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Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL)

Advancing an inclusive digital society


February 28, 2018

New Paper From the Digital Impact Alliance Aims to Help Governments, Humanitarian Groups and Mobile Network Operators Find Shared Value in Unlocking Data for Social Good

By | Newsroom

The paper was released at Mobile World Congress, the largest gathering dedicated to mobile technology and innovation

Barcelona, Spain – Today, the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) released Unlocking MNO Data to Enhance Public Services and Humanitarian Efforts, which provides insights to governments, humanitarian organizations and mobile network operators (MNOs) on the shared value proposition of using MNO data for development (D4D).

“Mobile phones and the data they generate provide an incredible opportunity to accelerate progress in parts of the world where progress has been slow,” said Kate Wilson, CEO of the Digital Impact Alliance. “If we work to understand where MNOs and development and humanitarian sector partners can find shared value, we will collectively be able to unlock data to advance the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The Digital Impact Alliance, in partnership with Delta Partners Group, investigated which data elements (location, user profile, usage and spend) were most useful to each development sector, in comparison to how difficult it was to extract the data. The team based its analysis on applications in five sectors: economic development, humanitarian assistance, health care, education and agriculture and to prioritize the most important insights, the analysis focused on:

  • Viability: The level of risk associated with sharing data
  • Implementability: The ease of data ingestion, transformation, storage, analysis and visualization
  • Replicability: The level of reusability of the same insight across several different development needs and sectors

“The Digital Impact Alliance is interested in investing in projects that can take the humanitarian and development sectors beyond the pilot phase to test more sustainable approaches to effectively using data for development,” said Syed Raza, Lead Author and Senior Director of the Data for Development Team at the Digital Impact Alliance.  “My hope is that together we can advance discussion on the challenges that exist and are preventing long-term, solutions-based D4D approaches from taking root.”

This research, as well as a review of previous reports, including The State of Mobile Data for Social Good, issued by the GSMA and UN Global Pulse in 2017 and the World Bank’s World Development Report Digital Dividends issued in 2016 helped inform a recommended “shared value proposition” for using data for development that is outlined in the paper.

The paper also highlights the significant benefits of mobile data for governments, humanitarian organizations and MNOs and includes specific examples of how to overcome current obstacles to using data for development.

“Our telecoms, media and digital industry specialization allowed us to better understand data availability and the potential to generate development insights applicable across use cases,” said Juan Jose Rio, Partner at Delta Partners Group.  “We hope our contribution helps to advance awareness and understanding by key stakeholders to improve the D4D ecosystem.”

The Digital Impact Alliance’s Data for Development Team is reviewing other questions related to data for development, including questions on market models, operational and technical models, and governance models for mobile data, to advance shared knowledge and better coordination between various D4D actors on this issue.

To access Unlocking MNO Data to Enhance Public Services and Humanitarian Efforts, visit here


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 Delta Partners

Delta Partners is a leading advisory and investment integrated platform globally. We are a unique hub for people, capital and knowledge to address challenges and opportunities in a transforming TMD industry. With offices across the world, in the United States of America, Colombia, the United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Spain and Singapore, we serve our clients around the globe. Our unique business model enables us to serve our TMD clients through our four business lines, Management Consulting, Corporate Finance, Fund management and Ventures. www.deltapartnersgroup.com

December 04, 2017

The Digital Impact Alliance Launches Beyond Scale, a Free Online Guide to Help Implementers Deliver Sustainable Digital Development Programs

By | Newsroom

Today, the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) launched Beyond Scale: How to make your digital development program sustainable, a free online guide for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that details key challenges and potential solutions when scaling and sustaining digital development programs beyond the ‘valley of death’ – the problematic phase many digital development implementers face when the pilot is over and the funding may be running out.

The Digital Impact Alliance partnered with BBC Media Action and Esoko, both implementers of long-term, large-scale digital development programs, to share their learning and experiences of what works – and as importantly – what does not. It also partnered with Vital Wave and Johns Hopkins University Global mHealth Initiative to source digital development emerging best practices from around the world.

Between 2009 and 2015, the number of public and private sector programs testing digital technology solutions for systemic development challenges in agriculture, education, financial services and health more than tripled. As investment in digital development has grown, so has the need to ensure cost effectiveness, scale and financial sustainability.

However, few digital solutions in global development have successfully sustained beyond the pilot stage to institutionalize impactful change. Many continue to face key barriers that impede growth in areas outside of digital technology expertise, such as sustainable business models and private or public-sector partnerships, regulatory and policy compliance, and the challenges of large scale marketing, distribution and sales operations.

“As organizations around the globe work to take digital development programs beyond the pilot phase, a unique opportunity exists to draw on their experience knowledge and key insights to provide pragmatic how-to guidance for maturing digital solutions and programs,” said Kate Wilson, CEO of the Digital Impact Alliance. “Through the extensive research and production process we were able to source helpful best practices and guidance and we’re excited to unveil a product that directly helps on-the-ground implementers in digital development organizations.”

Many informative guides have been published about how to approach the design of a new digital solution, but there is little advice available to NGOs that have already piloted solutions and are now at the four-to-five year mark in their programs, trying to figure out how to deliver sustained impact with less reliance on donor dollars.

Beyond Scale aims to fill the information gap. The guide consists of seven modules, each on a different ‘make or break’ topic: Strategy

  • Business Model
  • Legal, Policy and Regulatory
  • Solution Design
  • Roll Out
  • Human Capacity
  • Partner Relationships

Each module offers a series of key steps brought to life by real-world examples from BBC Media Action, Esoko and a wide range of digital development implementers from around the globe. The examples highlight challenges organizations faced when replicating their digital development programs in new geographies, diversifying their products and services, transitioning ownership to a government, throwing out their business model and starting from scratch, or restructuring their organization to reach scale and financial sustainability. Useful tools and templates are included in each module and provide actionable how-to tips to help readers apply learning to their own work.

Beyond Scale also provides contextualized case studies of what has worked and what has not from BBC Media Action and Esoko, which both run digital development programs at scale, and have achieved a significant degree of sustainability.

BBC Media Action, the BBC’s international development charity, is delivering free reproductive, maternal, neonatal and child health information directly to the mobile phones of millions of families and free mobile-based training and job aids to hundreds of thousands of grassroots community health workers in partnership with the Government of India. Esoko, a for-profit social enterprise that connects smallholder farmers in Africa to agriculture markets, information and finance through simple mobile and web technologies, shared its practices towards supporting successful scale in its digital deployments. As few digital solutions have achieved this level of longevity and scale, globally, DIAL has invested in sharing their approaches, techniques, and tools with the digital development community.

The Johns Hopkins University Global mHealth Initiative provided industry expertise, technical precision, and rigor to the development of the guide’s content. Vital Wave, a professional services firm that provides end-to-end services to scale technology in low-resource environments, worked with DIAL and the partners to lead the research, creation and design of the e-book. Vital Wave’s history of working across sectors and industry verticals such as health, finance and education, complements the other partner’s expertise, leading to a practical yet robust tool to further enable the scale of digital implementations.

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