Digital in Development Programmes

Digital technologies can add value to our development interventions to help us reach greater numbers of poor and marginalised people more quickly and cost-effectively. The rapid expansion of mobile phones and internet access in poor countries offers unique opportunities to stimulate growth, enhance peoples’ experience of services and as citizens, involve them in our work, cut fraud, help them hold governments and other institutions to account and support them better in humanitarian emergencies.

“The digital agenda is becoming a ‘must do’, rather than a ‘nice to do’. We’re being asked to do more with less or the same and the only way to do this is to do things differently – including through digital” Tim Robinson, DFID NED

The basic attributes of digital technologies (also refered to in international development circles as Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D)) are: connectivity, communication, and information. Our emphasis is on how we use the more recent, and fast-growing digital communication technologies (mobile phones and Internet) that allow people and organisations to communicate and share information digitally. Tools and approaches include: Mobile – SMS, apps, Interactive Voice Response (IVRs), mobile money, solar-powered phone chargers, low cost smartphones Internet – websites, social media, knowledge platforms, databases, management information systems Data – open data, big data, data collection, data mining, data monitoring, analytics Activities (supported or enabled by digital tools) – crowd sourcing, geo mapping, user feedback, e-learning, information dissemination, real time monitoring, low cost diagnostics Emerging technologies – smartcards, biometrics, 3D printing, Google glass, wearable tech, TV white space, unmanned aeriel vehicles (drones, satellites) DFID full text available in pdf



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