How Was mBanking Successfully Embraced in Bangladesh?

mBanking

Bringing mBanking to Bangladesh has had many bumps along the road. Before introducing mBanking to Bangladesh, 87% of the population didn’t have a bank account even though many individuals were subscribed to a mobile device. These statistics represented a huge untapped market for commercial banks.

Several years back, establishing bank branches across rural area was not an easy option because of the costs and regulatory constraints the central bank (Bangladesh Bank) only granted maximum of 15 new branch-opening licenses each year.

To address the issue, the country inaugurated mBanking services in 2011. Dutch Bangla Bank Limited (DBBL) and “BRAC Bank Limited” (bKash), enabled millions of banked and unbanked people for different financial services. To get this service individuals had to dial a number for specific service provider (ex: *247# or *322#) from a mobile device, and then they would get different service options on to their mobile screen. By selecting preferable options people could then easily access those services.

There was no need to have an Internet connection to register the mobile number with national ID & user photo to any service provider agent. Within a short amount of time mass amounts of people used this service because it was fast, reliable, and easy to access.

Now in 2015, 19 banks provide mBanking services. Several banks including DBBL, Bangladesh Islamic Bank Ltd, Mercantile Bank Ltd., and BRAC Bank Ltd. has already made strategic alliances with different international money exchanger organizations for receiving remittance from foreign countries.

Existing mBanking Service 

Today a total of 10 banks in Bangladesh are licensed to provide mBanking service, and eight banks have already launched their services. From 2011-2013 there were 442,269 mBanking accounts opened with 9,093 appointed agents. And total value of transactions up to June 2014 has been an astounding $11 billion.

What does modern mBanking service in Bangladesh offer? The services include:

  • Air-Time Top Up – By this service any mobile user can recharge their balance for calls or SMS. To get the service they have to dial specific service provider numbers, select an operator, mention a mobile number, and take several other steps. Within a minute the individual will receive their required balance.
  • Utility & Institutional Payments – People can pay their utility bill or other bills by this service. In addition parents can also pay their children’s school or university tuition fees, and the schools will just charge the individuals an additional fee.
  • Fund Transfer and International Remittance – People can also transfer money from their mobile account to another mobile, but obviously the user has to have sufficient balance in their own mobile account.

Conclusion

Some conventional users don’t felt that they should use it, and they are happy to continue using a traditional banking system. But in a marketing perspective, we can say that those who did not open a mBanking account yet are still potential customers for the future.

mBanking started with the idea to bring the unbanked people under the umbrella of the online banking sector, especially for rural areas as there are not enough physical banking facilities. And this project of doing so has been rather successful. Since Mobile Banking is a new technology in Bangladesh, it needs promotional activities and greater awareness to inform potential customers.

In addition, to make mBanking service sustainable, I’d advise the following:

  • Revise the service charge for facilities
  • All the facilities should be in native language (Bangla) as well as in English
  • Identify rural areas where telecom network is yet not sufficient
  • Introduce a service monitoring team
  • Establish a separate call centre for questions
  • Create a more efficient ICT policy for all banks

Mobile banking has gradually made life easier in Bangladesh, and not only for people in urban areas, but especially those in rural areas. It is a growing service people are learning to trust in over time, and I’m excited to see what the future has to offer.

Written by Mehdi Hasan, a Monbukagakusho Scholar who earned his Master of Science in ICT4D at the Kobe Institute of Computing in Japan. He is a former Software Engineer for BRAC and a former IT Specialist for ICT Policy Evaluation at WHO. You can reach him by email here.


Go to Source. Reprinted from ICTWorks

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Get Certified in 3D Printing for Social Good with TechChange

3d-printing

3D printing is primed to change our physical world. Twenty years after the Internet and cell phones fundamentally changed how humans communicate with each other and exchange information, this new technology is set to revolutionize the way that we make products by bringing factory to the people and ushering in a new era of innovation and creativity in manufacturing.

Already 3D printers have been used to print low-cost soft-tissue prosthetics and medical supplies like customized tracheal valves, umbilical cord clamps, and splints. Efforts are underway to make it possible to print things like solar panels, greenhouses, dental implants, and more.

