areas of Nigeria that were hit the hardest by Boko Haram. For the past few years the conflict has left farmers unable to plant crops, and now five million people need food aid and roughly 1.5 million Nigerians are on “the brink of famine.”Aid will come in the form of fertilizer and seeds, which the FAO hopes will help Nigeria create a sustainable food source for the future. 

Investing in agricultural assistance today will provide food for tomorrow, and can ensure people have a source of food even when they are cut off from other forms of aid.”

Read more on allafrica.com


10 CONCEPTS EVERYONE IN ICT4D SHOULD KNOW

This article highlights 10 key concepts you should know when working in on ICT projects. Written by an ICT consultant in Washington DC, the author speaks from his own experience thinking through projects, challenges, and trends in the ICT field.

For those working in the ICT4D space, it is not easy to get oriented to a basic set of principles or concepts in use by those in the field — even after years of experience (it’s accepted that we don’t really have a defined set in the first place, so that’s ok.)”

Read more on ictworks.org


AFRICAN UNION ENDORSES MAJOR NEW INITIATIVES TO END AIDS

During this year’s African Union Summit, African heads of state agreed on two initiatives to stop the spread of AIDS by 2030. The first initiative is a Western and Central African “catch-up plan,” which will accelerate aid in areas with some of the highest rates of HIV in Africa. The second is a community health workers initiative, which will recruit two million new health workers across Africa. Read this article for more information on both initiatives, and how they will be implemented.

Complacency gives birth to regression of the gains made in reducing HIV prevalence. We in Uganda have rekindled the campaign to end AIDS; the science exists, as well as the medication. We can win this battle.”

Read more on unaids.org

Health workers with caseloads of HIV/AIDS patients face several challenges, including limited training and difficulties tracking patients. Organizations like Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Doctors Without Borders have used CommCare to create mobile health systems to help address these problems. You can read more about these projects here.


THE MOBILE ACQUIRED DATA (MAD) SHOWCASE

AgImpact will be hosting an event with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) on August 9 to discuss their research on mobile data collection. Read the announcement for more information on the research, and what will be discussed at the showcase. You can RSVP for the event here. Note: registration will close July 12, so don’t miss out!

With the current MAD research due to finish in September, AgImpact and ACIAR is hosting an event to showcase the activities and provide an opportunity for researchers, development practitioners and policy makers to see and hear the results of the research series.”

Read more on aciar.gov.au

We recently interviewed Jack Hetherington, research program coordinator at the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). Learn more about the project and read the Q&A here.

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