i ICT Enabled Development: Using ICT strategically to support Plan’s work. Contents Acknowledgements:................................................................................................................ 1 Executive Summary......................................................................................................... 1 Introduction ..................................................................................................................... 3 This report: ............................................................................................................................... 4 A strategic approach to ICT for Development .................................................................... 4 Checklist for planning strategic use of ICTs ................................................................. 9 Stage 1: Understanding the context for ICT work .................................................... 15 1.1 The external context:...................................................................................................... 15 1.2 Organisational experience and capacity: .................................................................... 18 Stage 2: Finding a match between priorities and possibilities ................................23 2.1 Rooting the system in local needs and priorities: ...................................................... 23 2.2 Finding good uses for tools and applications: ........................................................... 28 Stage 3: Planning and implementing concrete initiatives........................................ 31 3.1 Carrying out participatory assessments: ..................................................................... 32 3.2 Linking to other development processes: .................................................................. 36 3.3 Technical issues and concerns: ..................................................................................... 38 Stage 4: Building a culture of systematic, sustained and strategic ICT use ................................................................................... 41 4.1 Linking ICT with programmes: ..................................................................................... 41 4.2 Transforming the role of ‘the IT guy’: ......................................................................... 44 4.3 Building expertise of the cultural and social aspects of ICT use: ............................ 45 Additional material ....................................................................................................... 47 Opportunities and constraints for ICT4D in Africa .......................................................... 47 Policies and regulations: the operating environment for ICT4D in Africa.................... 47 Salim’s ICT4D advice part 1: consider both process and passion .................................. 48 Salim’s ICT4D advice part 2: innovate, but keep it real .................................................. 50 Country ICT Briefings ................................................................................................... 53 Ghana ICT briefing ................................................................................................................ 53 Mali ICT briefing .................................................................................................................... 56 Mozambique ICT briefing .................................................................................................... 59 Senegal ICT briefing ............................................................................................................. 63 Uganda ICT briefing.............................................................................................................. 66 Cameroon ICT briefing ......................................................................................................... 70 Kenya ICT briefing................................................................................................................. 74 Plan’s current work on ICT4D in Africa ..................................................................... 79 Summary of Plan’s ICT work: .............................................................................................. 79 Case study: Breaking the silence on violence against children in Benin....................... 82 References ......................................................................................................................85
ICT Enabled Development: Using ICT strategically to support Plan’s work. ii
1 ICT Enabled Development: Using ICT strategically to support Plan’s work. Acknowledgements: This report is based on inputs from Plan staff who participated in workshops in Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Senegal and Uganda. Thanks to all of those who participated, and in particular the ICT Managers in those countries for facilitating and reporting on them. It also draws heavily on the work of Mika Valitalo and Linda Raftree who co-developed the workshop and research methodology, provided additional insights and material and participated in analysis of the results. In addition, the report pulls in suggestions and insights of regional ICT coordinator Anthony Makumbi and Deputy Regional Director Programme Stefanie Conrad and other key staff and management. Executive Summary This report is part of an ongoing process led and supported by Plan Finland and USA to support country offices in Africa to apply ICTs more strategically and effectively to development goals. A previous research project supported by Plan Finland culminated in the ‘Mobiles for Development Guide’ in 2009I, which aims to inspire and support country office staff to understand the potential of mobile technologies to support and enhance their work. Following the success of this report, key staff working on ICTs in regional and northern offices facilitated a process for country office staff to reflect and plan further, not just on the use of mobiles but on all types of ICT devices and applications. Mika Valitalo, Linda Raftree and Hannah Beardon (consultant) worked together to develop a workshop methodology, which was used by Plan ICT managers in five African countries (Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Senegal and Uganda) to facilitate a process of reflection on the potential of ICTs to enhance their organisations’ programme work and impact on poverty. This report draws on some of the information and ideas emerging from those workshops, as well as background research and interviews with national and regional ICT staff, to provide guidance and recommendations for Plan offices to use ICTs effectively and appropriately. The first section of the report explains the concept of ICT-enabled development, and the reasons why it is important for Plan, and other development organisations, to take on board. With so many ICT tools and applications now available, the job of a development organisation is no longer to compensate for lack of access but to find innovative and effective ways of putting the tools to development ends. This means not only developing separate projects to install ICTs in underserved communities, but looking at key development challenges and needs with an ICT eye, asking “how could ICTs help to overcome this problem?”. The checklist provides 10 key areas to think about when planning for this kind of ICT-enabled development, to ensure that ICT use is both linked to real development needs and priorities, and appropriate to the target group. The rest of the main report draws on observations and learning from the workshops and research to illustrate these issues and provide examples (of both methodologies and experiences), which can help to orient others undertaking a similar planning or assessment process. Finally, there is a section to explore some of the organisational issues involved in making the strategic use of ICT a routine part of Plan’s work. Other information generated through the workshops and interviews, including detail of Plan’s current development work with ICT in Africa, is included as additional material at the end of the report.