3d-printing-irex

The potential of 3D printing to assist in response to global development and humanitarian challenges will increase dramatically as 3D printers become more sophisticated and affordable and a number of patents expire.

Will you be part of this coming revolution, or will you be left behind, like switchboard operators and mimeograph repairmen? Keep your skills sharp, and invest in your career with the first ever online certificate course in 3D Printing for Social Good, offered by TechChange.

Inspired by a thought-provoking IREX Deep Dive on 3D Printing and a webinar with e-NABLE, this four-week online certificate course will explore case studies across a range of sectors from disaster response to health, to agriculture, and energy. It will attempt to address questions like:

  1. Can 3D printing truly provide significant reductions in supply chain time and costs?
  2. How might it be introduced inclusively into communities so as not to augment the digital divide?
  3. How long before it can effectively benefit the world’s most marginalized individuals?

Like all TechChange courses, the online certificate course in 3D Printing for Social Good will provide a unique hands-on learning environment with animated videos, technology demos, practical activities, networking events, immersive simulations and more. This course will also feature:

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3D Printing for Social Good
February 23 – March 20, 2015
Online with TechChange


Go to Source. Reprinted from ICTWorks

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If Digital Freedom is a Myth, How Can We Ethically Provide Access to Cutting-Edge Technology?

ethics

Ethics is an ever-present theme in Development and one which is sometimes overlooked in ICT4D/Technology for Development – a field in which people can sometimes get carried away with the supposed transformational potential of technology. So it is refreshing to arrive at a Technology Salon explicitly setting out to discuss these complex ethical issues.

Lead discussants for the day are Professor Tim Unwin of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation and UNESCO Chair of ICT4D at Royal Holloway, University of London and Chris Locke, founder of Caribou Digital. Other discussants (Chatham House rules of course) hail from small and large NGOs, mobile operators, academics, broadcasters and a smattering of people from various technology and data focused organisations – an interesting and eclectic mix for this type of debate.

The morning is introduced around four themes, although a lot of the interesting and animated discussion veers pretty broadly away from these, but the below is an attempt to corral the comments back into some semblance of order. Interested in joining the next event? Sign up now!

When does national sovereignty trump digital freedom?

Intriguingly, this theme was mostly turned into a discussion about the concept of digital freedom:

“Digital freedom is a myth. Corporations give things to consumers in exchange for their data, which they then make money from”

Interesting comparisons emerge between this exchange and the Locke/Hobbes ‘social contract’, by which citizens have given up some freedoms in exchange for increased rights and protections. What contract exists between citizens and corporates, what have we exchanged our freedoms for in a world where ISPs known more about their users than most governments do?! And how will this play out in a world where the role and power of the nation-state is in decline?

What about trust though? In some countries people trust their governments and would rather they held data on them than private companies did. In other countries, citizens trust corporations to hold this data more than they do their own governments. With these kind of differences, where is the global debate on digital rights happening?

Responsibility when collecting, using and distributing data

Aside from the normal and well-known issues around data (privacy vs. transparency etc.) a point was brought up about the fact that for some people, a digital/mobile identity is the first official identity they have ever had. This raises concerns around people’s ability to understand the value of their own identity and data, their relationship to it, and the ability of others to use and control and profit from it. Is helping people to understand this a potential role for NGO programs?

More worryingly was the prospect of why many identity programs have failed to scale – what happens to people who previously had no official identity when governments or other vested interests don’t want them to become official, or they themselves are scared to do so..?

As the world increasingly goes ‘digital first’, we are already seeing exclusion of people without the skills or money to access the web. How much worse is this for people who are denied a digital identity to begin with?

Line between supporting civil discourse and seeking regime change

Starting with a discussion of the ‘Cuban Twitter’ scandal, by way of some lengthy debates about what regime change is, and whether it is desirable – or even possible, some consensus appeared to emerge about the fact that media is an amplifier not a disruptor. It amplifies existing voices and discourses, which can result in a variety of outcomes (comparisons are made between the build up to the Arab Spring with the recent Facebook beheadings). Is it possible for the Development sector to channel funding to ensure counter narratives are also being heard?

