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:
- To give or not to give? A look into the debate over whether the United States should continue funding foreign aid projects. – NPR
- A new Director-General of the World Health Organization was elected this week. Can his work in Ethiopia serve as a model for other countries? – Medium
- Read 9 lessons on digital design from the 2017 ICT4D conference. – DAI
- Learn how African entrepreneurs are developing new solutions to help farmers improve crop yields. – Harvard Business Review
- What’s the impact of bad data on policy decisions in Africa? – Quartz Media
SHOULD AMERICA KEEP GIVING BILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO COUNTRIES IN NEED?
Stephen Moore, who advised the Trump campaign on foreign policy, argues to dismantle U.S. foreign aid due to lack of evidence that it helps raise GDP or standard of living in the countries that receive the aid. Is he right? This article delves into both sides of this debate. At the core of the debate is how we define development and measure success.
Once you break open the black box of aid, it’s easier to find out whether a project has made a difference in a country’s well-being. ‘What is it that you’re trying to measure?’ says Neil Boothby, a professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and a former special adviser on children’s issues at USAID. ‘Are you looking to reduce poverty? Mortality? Develop robust health systems?’”
Bonus: Bill Gates shared his take on the value of U.S. foreign aid in an article posted on Gates Notes last week. Read his perspective: Foreign Aid Keeps Americans Safe.
ETHIOPIA’S EXAMPLE SHOWS THE WAY TO A NEW ERA IN WORLD HEALTH
This week Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was elected as the Director-General of the World Health Organization. As the previous Minister of Health of Ethiopia, Dr. Tedros orchestrated a series of community-based health reforms that reduced child mortality by 70% and HIV infections by 90%. This article details Dr. Tedros’ work, which helped make Ethiopia a model for other countries looking to develop a sustainable health system.
Today, the world has an opportunity to build on Ethiopia’s successes. This coming week, for the first time, all 194 United Nations member states will vote on who will become the next Director-General of the World Health Organization.”
For more information on the achievements in Ethiopia, read our recent ICT4D Roundup, where we recapped an article that explores how Dr. Tedros’ used community health workers to change Ethiopia’s health system.
9 LESSONS ON DIGITAL DESIGN FROM THE ICT4D 2017 IN HYDERABAD
The 2017 ICT4D Conference in Hyderabad took place this past week, and thousands of ICT leaders from around the world came together to share ideas on how to accelerate the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. This article from Adam Fivenson of DAI highlights the importance of “good digital design in ICT for international development,” and shares takeaways from nine panelists on how to design better ICT solutions.
One of the most popular sessions at the entire conference was hosted by Dimagi’s Anthony Connor, and highlighted various instances of successful implementation of Dimagi’s core product: CommCare. CommCare is one of the best known and most widely used digital data collection platforms for a number of reasons, but one of the most important is that Dimagi understands the importance of being collaborative. They work closely with partners and clients throughout their design and implementation process.”
HOW DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY IS CHANGING FARMING IN AFRICA
As we’ve explored before in these ICT4D Roundups, developing sustainable agricultural practices is more important than ever because of our growing global population. In Africa, this problem is exacerbated by low farm productivity, weather pattern changes, and a rural-urban migration. African-based technology startups are tackling these issues by offering affordable solutions that help farmers improve how to predict and adapt to challenges.
Digital technology opens vast untapped potential for farmers, investors, and entrepreneurs to improve efficiency of food production and consumption in Africa. From precision farming to an efficient food supply chain, technology could bring major economic, social, and environmental benefits. Indeed, the sheer optimism across the startup ecosystem is that extreme hunger can be cured in Africa, in this generation, by significantly transforming the industry that employs most of its citizens.”
POOR DATA HURTS AFRICAN COUNTRIES’ ABILITY TO MAKE GOOD POLICY DECISIONS
What’s the impact of bad data on policy decisions in Africa? Without good data, it is difficult to evaluate how programs are performing. Unfortunately, in many developing countries in Africa, good data – accurate, timely, and disaggregated – is hard to come by. Organizations like the African Population Health Research Center are working to create national policies to enable stronger data systems. Read this article to learn more about their efforts.
Data is the first, crucial step. Then you need smart, objective analysis to make sense of the data and shape the narrative. Once the data supply side is up to par, the hope is that decision makers at all levels will increasingly demand relevant information to lay the foundation for policy making and budgeting.”
Organizations across 60+ countries use Dimagi’s open-source mobile platform, CommCare, to improve data collection and bring efficiency, visibility, and scalability to field-based studies. Read how CommCare solves the issues many programs face when it comes to data integrity and security here.
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