3 ICT Enabled Development: Using ICT strategically to support Plan’s work. Introduction Ever since new information and communication technologies (ICTs), such as What is: ICT FOR the Internet and email, became indispensable DEVELOPMENT? tools in cities and offices around the world, people have been trying to work out how to ICT for Development is concerned extend their coverage and scope, and apply with applying information and them to pressing development problems. communication technologies, including Many could see a direct link between the internet and mobile phones, video marginalisation and poverty, on the one and audio, to development goals and hand, and lack of access to information and poverty reduction. The field is relatively having a voice on the other. From improving new, since the late 1990s when service delivery and outreach, to increasing infrastructure began to expand tele- participation in governance, and enabling communications into poor and remote people to make better-informed decisions, areas and development organisations the potential was clear; however, so were the invested in ‘telecentres’ to provide ICT- challenges: accessibility, cost, sustainability enabled services to poor communities. and capacity, for example. In the last few years, with the expansion of mobile networks, the field has Development organisations and practitioners expanded and evolved rapidly. have puzzled over how to overcome serious challenges of accessibility, cost, maintenance and capacity, and created many pilots to test out applications of ICT, and solutions to the challenges. At the same time, the landscape for introducing and using ICTs was changing fast, and this time not only in cities and offices, but all over the world. This was, or is, the revolution of the mobile phone. Mobile phone use spread first amongst wealthy and highly concentrated populations, but the relatively low cost and simple technology has meant that it is now an indispensable tool, and service, for people everywhere, including rural areas of developing countries. And mobiles are not only useful for making calls or sending text messages, they are increasingly used to access the internet and the range of applications available is growing daily. The revolution of the mobile is a lesson for us all: while we have been hard at work planning how to use ICT to transform lives and communities, the transformation has been happening outside; through a conflux of commercial, social, economic and cultural factors. But the lesson is not to give up and follow the flow, for development is about redressing imbalances of wealth and power which leave some people, communities and countries marginalised and poor. It is traditional market mechanisms of supply and demand – meeting a need – that are leading a communications revolution and creating the conditions for more effective and wide-reaching ICT for Development (ICT4D) work. Development organisations are neither leading, nor in control of, this revolution, but they do have an important role to play to adapt and apply these new tools and opportunities to development goals.
ICT Enabled Development: Using ICT strategically to support Plan’s work. 4This report:This report is based on a process of reflection and strategic thinking which has taken place in fivePlan country offices: Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Senegal and Uganda, with participation fromregional level ICT4D coordinators in Africa. Workshops held in each country were an opportunityfor staff working on different themes to learn about how others are using mobile technologiesand ICT, share their own experiences, and think about how they might apply ICTs to meet theirstated goals and objectives.The workshop reports were rich in examples of Plan staff and programmes using ICTs ininnovative and effective ways to define and meet their development goals, and also offeredideas and opportunities to expand this work. Much of this detail is available in the additionalmaterial at the end of this report. However the main body of the report is structured so as tofacilitate future reflection and planning, blending the workshop methodology with the outcomesof analysis to come up with a simple checklist and more detailed tools and examples, to supportplanning for strategic and appropriate use of ICTs in development projects and, in the longerterm, programmes.A strategic approach to ICT for DevelopmentPlans and progress reports of Plan’s African programmes do not make much mention of theuse of ICTs in their development projects. There are a small number of examples of providingICT equipment or training, such as in Senegal, where Plan has supported a project supplyingchildren’s clubs and schools with computers, games and internet training, or in Cameroon whereICT training was provided for teachers. However, most country programmes do not mention anydirect ICT for development work. Radio is the big exception that is widely used to support Plan’sprogramme goals.The low visibility of ICT4D programmingin reports could be due to a number Thinking about: how to useof factors. In some contexts it is ICT for Devcertain that the high cost and lowaccessibility of ICTs, and the supporting There are three key ways in which ICT caninfrastructure, including telephone lines be used to help meet key developmentand electricity, hamper efforts to employ goals:them for development goals. Lack of 1. Directly: This includes any work toexperience and capacity to apply ICTs improve connectivity, access and capacityto development goals could be another to use ICTs, such as telecentres or policycause. But it is also possible that our advocacy.increasing access to and reliance on ICTsin our daily lives means that their use is 2. Strategically: This involves using ICTsunderreported and overlooked. There are in support of development goals, suchprobably many uses of ICT to facilitate as good quality education, protectionand enhance other programmes of work from violence or participation in decisionwhich are not explicitly mentioned in the making.reports, as well as much potential which 3. Internally: This is the use ofremains untapped. ICT to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the organisation, including communications and monitoring and evaluation.