More interestingly it seems is the idea that we have “lost our innocence” about the use and power of social media. In the post-Snowden world it is beginning to look like “the tin-foil-hat wearing conspiracy theorists were right about everything”… The biggest difference between new and old media is simply that we can monitor the hell out of it. But who is doing this, and who should be…

(And while not mentioned, it raises the age-old question of who watches the watchmen… Or these days the less catchy ‘Who monitors and evaluates the data collectors “. Hmm, that needs work!”)

Should humanitarian and development organisations be doing any of this anyway?

Some fascinating ethical debates emerged throughout the day on this theme…

  • How do development and ICT4D programs ensure they are driven by the needs of the poorest and most marginalised, and not just by the needs of business, donors or overseas governments.
  • Is there a way to balance the financial capital (usually external) with the social capital (usually local) when building programs.
  • Is Open Data always good, or does it sometimes just get opened up to business and the rich who have the skills to do something with it?
  • What should an open-data NGO do if it is in, for example, a multi-stakeholder partnership with a private sector company who wants to keep the data private for 18 months, is it better to just stop the program or keep going on their terms?
  • What about NGO data – it’s not just the private sector, charities collect vast amounts of data about their ‘beneficiaries’, and apparently are exempt from the data collection rules that apply to businesses!

This debate comes to a head with musings over whether ICT4D really even exists or whether we now have D4ICT – Development programs to support the ICT industry… Is the reason why most pilots don’t scale up, because they are not intended to, but are meant to use public monies to open up markets for technology firms in developing countries. Food for thought indeed!

Perhaps the most interesting part of the discussion for me, was outside of the key themes but focused on what is the real purpose of ICT4D programs?

We know ICTs can and often do increase inequality (by amplifying existing power and wealth disparity). But the dominant narrative of our time insists that ICTs fuel economic growth and through this will benefit the poor and give them increased access to markets. The discussion becomes a false polarity of “help the poor through technology” or “exclude the poor from technology”. And if by helping the poor, it also appears to help the rich, the middle-classes, big business and multi-nationals, then so be it.

But are there other options that are not up for discussion? Are there more disruptive things that technology could help achieve, or is it just used to give people “a bit” so they also have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

I particularly like the suggestion of asking the question “who benefits most”… Is a program or technology is helping the poorest, great. But if while helping the poorest it is helping the rich and the multi-nationals even more… Is that truly development? Is that ethical? Is that the “Only way”.

Now I really wanted to end this blog there, it’s a powerful statement…

Unfortunately that doesn’t leave room to include Tim’s fantastic comment of “In the future we will all be chipped . . . the only question is who will be chipped first – the rich or the workers” – which I think is a great way of summing up the potential power issues with regards to emerging technologies.

I also thought it’s important in such a polarised to debate to offer at least one positive rallying point. And we had one, yay! ‘Universal Access’. There seems to be no case against this – everyone should have access to information. End of. So why isn’t it happening, what are the vested interests stopping it happen. There is an interesting ethical debate to take place there, and perhaps a rallying cry for the ICT4D sector to get behind?

And interestingly – now could be just the time to do it – the issue of digital ethics is very much in the public eye at the moment, with Labour discussing the need, and an extremely good article in this week’s Observer Tech Monthly (http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/dec/08/tech-companies-social-networks-ethics-body-rebuild-trust-users).

It’s a complex area, which needs private and public, tech and non-tech, domestic and international to come together. Maybe it’s an idea whose time has come. Who will start the call to arms to make it happen?

Links mentioned in the session

Matt Haikin is an ICT4D Manager and Consultant with over 20 years experience in web development and Information Systems


Go to Source. Reprinted from ICTWorks

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8 Recommendations for Better User Testing of Mobile Products for Women

Chittagong-Chandanaish-1

I was recently in Bangladesh, working with the GSMA Connected Women Innovation Fund grantee BRAC Bangladesh to conduct user testing for their mobile education product with teenage female users. As outlined in a previous blog post, BRAC is working with Robi Axiata and the British Council to create a mobile learning service aimed at improving employability for rural adolescent girls. The service aims to teach English through IVR with a view to helping users be more employable in major industries such as the ICT industry or the garment industry.

