Since the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) started in March 2016, the crucial role digital technology and data use play in reaching the SDG targets has only grown. In fact, at no other point over the past four years has the need to use these tools well, and the harms that arise when they are not, been more apparent than right now during the current Covid-19 pandemic. As we all grapple with this disease and its impact, we see more clearly that a person’s accessibility to the internet and their acceptance over the use of their data dictates their ability to safely communicate, work, educate their children, or monitor their own health. DIAL has found in our work that the countries capable of dealing effectively with the challenges of incorporating digital solutions; providing citizens control over their data use; and battling misinformation and cybersecurity campaigns may not be those who have the most resources or are the ones most talked about.
Recognizing that we all have something to learn from these countries, DIAL worked with our Board of Directors over the last few months to chart DIAL’s future and how we can be most helpful in supporting digital transformation. During this process, the two questions at the forefront of our minds were: “What needs to change for digital technology and data tools to really serve everyone and help us reach the SDGs” and “What is DIAL’s unique value add that no one else can or will do?” To answer these questions, we embarked on a process that took stock of progress to date, our failures, and pinpointed the key trends and define our future direction.
The result of this process is DIAL’s DRAFT 2021-2025 strategy, “Beacons of Hope,” which is being published today for public comment. This strategy outlines our plans to 1) Accelerate examples of national digital transformation and data use by working with governments; 2) Build global cooperation around digital transformation through shared advocacy, financing, training, and community mechanisms; and 3) Connect, support, and scale proven solutions for faster uptake and adoption by governments and service providers. We invite everyone to read it, provide us questions, post feedback and comments, and provided stories of how DIAL’s work has helped accelerate your work or where you think we have gotten things wrong. Please email us at DIALStrategy@unfoundation.org.
DIAL will also be sharing a few recorded discussions through the Fall of 2020, highlighting key elements of our strategy, trends in digital transformation, and to shine a spotlight on the unsung leaders driving digital development and helping to take the world forward.
I can’t tell you what the next six months will bring exactly, but I do know that our responsibility at DIAL is to help shape a digital future that is both safe and effective; one where technology is better positioned to meet the needs of the global community. I do believe that if we are able to work together more effectively, we can harness our collective talents to accelerate countries undertaking digital transformation to create more “Beacons of Hope” worldwide. I hope that you will join us.