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Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL)

Advancing an inclusive digital society


May 19, 2017

Humanitarian Agencies to Donors: “Help Us Ensure the Best Data Protection for Beneficiaries”

By | Digital development, International development, Newsroom, Principles for Digital Development, Technology

Major International Aid Organizations and Tech Companies Join Forces to Provide Data Protection for The World’s Most Vulnerable

Hyderabad, India — Global aid agencies seeking to protect some of the most vulnerable people around the world from breaches of data privacy have called on donor agencies to help establish industry-wide standards.

Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL), NetHope and World Vision were among hundreds of organisations at the international Information and Communications Technology for Development (ICT4D) Conference¹ in India this week calling for better protection of data amid the WannaCry ransomware attack. The organizations highlighted the need to standardise approaches for protecting the privacy and security of data gathered by the humanitarian sector in an effort to provide more efficient support and measure impact.

During the conference, the group announced it would review existing frameworks, tools, and mechanisms relating to data security and privacy across the humanitarian sector. The aim of this work is to create a small suite of standardised frameworks to enable the industry to better protect people’s data.

“We are committed to ensuring that the data of the people we serve around the world is adequately protected,” said Karl Lowe, CIO and Vice President of IT at CRS. “We need our donors – governments, foundations, and other institutions so we can align required data protection standards for our humanitarian and development projects.”

Kate Wilson, CEO of DIAL added, “Collecting data on beneficiaries is an important part of shaping development programmes and tracking impact but we must come to terms with the inadequacies of the privacy and security systems that currently exist. Donors and implementing agencies should work together to develop and apply more effective privacy safeguards as called for as part of the Principles for Digital Development.”

“Establishing appropriate guidance for the humanitarian sector is of utmost importance,” said Lauren Woodman, CEO of NetHope. “Over the last year, NetHope has been working to identify best practices in information security and data protection, and we’re thrilled to see the sector coming together to address this important issue.”

Al Lutz, Chief Information Security Officer of World Vision2 said everyone—humanitarian agencies, donors, members of the private sector and governments—needed to aim for the highest level of safeguards possible.

“Our beneficiaries, especially the most vulnerable, deserve the very best data protection we can provide,” he said. “Being at risk of having your data misused simply because you happen to be living in a refugee camp, or because a drought leaves you reliant on food aid just adds insult to injury. Everyone involved with collecting, storing and using beneficiary data has a responsibility to shoot for the very best common standards that can be practically applied.”


Notes to Editors

¹ Information and Communication Technology For Development http://ict4dconference.org

² World Vision has this week won an award for IT security http://bit.ly/2rpQGbC


For CRS: Tom Price, +1-410-951-7450, tom.price@crs.org

For DIAL: Paul Quirk, +1-202-864-5148, pquirk@digitalimpactalliance.org

For NetHope: Nan Hall,  +1-206-604-5118, nan.hall@nethope.org

For World Vision: Jan Butter, +44 (0)7889400889, jan_butter@wvi.org


Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding.  For more information, visit www.crs.org or www.crsespanol.org and follow Catholic Relief Services on social media: Facebook, Twitter at @CatholicRelief, @CRSnews and @CRSnoticias, InstagramPinterest and YouTube.

The Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) aims to realize a more inclusive digital society in emerging markets, in which all women, men and children benefit from life-enhancing, mobile-based digital services. A partnership among USAID, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Swedish Government and the United Nations Foundation, DIAL’s efforts help accelerate the collective efforts of government, industry and development organizations to realize this vision. www.digitalimpactalliance.org

NetHope: NetHope empowers committed organizations to change the world through the power of technology. NetHope, a consortium of 50-plus global nonprofits, unites with technology companies and funding partners to design, fund, implement, adapt, and scale innovative approaches to solve development, humanitarian, and conservation challenges. Together, the NetHope community strives to transform the world, building a platform or hope for those who receive aid and those who deliver it. www.nethope.org

World Vision is a global Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. www.wvi.org



March 07, 2017

The Digital Impact Alliance and ITU Join Forces to Promote Digital Solutions to Achieve the SDGs

By | ICT4D, Newsroom, Tech innovations

Partnership to convene the public sector, private industry and development community to drive information communication technology (ICT) innovation.