User testing is an invaluable step in creating any mobile product. It helps the mobile operator or NGO get the product or service right for the audience, and understand any issues or pain points that may affect usage, as well as understanding potential pricing, marketing strategies and willingness to pay – all factors that affect whether a product is successful in the market. It’s particularly important to user test a mobile product for women.

This is because female users tend to have lower levels of technical literacy (and confidence) and so a complicated menu is more likely to cause problems for female users. Likewise with the actual content – women tend to be less likely to use products if they don’t see them as wholly relevant to their needs, so it’s important to understand whether the content is suitable for the female audience, and if not, why not.

Conducting consumer insights before developing a product is crucial to understanding your audience – and user testing is the next logical step in understanding whether the product you’ve developed is, in fact, the right one.

In the Bangladesh user testing, BRAC, Robi and British Council found that the educational content, storylines and characters for the mobile learning product tested extremely well with the target audience – helped, in part, by the in-depth consumer insights they carried out prior to developing the product.

However, the voice menu-based registration system proved very challenging for the users: it was designed to capture information about the user including age, education and geographical location, but the team soon realised that there were too many fields in this section, meaning that users got confused. As this was the first step in signing up for the service, this told Robi and BRAC that this section needed to be simplified significantly in order not to deter users from the very beginning. User testing in this case helped the team to understand what works and what doesn’t work, while there’s still time to make these changes to the product.

Clearly, there are excellent reasons to user test a mobile product for women, with women. Observing the Bangladesh user testing helped pull out 8 key points to consider when user testing a product for women:

  1. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune. The Bangladesh user testing cost $5,000 USD for fifty tests in five different locations around the country. And yet the return on investment by making those necessary changes is likely to be large because making sure the product is right will ensure easy adoption and maximum uptake.
  2. User testing can be done at the same time as the soft launch – if the timeline is planned accordingly. Mobile operators often resist user testing because of the potential delays to launch – but if it is done during the soft launch, changes can be incorporated in time for the commercial launch
  3. Go to the women – don’t expect them to come to you. Female users are often reluctant to travel to the main cities to take part in user testing, because of time constraints or security concerns – and yet mobile operators have traditionally conducted user testing in or near their head offices. Robi and BRAC conducted user testing in locations near the adolescent girls’ homes – meaning they didn’t have to travel far and so were more likely to attend
  4. Partnerships with NGOs can get access to these female users in their own environment, something mobile operators have tended to struggle with. In the Bangladesh case, Robi gained access to the adolescent girls through BRAC’s extensive network and community engagement.
  5. Use female facilitators to conduct the user testing – and think carefully about age. Women are more comfortable with women – particularly if they are individual tests, and are more comfortable with women they can relate to. Because the Bangladesh product is aimed at adolescent girls, the moderators were young women, and so the atmosphere was more relaxed and chatty – which meant users were more likely to be honest, and not embarrassed if they ran into difficulties
  6. Use open-ended, qualitative, questions in a conversational style – focus on the ‘how’ and the ‘why’, not the ‘what’. The Bangladesh user testing script used open questions such as ‘Tell me about….’ And What is your opinion of…’ , which encouraged the girls to talk in a lot of detail about their opinions of the product.
  7. Conduct tests individually. Female users are often less confident and may be embarrassed about finding things difficult – and this can be amplified if they are part of a group. BRAC and Robi did individual tests, to make the users more comfortable and encourage them to express their own opinions more honestly
  8. Incorporate observation – and a (female) observer. BRAC and Robi included an extra person in the user test just to observe the user as she went through the educational service. A lot of information and nuances can be gleaned from body language and expressions, which the facilitator may miss if she is making notes and leading the conversation. Having an extra woman in the room to act as observer can pick up on how the users interact with the product and identify any pain points that the user may not articulate.

As a result of this user testing, BRAC and Robi are now sure that they have a good product, content-wise, that is relevant to their audience’s needs. Changes will be made to the voice-based registration menu to simplify it significantly. And as this example from Bangladesh shows, user testing is such an important step in product development, especially for women, and product improvement should be an integral part of the work plan from the very beginning.

