By Lauren Woodman
The successes NetHope has achieved in 2014 confirm our shared commitment to the idea that collaboration between leading NGOs and the technology sector to improve our world through collective impact yields results. Whether it’s training young adults in IT skills or responding to the Ebola outbreak or sharing best practices to improve ICT usage, NetHope and its members remain convinced that together we are stronger, more impactful, and more capable of achieving our respective missions.
At the same time, 2014 was a year of exciting change for NetHope. Working closely with our members and supporters, we reflected on NetHope’s past and set a course for our future. We added new members to our community, and new staff to our team. We turn to 2015 invigorated and poised to seize new opportunities.
But before we toast the New Year, let’s take a moment to reflect on some of the important NetHope highlights from 2014.
NetHope’s Ebola Response
Working closely with our member NGOs, the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC), and other responding organizations, NetHope has helped enable an effective and efficient response to the crisis. A central focus of our work has been to work with local partners to enhance and augment the strained ICT infrastructure in the region. Additionally, we have supported rapid deployment of a variety of communication solutions as an interim step to support immediate high-priority needs of response organizations and local communities, and to help on-the-ground responders better coordinate their work, have access to quality data, and improve their respective efforts.
The commitment and generosity we saw from donors this year was simply remarkable. The Ebola outbreak is a unique crisis – evolving, ongoing, transnational and highly complex – and these realities have made effective response even more challenging. Organizations like The Patterson Foundation and the Paul Allen Family Foundation have been catalytic in elevating the urgency of the emergency and providing generous support at a critical time. Leading technology companies such as Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Cisco, and many others have generously provided contributions and expertise to support NetHope, our member NGOs, and other response organizations working in West Africa. Working quickly and in response to most immediate needs, NetHope was able to deploy critically-needed communications materiel and provide much-needed financial support to member organizations in a matter of weeks.
Read more about our response to the Ebola Outbreak.
NetHope Academy Trains 1000 Youth in IT skills
Earlier this year, the NetHope Academy completed a tremendous milestone: training and employing 1000 IT interns in Latin America and Africa. In doing so, we successfully completed our 2011 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) commitment in three years. Through the NetHope Academy program, NetHope in partnership with Accenture, Accenture Foundation, Cisco, Voila Foundation, and Microsoft have provided IT vocational courses and coordinated in-country six month internship opportunities for youth in emerging markets. The training has created new employment possibilities for graduates and provided much needed technical support in remote parts of the world. Academy Graduates can be found in Haiti, Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, and India. The program will launch in Egypt in January 2015.
Digital Payment Toolkit
Helping members adopt new technologies and approaches is a key benefit of our work, and last summer, NetHope launched a new toolkit focused on assisting non-governmental relief and development organizations in making the transition from cash to electronic payments. “Making the Journey from Cash to Electronic Payments<strong”>” was created in partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Digital Development Team and provides a base from which organizations can build and accelerate their use of e-payments in programs and operations. It aggregates lessons learned and illustrative examples and experiences from both early champions of the movement as well as others who have only recently embarked on the journey.
NetHope Solutions Center Refresh
Since the inception of the NetHope Solutions Center, we’ve strived to make it a comprehensive go-to resource for development organizations to explore technology’s impact in development work. The Solutions Center has focused on building a knowledge base of blogs, case studies, and resources to help inform the development community of how technology can be leveraged for their work. The Solutions Center has grown into a go-to resource across the international development and conservation sector. This winter we unveiled a new look and feel for the site, featuring an improved user experience, more robust communities, and simplified ways to find in-depth content that best matches your interests.
Visit the New Solutions Center.
Visa Innovations Grant Recipients
For the second year in a row, the Visa Innovation Grant program, administered by NetHope, awarded $500,000 in funding to development organizations pushing the boundaries around the innovative use of digital payments in emerging markets. This year two $250,000 grants were awarded to Naya Jeevan and World Vision for projects in Mexico and Tanzania. Both organizations will support Visa’s efforts to advance financial inclusion around the globe.
Women and the Web
In partnership with USAID, Intel, World Pulse, World Vision, UN Women, and Women in Technology Nigeria, NetHope announced the creation of the Women and the Web Alliance at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit at the White House in August 2014. The alliance will seek to close the Internet gender gap by bringing more than 600,000 young women online in Kenya and Nigeria in the next three years. Through the combined efforts of Alliance partners, the Alliance will introduce Kenyan and Nigerian young women to the Internet and engage them in using it as a tool for social and economic empowerment. Alliance activities will include digital literacy training, relevant curated content, policy work, and online social networks.
New NetHope Members in 2014
In 2014, NetHope membership expanded to 42 members. New members added include Ipas, Samaritan’s Purse, Mercy Ships, Medical Teams International, and Management Science for Health. Please join us in welcoming our new members!
View our full membership.
New NetHope Board Members in 2014
As a membership organization, the leadership of our organization depends on the active, engaged and attentive participation of the organizations we serve. A key mechanism for this is our Board of Directors, comprised of both members and key stakeholders, which works tirelessly to support the direction, health and vitality of NetHope. Here, too, this year we were fortunate to have strong interest and commitment: the membership elected five new members to the Board, including David Goodman, CIO, International Rescue Committee; Romanus Berg, CIO, Ashoka; Jim Daniel, COO, Oxfam America; Gail Hyde, CIO, Habitat for Humanity; and Laura Frigenti, VP of global development practice, InterAction. We also welcomed a new Chairman of the Board, Vincent Richardson, CIO of Concern International.
NetHope Member Global Summit 2014
A highlight for our members every year, our Annual NetHope Member Global Summit 2014 was a record-setting event this year, drawing more attendees and sponsors than ever. With the warm hospitality of Cisco Systems, over 200 attendees joined us at the company’s headquarters for a busy and productive week. Driven by member interest, 30+ breakouts, 8 member showcases, 15 plenary sessions, and 5 workshops provided excellent opportunities for collaboration, sharing, and learning. In addition to these formal working sessions, the birds-of-a-feather dinners, networking receptions, and the gala plenary dinner kept everyone entertained and provided great opportunities for rich networking with familiar – and new – colleagues and friends.
NetHope is what we make it, and once again, you have made a tremendous year possible. All of us here at NetHope are grateful for your continued support so that we can grow our collective impact.
We invite you to stay engaged with us throughout the year. A few ways to do so include
Warm wishes from everyone at NetHope this holiday season!