Washington, D.C. and Geneva The Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) announced a new partnership today to advance the creation of appropriate digital solutions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Over the next year, DIAL, ITU and others will work to convene the public sector, private industry and development organizations across sectors to collaborate on co-design initiatives, promote industry dialogue, and execute high-level events and innovation challenges to drive information and communication technology (ICT) innovation.

Despite the rapid expansion of telecommunications and mobile technologies, the digital revolution has not yet reached all populations, limiting the availability of socially beneficial digital services. One barrier to expanding the benefits of technology is that many tools and platforms created for high-resource environments are not fully designed to function with the constraints of low-resource environments. Technologies can prove to be expensive or less suited where unreliable electricity, intermittent connectivity and limited expertise present everyday challenges.

“I look forward to the day when women, men and children in every community benefit from the life-enhancing benefits a digitally inclusive society provides,” said Kate Wilson, CEO, Digital Impact Alliance. “DIAL’s partnership with ITU reinforces our commitment to work across the public and private sectors to ensure that ICT innovations are utilized in a way that promotes achievement of the sustainable development goals.”

“As we embark on the implementation of the SDGs, both private and public sectors need to join forces in the ICT ecosystem to achieve socio-economic development,” said Brahima Sanou, Director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) at ITU. “The partnership between ITU and DIAL will help us identify innovation opportunities and drive ICT innovation for the benefit of all.”

To realize a set of ICT innovations that are appropriate, affordable, scalable and specifically designed for the SDGs, ITU and DIAL will 1) Convene cross-sectoral experts from the UN, the public sector and the private sector to identify opportunities for ICTs to advance the SDGs; 2) Identify gaps and limitations in current technology platforms needed to achieve the SDGs; and, 3) Work with the private and public sector organizations to promote to adaptation of existing technologies, and where necessary creation of new appropriate ones, to fill high-priority gaps.

“Collaboration with ICT experts, development program implementers and those in the private sector is key to identifying high-potential opportunities for technology platforms that can advance the SDGs,” said Jeff Wishnie, Senior Director, Platforms and Services, Digital Impact Alliance. “An analysis that maps existing technologies to opportunities, and identifies gaps where adapted and new technologies are required will be the first step in this effort.”

Work kicks off March 9-10 in Geneva when DIAL, ITU and ITU-WHO’s mHealth initiative “Be Healthy, Be Mobile” convene stakeholders across UN organizations, academia, private industry and the NGO/development sector to collaborate on the first phase of work to create and validate a use case/scenario template and a gap analysis methodology that utilizes a human-centered design approach.


About the Digital Impact Alliance

The Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) aims to realize a more inclusive digital society in emerging markets, in which all women, men and children benefit from life-enhancing, mobile-based digital services. A partnership among USAID, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Swedish Government and the United Nations Foundation, DIAL’s efforts help accelerate the collective efforts of government, industry and development organizations to realize this vision. www.digitalimpactalliance.org.

About ITU

ITU is the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technologies, driving innovation in ICTs together with 193 Member States and a membership of over 700 private sector entities and academic institutions. Established in 1865, ITU celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2015 as the intergovernmental body responsible for coordinating the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promoting international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, improving communication infrastructure in the developing world, and establishing the worldwide standards that foster seamless interconnection of a vast range of communications systems. From broadband networks to cutting-edge wireless technologies, aeronautical and maritime navigation, radio astronomy, oceanographic and satellite-based earth monitoring as well as converging fixed-mobile phone, Internet and broadcasting technologies, ITU is committed to connecting the world. www.itu.int.

Press Contact for the Digital Impact Alliance:
Paul Quirk
+1 202 864 5148

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