Alexandra Tyers is the Insights Manager at GSMA Connected Women


Go to Source. Reprinted from ICTWorks

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A Free Catalogue of Affordable ICT4D Options

KopernikCatalogue

Smaller nonprofits and social enterprises often report outdated, small-scale data on their social impact to their donors and stakeholders. Instead, what if they had an affordable way to report real-time, large-scale data on their results? This question inspired Kopernik to create the Impact Tracker Technologies Catalogue in online and print forms.

Organizations are under pressure to measure their performance and results. Yet, while both supply and demand for ICT-based tools exist, nonprofits and social enterprises often fail to take advantage of them. Read more

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7 Aspirations for Better ICT4D in 2015

Technology Salon NYC had another banner year of great discussions. To cap it off and start the 2015 series of events, we had a unique Salon. We shared our hopes and fears for 2015, with three amazing lead discussants to guide the conversation:

  • Felicity Ruby, long-time activist and currently ThoughtWorks’ Director of Global Internet Policy;
  • Abi Weaver, Director of the Global Technology Program at the American Red Cross; and
  • Laura Walker Hudson, CEO of Social Impact Lab (SIMLab).

Below I’ve organized the Tech Salon discussion into 7 aspirations for our sector in 2015. Keep an eye on these themes, and if you have ideas that weren’t mentioned at the Salon, go ahead and add them to the comments section! Better yet, subscribe to Salon invites, to join the next discussion in New York, DC, San Francisco, Toronto, London, Nairobi, Helsinki, and soon, Lusaka, Denver and Bangkok.

1) Continued pushback on mass surveillance

The war against journalists, activists and whistle blowers (referred to by Felicity as ‘the JAWs of change’) continues. Many are still behind bars or in exile (including, Barrett Brown, Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden) because of their deployment of technology to provide information that is in the public interest. In addition, the right to encrypt has been weakened and it is feared that the pushback against mass surveillance may lose strength in 2015.

Hopes for 2015 are that the world will focus more on addressing the injustices exposed by these individuals rather than on punishing them for exposing information. It’s also hoped that encryption tools will be preserved so that financial transactions and relationships that rely on trust and confidentiality can be kept in confidence. Lastly hope was expressed that citizens and organizations will unite and coordinate more effectively in the coming year and continue questioning and pushing back against mass surveillance.

One participant commented that in some countries that are just coming on line, Internet will be accessed via Wireless spectra that are let by countries to mobile operators. He hoped that structural elements that support the current culture of surveillance will be eliminated as digital inclusion expands to more countries and that national governments will stand up for citizen rights to privacy.

Another participant noted that technology is increasingly being used for militarization, targeted assassination programs and disposition matrices. He feared that police forces in the US and beyond would continue in this direction. The hope is that the level of public protest against police militarization grows, and that the 2014 movements to stop racist policing will lead to lasting change and a reduction in structural discrimination against people of color and minority groups in the US and globally.

2) Balanced public and private benefits of (big) data

There is positive potential in big data, for example: tracing diseases, expanding financial services, predictive analysis and conflict prevention. However there has been growing concern over bias in big data and the potential for abuse, discrimination, privacy breaches and corporate exploitation of personally identifiable information. The hope for 2015 is that a balance will be struck around the collection, use and sale/sharing of these data, and that policies are put in place to push for collection of fewer data, better encryption, deletion of data after usefulness has expired, improved data privacy and better protection standards.

It is also hoped that there is movement toward individuals owning and bartering with their own data and having more of a say on how personal data are used. Currently, many revenue models are based on free services in exchange for personal data, and alternative models are needed. One hope is that there will be more clarity on exactly how companies are using and sharing/selling personal data, more awareness around privacy and a move towards participatory and balanced opportunities for people to knowingly provide certain data in exchange for free hardware or software.

Salon participants also hope that people will begin to vote with their online habits and stop using services that are exploiting their personal data, and that creative minds will develop revenue and business models that do not depend on selling private data. In addition, it is hoped that adoption of free, open source and encrypted software will grow, thereby helping to ‘re-decentralize’ the Internet.

