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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.

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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
pquirk@digitalimpactalliance.org

February 28, 2017

Digital Impact Alliance Taps New Partners to Inform and Produce Scale-Up Guidance for Global Digital Deployments

By | Newsroom
BBC Media Action, Esoko, Johns Hopkins University Global mHealth Initiative and Vital Wave will work to share emerging practices on sustainable scalability for digital service providers.

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) announced new partnerships to help develop its Scale-up Guidance Toolkit, a resource that will enable digital service providers to learn from other practitioners that are transitioning long-term existing digital projects and products to new governance and business models. By partnering with BBC Media Action, Esoko, Johns Hopkins University Global mHealth Initiative and Vital Wave, DIAL can source best practices directly from organizations that are managing these transitions around the globe in diverse sectors and provide pragmatic how-to guidance that maturing projects can use for their own models.

Digital deployments have continued to emerge throughout the world, demonstrating a growing demand for these services across several sectors including agriculture, health and financial services. However, few have successfully scaled to reach millions of end users and many continue to face key barriers that impede growth, including ongoing capacity and knowledge gaps, and fragmentation of efforts by key actors in the ecosystem.

To help close capacity and knowledge gaps, DIAL is developing practitioner-to-practitioner level guidance that can be used when scaling digital deployments. As deployments enter various stages of maturity, a different set of challenges confront the organization including strategic, commercial, legal, technical and implementation, given that business or technical model specifications may require significant adaptation. The “Scale-up Guidance Toolkit” will build on and extend earlier guidance outputs, which primarily focused on providing guidance to launch and design digital development efforts, and focus more towards what it takes to sustain an initiative once launched.

By pulling from partners’ experience, successful real-world examples and additional research, the Toolkit will be able to identify key factors that digital deployment projects should consider across the organization, share relevant case examples, and offer tools, templates and other operational resources to help others accelerate their ability to scale. It will apply to digital deployments regardless of sector or geography and will be made publicly available to ensure that the greatest possible number of digital service providers will be able to increase their capacity to deliver quality services to vulnerable populations.

“The Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) community has produced guidance over the years in helping plan and start new efforts,” said Kate Wilson, CEO, Digital Impact Alliance. “However, there are limited examples to inform what digital deployments should do once they reach the five-year mark. The choice you have to make is how to scale your effort or technology, but we have few proven lessons to learn from in the developing world. This work is to help answer those questions for countries and implementers who are transitioning efforts from start-up to scale.”

BBC Media Action, the BBC’s international development charity, which has designed, developed and scaled the Kilkari, Mobile Academy and Mobile Kunji product suite in close coordination with the Government of India, will serve as one case study to share its experiences towards more sustainable scaling. Esoko, a private for-profit social enterprise connecting smallholder farmers in Africa to agriculture markets, information and finance through simple mobile and web technologies, will also share its practices towards supporting successful scale in its digital deployments. These are mature programs that have gone through beta and launch, and are sustaining.  As very few projects globally have reached this point, it is critical the digital development community learns from their approach, techniques, and tools. Johns Hopkins University Global mHealth Initiative will provide industry expertise along with technical precision and rigor for Toolkit content. Vital Wave, a professional services firm that provides end-to-end services to scale technology in low-resource environments, will work with DIAL to lead the research, creation and iterative design of the Toolkit. The firm’s history of working across sectors and industry verticals such as health, finance and education, will complement the other partner’s expertise, leading to a practical yet robust tool to further enable the scale of digital implementations.

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About DIAL

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 & 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.

Press Contact
Paul Quirk, DIAL
+1-202-864-5148
pquirk@digitalimpactallilance.org

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