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:
- America’s hidden H.I.V. epidemic: why are African-American gay and bisexual men at a disproportionately higher risk of contracting H.I.V.? – The New York Times
- What are the four most important considerations before starting an field-building organization? – Stanford Social Innovation Review
- Follow a community action recorder as she delivers critical care to expectant mothers in Nepal. – USAID
- The World Health Organization released its latest Model List of Essential Medicines this week. Read about the updates here. – WHO
- How are drones used on agriculture projects? Catholic Relief Services shares 11 use cases. – ICTworks
AMERICA’S HIDDEN H.I.V. EPIDEMIC
This in-depth article investigates why African-American gay and bisexual men are at a greater risk of contracting H.I.V. than any other community in the United States, and why it doesn’t seem to be improving. The author follows the work of Cedric Sturdevant, an advocate for his community in Mississippi, where 40 percent of all gay and bisexual men are living with H.I.V., the highest rate in the country.
Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, using the first comprehensive national estimates of lifetime risk of H.I.V. for several key populations, predicted that if current rates continue, one in two African-American gay and bisexual men will be infected with the virus. That compares with a lifetime risk of one in 99 for all Americans and one in 11 for white gay and bisexual men. To offer more perspective: Swaziland, a tiny African nation, has the world’s highest rate of H.I.V., at 28.8 percent of the population. If gay and bisexual African-American men made up a country, its rate would surpass that of this impoverished African nation — and all other nations.”
WHEN BUILDING A FIELD REQUIRES BUILDING A NEW ORGANIZATION
What do organizations like Gavi, a global vaccine alliance, Freedom to Mary, Achieving the Dream, and the Global Impact Investing Network (GGIN) have in common? They are all field-building intermediaries, or in other words, nonprofits started by funders and stakeholders to address critical issues and gaps in a field. Given the many complexities of starting a field-building organization, The Rockefeller Foundation recently funded a study to evaluate what makes these organizations successful. The research found four tenets of successful field-building organizations: shared value propositions, strong leadership, operational capacity, and sustainability.
Starting a new organization to build a field is a bold and difficult step, but more than a few donors have been willing to try. New analysis by The Bridgespan Group finds that among donors making ‘big bets’ of $10 million or more to achieve social change goals, a significant number—representing approximately 14 percent of large gifts in Bridgespan’s database—use those bets to found a new organization. And a number of these are field-building intermediaries.”
HEALTH CHAMPION IN THE HILLS
Women in Nepal are 25 times more likely to die due to pregnancy, or a pregnancy-related complication, than in the United States. In an effort to change this, USAID’s Health for Life project works alongside the Nepal Government to improve the country’s maternal and child health services. This article follows Prakriti Magar, a community action recorder, who works to improve the health of women and newborns in a remote area of Nepal, where the nearest doctor could be hours away.
Six days a week, Prakriti walks from her home in the town Sulichaur for three hours to meet with expectant mothers living in the village Mijhing. Using a smartphone application developed by USAID, Prakriti tracks their progress throughout pregnancy, reminds them to attend regular checkups, and encourages them to deliver at a health facility.”
At Dimagi, many of the organizations that we work with are trying to improve healthcare in remote areas. For example, we worked with Possible Health to implement CommCare-SimPrints, a fingerprint scanner that allows Community Health workers to more easily register, track and manage 30,000 beneficiaries in some of the most difficult to reach communities of Nepal. Read more about the project here.
WHO UPDATES ESSENTIAL MEDICINES LIST WITH NEW ADVICE ON USE OF ANTIBIOTICS, AND ADDS MEDICINES FOR HEPATITIS C, HIV, TUBERCULOSIS AND CANCER
Every two years the World Health Organization (WHO) releases a list of medications it believes every person in the world should have access to, regardless of price. This helps individual countries decide what medicines they should prioritize, which is often a difficult and controversial subject. This year’s report included the most significant revision to the antibiotics section in the EML’s 40-year history. Read about the changes here.
The new WHO list should help health system planners and prescribers ensure people who need antibiotics have access to them, and ensure they get the right one, so that the problem of resistance doesn’t get worse.”
11 COST-EFFECTIVE USES OF DRONES IN ICT FOR AGRICULTURE
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) recently started using drones in agriculture projects. After seeing success, they decided to share their findings with other organizations considering this technology for agriculture. This article explores 11 ways that CRS found the use of drones to be beneficial, including their ability to lower analysis costs, produce more accurate maps, track changes over time, and make better-informed decisions.
We’ve been tracking UAV use in CRS for some time now, and we have two projects where we used them for emergencies, but this is the first case where a project requested their use for agriculture. We documented our experience on AgriLinks and wanted to share more technical data here.”
Curious about what other technologies are useful for agriculture projects? CommCare has been used in multiple projects to support cooperative, extension programs, finance, and logistics in agriculture. You can find more information on CommCare for agriculture here.
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