Perhaps in 2015, the establishment of boundaries and some conditionality will create a win-win situation that would balance the issue of ‘power’ when it comes to the benefits of big data and individual rights to control how personal data are used. This could lead to better frameworks for humanitarian and non-profit organizations who find themselves in the difficult situation of being asked to provide and/or authorize the use of other people’s data. Lastly, third party, neutral organizations and entities may emerge that could hold or manage data and serve as data brokers for vulnerable groups, for example during crisis situations.

3) Ethical data and technology protocols and policies

As more NGOs set up data systems and host platform, more organizations are becoming ‘data holders’, yet many do not know the legal implications of holding data, according to a Salon discussant. Fears are that ‘meaningful’ and ‘informed’ consent will continue to be quashed with the advent of constantly changing technologies and that organizations will not have the capacity or wherewithal to keep up. Hopes are that more organizations will realize that they need to establish responsible and ethical data protocols and policies and will put the time and resources into proper training of staff and management regarding the risks of digital data collection, storage and use.

While it is seen as positive that donors are encouraging open data, geo-located data, and digital data collection, there are also fears that lack of understanding of the risks will lead to a data disaster that harms those whose data are shared and impacts negatively on those doing the sharing or funding the program that requires it. It is hoped that in the coming year, there is a higher investment in learning and guidance for donors, management, grant writers and frontline staff to achieve a better understand of how to protect people’s privacy and mitigate risk. Salon participants hope that in 2015 we will discover the sweet spots where the benefits of greater openness are balanced appropriately with the amount of risk experienced by those providing their data.

One participant noted that the politics and ethics of cellphone data record (CDR) analytics will be at the forefront in 2015 and the discussion will shift. To date, It’s been focused on the risks to individual privacy, yet the conversation is expanding to ‘group privacy’ and questions of power, empowerment, and data literacy. It is hoped that we will have an answer to the question: ‘What is an ethical approach to using cellphone data?’ by the end of 2015. It’s also hoped that the term ‘private sector data’ is challenged, since the data are actually individual data harvested by the private sector.

4) Greater inclusion of low-resource populations and of community groups

One lead discussant shared her hope that enterprises and entrepreneurs developing new initiatives would pay more attention and work more closely with populations that have fewer resources in 2015. Many large-scale enterprises are not willing to look at the humanitarian implications of new technologies until they’ve been tested in the ‘developed’ world, she noted. A hope is that the larger private sector technology companies will develop more technologies specifically aimed at benefiting low-income consumers rather than focusing first on higher-income consumers as they normally do.

Another hope is that the excitement of humanitarian organizations will rise to match the enthusiasm of communities around the world who are eager for new technologies. A fear is that humanitarian workers will shut down community enthusiasm due to a fear of the complex, assumptions that communities are ‘not ready’ for new technology, privacy concerns, and/or skewed media portrayal of some technologies, for example unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – also known as drones.

Participants also fear that legislation will not foster inclusion in the case of some technologies. Though UAVs have been successfully used by some local groups for taking imagery during and following disasters, some governments are beginning to require pilot licenses for flying UAVs. Many small companies, community organizations and individuals cannot afford pilot licenses. One hope is that inclusive policies will enable community access to UAVs, and that these policies will be accompanied by community education around UAVs so that their use for community-based disaster preparedness and response is enhanced.

Other hopes include hardware improvements to allow 3D printers to become more affordable, faster and better able to serve mass needs rather than being limited to custom or small-batch manufacturing. Improved battery life, alternative power sources, and alternative networks were also mentioned as a key area in which to focus so that technologies become increasingly accessible to low-income or remote populations with little access to the grid or existing networks.

Lastly, participants hope organizations will focus more on understanding local habits and behaviors (for example, those around mobile money, remittances, and use of airtime minutes as currency) rather than parachuting in and setting up new systems based on something designed elsewhere.

