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July 17, 2018

New Research Points to How Mobile Network Operators Can Help Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals Profitably

By | Newsroom

KIGALI, Rwanda – Today, the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) released its second paper in a series focused on the promise of data for development (D4D). The paper, Leveraging Data for Development to Achieve Your Triple Bottom Line: Mobile Network Operators with Advanced Data for Good Capabilities See Stronger Impact to Profits, People and the Planet, will be presented at GSMA’s Mobile 360 Africa in Kigali.

“The mobile industry has already taken a driving seat in helping reach the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and this research reinforces the role mobile network operators in lower-income economies can play to leverage their network data for development and build a new data business safely and securely,” said Kate Wilson, CEO of the Digital Impact Alliance. “Mobile network operators (MNOs) hold unique data on customers’ locations and behaviors that can help development efforts. They have been reluctant to share data because there are inherent business risks and to do so has been expensive and time consuming.  DIAL’s research illustrates a path forward for MNOs on which data is useful to achieve the SDGs and why acting now is critical to building a long-term data business.”

DIAL worked with Altai Consulting on both primary and secondary research to inform this latest paper.  Primary research included one-on-one in-depth interviews with more than 50 executives across the data for development value chain, including government officials, civil society leaders, mobile network operators and other private sector representatives from both developed and emerging markets. These interviews help inform how operators can best tap into the shared value creation opportunities data for development provides.

Key findings from the in-depth interviews include:

  • There are several critical barriers that have prevented scaled use of mobile data for social good – including 1) unclear market opportunities, 2) not enough collaboration among MNOs, governments and non-profit stakeholders and 3) regulatory and privacy concerns;
  • While it may be an ideal time for MNOs to increase their involvement in D4D efforts given the unique data they have that can inform development, market shifts suggest the window of opportunity to implement large-scale D4D initiatives will likely not remain open for much longer;
  • Mobile Network Operators with advanced data for good capabilities will have the most success in establishing sustainable D4D efforts; and as a result, achieving triple bottom line mandates; and
  • Mobile Network Operators should focus on providing value-added insights and services rather than raw data and drive pricing and product innovation to meet the sector’s needs.

“Private sector data availability to drive public sector decision-making is a critical enabler for meeting SDG targets,” said Syed Raza, Senior Director of the Data for Development Team at the Digital Impact Alliance.  “Our data for development paper series aims to elevate the efforts of our industry colleagues with the information, insights and tools they need to help drive ethical innovation in this space.

Emmanuel de Dinechin, Partner at Altai Consulting added: “By fully embracing the opportunity offered by D4D, and by doing so today rather than tomorrow, the industry could boost its impact even further.”

To access Leveraging Data for Development to Achieve Your Triple Bottom Line: Mobile Network Operators with Advanced Data for Good Capabilities See Stronger Impact to Profits, People and the Planet, click here.

For a deeper look at the applicability of MNO data-driven insights across a range of development topics, please refer to DIAL’s February 2018 Report Unlocking MNO Data to Enhance Public Services and Humanitarian Efforts here.

The Digital Impact Alliance’s Data for Development Team will continue to review other questions related to data for development to advance shared knowledge and better coordination between various D4D actors, so please sign up for DIAL’s newsletter, read our blog, and follow us online.

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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

About Altai Consulting

Altai Consulting is a consulting firm that specializes in emerging markets. Its client base includes private companies active in various sectors as well as public institutions, international organizations and charities, including the World Bank, CGAP, GOGLA, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID, DFID, JICA, UNHCR, UNICEF and IOM. Altai has also advised the governments of several developing countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia in improving the effectiveness of their public policy and service delivery mechanisms. www.altaiconsulting.com

June 19, 2018

The Digital Impact Alliance Open Source Center Announces Strategic Grants to Foster Ecosystem Change

By | Newsroom

OSC continues to support projects aimed at improving the capacity and use of technology to advance development and humanitarian efforts

WASHINGTON, DC — The Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) Open Source Center announced its Request for Applications (RFA) for strategic grants to fund open source projects serving the international development and humanitarian sectors. The Strategic Grants Program supports solutions to common challenges many technology for development (T4D) projects face when designing and implementing free and open source software (FOSS) projects. This is the first round of strategic grants and the Open Source Center recently closed its second round of catalytic grants.

Up to five grants totaling $900,000 will be awarded along with up to 480 hours of in-kind support to projects that foster a healthy, sustainable, open source community and products. Eligible proposals will involve one or more of the following activity categories: Enterprise-Level Quality Improvements; Multi-stakeholder Collaboration; Platform Building and Generalization; Product Consolidation; and Managing Upstream Dependencies and Downstream Forks.

Over the last decade, the international development community has been exploring how digital technologies, such as open source software, can extend the reach and increase the quality and efficiency of development efforts. The DIAL Open Source Center’s mission is to convene a vibrant and inclusive community for builders of free and open source software – promoting knowledge sharing, collaboration and co-investment in technology and human capacity to support positive social change in communities around the world.

The grants programs, which includes both strategic and catalytic grants, are designed to support existing FOSS projects to further their reach, functionality, and creativity. Through the Strategic Grants program, DIAL and its partners are committed to addressing the systemic barriers to open source projects and promote practices that better align with the Principles for Digital Development. While these grants aim to promote all aspects of the Principles of Digital Development, the categories in this round of funding are focused on Understanding the Ecosystem, Building for Sustainability, Reusing and Improving, and Using Open Source.

“The themes addressed by the Open Source Center Strategic Grants Program represent a unique effort to create systemic change in the T4D ecosystem,” said Jake Watson, Senior Director at DIAL. “We believe these grants will amplify the efforts of open source communities by promoting concrete, practical and technologically-sound projects that demonstrate alignment with the Principles for Digital Development.”

Proposals for funding of new and existing open source projects may be submitted now through July 31, 2018. Software project leaders should coordinate applications within their open source communities, and submit no more than one proposal per open source project. Submissions should represent the community’s best idea(s). Interested applicants can visit http://www.osc.dial.community/grants.html for more information on the Open Source Center and its grant programs.

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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 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. http://www.digitalimpactalliance.org/

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