Everything You Need to Know About the SDG ICT Playbook: From Innovation to Impact

Designed with organizations in mind, NetHope in collaboration with partners Intel, Catholic Relief Services, Microsoft, and CDW, have developed the SDG ICT Playbook: From Innovation to Impact. A resource for organizations working for development, the Playbook guide is both informative and actionable, ensuring that organizations walk away fully prepared to leverage promising ICT tools…

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ICT Solutions Transforming Global Development

Information Communication Technologies (ICT) solutions have experienced incredible momentum since the initial Information and Communications Technology for Development (ICT4D) conference several years ago. It has transformed from a concept into real solutions being implemented by organizations across the development space.

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NetHope and John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Join Together for New Health Project

NetHope is pleased to join Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for Communications Programs (CCP) in a new five-year USAID project called the Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3). The project aims to build the capacity of local organizations to evaluate, design and implement communication ideas that will improve health behaviors in their own communities.

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The Need for Increased Collaboration

The world we live in is certainly not a perfect place. There are a number of things that need to be done to improve it. Sometimes governments set out on improving it, sometimes non-profit organizations set out on improving it and sometimes concerned citizens set out on improving it. Each of these stakeholders has their own vision of the problem at hand and ideas about how to solve them. That vision is very much dependent upon their own vision of life and what they feel confident in doing.
Lets take an example to clarify things. For anyone who has visited the slums of Africa, you are touched by the hard life of people living in dire poverty, lack access to clean water, education, shelter and livelihood. Yet you also see a magnitude of organizations trying to help. Even the government has their own programs trying to address some parts of the problem. You will see an organization focusing on educating the children. You will see another organization focusing on providing healthcare services. You will see yet another organization focusing on creating sustainable livelihood opportunities. Each one of those organizations provides a small piece in a big puzzle, which is to improve the life of slum dwellers.

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The Evolution of Remittances

As a father of four, I am very familiar with remittances.  When my first son went off to college, I gave him an envelope of cash.  My second child got a monthly check in the mail from Mom and Dad.  Never one to wait for the mail my third child opened a joint account with us so I could make deposits locally and he could make withdrawals at the local bank branch on campus.  With my fourth, we moved to the world of interoperable ATMs; deposits and withdrawals then happened on any street in any city and even abroad.  Now, we are in the digital age and any transfers can be done online with immediate effect. 

I have been thinking a lot about this evolution in my own family as I watch the leading role remittances are playing in the growth of mobile money systems around the world.  M-Pesa was created initially to serve the market for remittances in Kenya.  M-Pesa now is used by over 15 million Kenyans and in 2011 Safaricom reported that value of transactions processed through the M-PESA platform was equivalent to 20% of Kenya’s GDP.  In Central America, Tigo Money makes remittances easy and even advertises its service on bags of Frito Lays chips sold in small markets around Guatemala as witnessed by Hamilton McNutt, a member of NetHope’s Payment Innovations team who traveled to Guatemala in March.

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Open Humanitarian Initiative: Improving Disaster Response

Last year was the costliest year in natural disasters that the world has ever seen. According to a report issued by global reinsurance firm Munich Re, world disasters in 2011 caused damages exceeding more than a third of a trillion dollars. And, experts at The World Bank predict that natural disasters will only get worse in the future, largely due to two powerful trends: burgeoning cities and a changing climate.

As the world prepares to cope with the high costs and other devastating effects of future earthquakes, tsunamis and more, it must find a better way to manage the chaotic environment that follows these disasters.

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Tech for a Brighter Future: Youth with ICT Skills

This blog is part of a NetHub series that looks at technology trends that will help to shape a bright global future. Read more on the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting and NetHope here.

The Arab Spring taught us in 2011 that the youth bulge is a phenomenon that cannot be ignored. In the Middle East 60 percent of the population is under the age of 25, which sociologists and demographers believe introduces incredible promise for the region’s development but also the potential for a missed opportunity with great consequence. The youth bulge is not just a regional challenge; it is problem plaguing most developing countries where educated youth struggle to find employment.

Countries should prioritize giving opportunities to young people because a disaffected youth could equate to the loss of fresh thinkers, innovation and heightened security risks for an emerging economy’s future.

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Tech for a Brighter Future: Mobile Money

This blog is part of a NetHub series that looks at technology trends that will help to shape a bright global future. Read more on the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting and NetHope here.

In the developing world, billions of dollars in cash is exchanged every month between governments, companies and donor agencies for various reasons: salary, social welfare payments, cash-for-work programs, emergency relief and money transfers. The majority of these payments are given in physical cash, but advancements in technology and network capabilities have introduced safer, speedier, more reliable and transparent ways for exchanging those funds.

Replacing physical cash payments with electronic payments provides improvements for governments and communities alike. For instance, when the Government of Afghanistan started paying government employees and police officers through mobile phones via a grant from USAID, it immediately cut out so much graft that some employees actually thought they were getting at 30 percent raise. Mobile money also makes it easier to tax the transactions and root out ‘ghost’ payrolls.

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The Power of Partnership

As NetHope continues to grow, I commend the organization for the incredible impact it has made in humanitarian relief and development. Through its vision, strong leadership and unwavering commitment to developing strong partnerships, NetHope has inspired a whole new approach — to effect change through the impact of technology.

As part of our global commitment to corporate citizenship, Microsoft has been a long-time contributor to NGOs throughout the world. We strive to improve humanitarian and international development efforts through technology, the volunteer efforts of our employees and financial donations.

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