5) A way out of the ‘innovation valley of death’

Participants at the Salon fear that the notion of ‘innovation’ will continue to be too technology focused and that innovation challenges would continue to incentivize some of the wrong things. Donors have been trying hard to fund risky innovations and to use ‘venture capitalesque’ models, said one discussant, and these may not be the right approach in our sector. Another noted that trendy innovation challenges tend to draw those who can do a lot with $50k, yet many of these smaller organizations and social entrepreneurs are not able to take their efforts to scale without broader partnerships with larger organizations or governments who have greater reach, yet innovation funding and grand challenges don’t seem to take this into account. A big gap in funding is the ‘innovation valley of death’ between ‘pilot project’ and ‘optimization at scale’ and Salon participants hope that in 2015 there will be better funding opportunities to support movement though that middle phase.

Fears include a continued donor tendency to see ‘innovation’ as something shiny and fancy rather than supporting new or combined approaches that implementors believe are the best for resolving a challenge. Some participants worry that programs and ‘solutions’ are being handed down and scaled simply because donors say so, rather than because they are really the best ways to address a particular problem. Given how difficult it can be to communicate why something is innovative, one discussant hoped that the field of ICT4D might join together and find ways to fund some of its own initiatives rather than being dependent on donor funding. This might allow implementors to think more about innovative processes and ways of working rather than shiny devices and implementing specific ‘solutions.’ The hope is that as a wider field, we can push towards innovation as process and practice, and achieve fundamental shifts in how we work and how we collaborate.

Scale was another topic Salon participants hope will be discussed more critically and re-imagined in 2015. The definition of scale requires a closer look because scale has different characteristics for different contexts and situations. The ‘black box’ between invention and optimization came up again, with one participant recommending this document which explores the space between these two stages in more detail.

6) More focus on monitoring, evaluation and learning

A discussant commented that the contribution of technology to goals within programs and projects is not well teased out or shared. She fears that our lack of sharing and learning in meaningful ways is holding back the sector. In addition, as noted here, it’s difficult when those working at the project level are asked to prove at the sector level what is working, where, when and why. Determining causality for a particular technology tool or process is complex and difficult – if not impossible — but the hope is that in 2015 we can develop better ways to understand the contribution of different ICT tools and platforms to development goals.

Another hope is that better local level monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will happen in 2015. The SDG global consultation process used social media to source input for the SDGs, and it will also be important to engage communities in monitoring and evaluating the results of efforts made to reach the SDGs.

One participant mentioned that technology is enabling new kinds of research and outreach to people that development agencies had no way of reaching before. Her hope is that new groups and more individuals, especially populations who are often marginalized, will be able to access services and support because technology helps to reach and connect them. In addition, her hope is that that social media will continue to enable like-minded people and organizations to find one another to engage and learn as peers. Another participant hopes for more institutional sharing and openness so that different organizations can work more closely and share their methodologies, processes and innovations without a competitive angle.

7) Greater humility

Finally, an overall hope for more humility from the ICT4D and wider development and humanitarian sectors was voiced. We heard things like: Let’s not sashay in…. Let’s stop parachuting products and solutions in…. When local people have their act together and are moving ahead, let’s not try to co-opt, own or control it…. Let’s change the paradigm and stop using the terms ‘developed’ and ‘developing’…. Let’s learn to better support and ask people what they need and if/how we can help…. Let’s listen…. Let’s get out of the way…. Let’s take a closer look at our privilege and power…. Let’s call each other out when we see power and privilege being abused…. Let’s work together to change our sector.

Yes, let’s!


Go to Source. Reprinted from ICTWorks

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Gender-Violence 2.0: The Digital Safety Gap for Women

WomenOnlineSafety

Technology not only has the power to connect people, but also the power to reinforce and disseminate social and cultural structures and help normalize gender roles. The technology revolution has brought new types of gender-based violence, including online discrimination, cyberbullying, cyberstalking, blackmail, and hate speech. In countries such as South Africa, Uganda, the Republic of Congo, Cambodia, Philippines, Malaysia, and Brazil active steps have been taken to improve regulatory frameworks and strengthen the capacity of women’s rights activists and organizations to use technology to respond to the growing concern of digital gender-based violence. Read more

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