5 ICT Enabled Development: Using ICT strategically to support Plan’s work. Can it be true that ICTs such as computers and mobile phones are just not used at all? Mention ICT for Development, and people usually think about projects that aim to increase people’s opportunity and capacity Thinking about: what to to use these tools. It may be that this is not use ICT for a priority for many Plan offices, and the Staff in Mozambique identified different heavy investment and technical capacity types of uses for ICTs, including: required for this kind of work may explain the lack of specific ICT4D projects in Plan • To collect data: Depending on who programmes. But ICT does not have to be from, they may use email or the internet, an end in itself; after all, we are talking or cameras, mobile phones and audio about ICT for development. recorders ICTs are very valuable tools that can be • To access information: the internet applied to many issues and processes is commonly used, as are books or underlying development. Of course access computer files. and capacity are very important, but it is • To communicate: email, mobile phones, worth looking at how ICTs are, and can be, radio, internet and social networking employed to reach broader development applications such as Facebook and goals, such as gender equity, protection Twitter are all used. and education for all. Digging deeper into country progress reports and plans it is • To store information: they use easy to spot a great affinity between the computers, email, mobile phones, goals and processes supported by Plan, cameras and audio devices. and the potential and possibility that ICTs represent. Information and communication - central themes in Plan’s work: The details of Plan’s development priorities and objectives vary in different country contexts, but all are rooted in a rights-based approach, which has a strong focus on capacity building, participation and awareness raising. This means strengthening people’s access to information and opportunities to participate in decision making. For example, Plan Uganda does not mention ICT specifically in their progress reports, but much of the work they describe both relies on and strengthens information and communication, including: • Children’s participation • Awareness raising and behaviour change around HIV and AIDS • Sponsor communications • Child rights awareness and monitoring. Similarly, for over twenty years Plan Senegal has been supporting children’s clubs, to allow exchange and dialogue between youth and children. Evaluations have shown that children from the clubs are more aware of their rights, develop faster and are better at implementing their own actions plans and participate in local children’s parliaments and school cooperatives. Plan Mali also supports children’s clubs, who are now being trained to participate in communication with sponsors. The theme of Children’s Day at Plan Cameroon in 2008 was “Children’s participation; let the children be seen and heard”: with the aim of encouraging dialogue between children and adults and including young children in processes of decision-making and democracy.
ICT Enabled Development: Using ICT strategically to support Plan’s work. 6Of course, when you are used to usinga mobile phone to communicate, andhave adapted your social behaviour to Thinking about: thethe new opportunities this provides, you personal benefits of ICTare likely to apply this at work as well. At Senegal staff highlighted a number ofthe workshops, Plan country office staff potential benefits to using ICT moretalked about using email, mobile phones, strategically, for:photography, video, radio and other ICTs in • Plan staff: ICTs make it easier to dotheir daily working lives. However it seems their work, cutting down the need tothat more forethought and capacity are travel to meetings and enabling therequired in order to make sure that ICTs quicker conclusion of projects andare applied strategically and appropriately processes with better results. Enablesto enhance the children’s participation better organisation and availability ofand voice, amongst Plan’s other goals. As information, stronger participationAnthony Makumbi, the then regional ICT and exchange of ideas. The skillscoordinator for Plan in East and Southern encourage professional behaviour andAfrica said: competitiveness, which is motivating. “After the workshop people were • Partners: For greater collaboration saying ‘we thought ICT4D was about and build up of documentation of computers but no, it is about leveraging lessons and experiences. technology to improve the delivery of • Young people: Improves learning and our projects and services.» comprehension, knowledge of local and global events, interaction with other young people, participation in the global information society and local and national development.
7 ICT Enabled Development: Using ICT strategically to support Plan’s work.
9 ICT Enabled Development: Using ICT strategically to support Plan’s work. This checklist has been developed based on ideas emerging from the workshop reports and analysis of existing work using ICT in Plan, as well as external resources and frameworksii. The checklist aims to support the design of ICT enabled projects and programmes, to help structure discussion and planning processes. It suggests some key steps for the design process, and some questions to ask in order to ensure appropriate and workable plans. However, there are many ways of using ICT in development and this checklist can do no more than provide pointers to ensure that any design is well rooted and appropriate to the context. What’s more the numbered and linear nature of the checklist, while easy to follow, does not represent the reality of how these types of processes actually happen, and it will need to be adapted and adjusted to fit the context. Each of the points could be a guidebook in itself, and this research has shown that effective and strategic use of ICTs requires not just good planning, but good communication, good awareness of opportunities and a creative approach to problem solving. What’s more, ICTs by their nature are dynamic, and their use needs to be continually reviewed as the context, opportunities and needs change. The rest of this report gives substance to this checklist, providing examples, questions and exercises from the workshops to illustrate some of the challenges and opportunities. The workshop methodology and presentations include many more exercises and questions for identifying how ICT could be integrated into programmes, and are available from email@example.com. Please also send questions or feedback regarding this checklist to the same address. 1 • Context analysis: What is happening with ICT (for development) in the country or region? A good, up-to-date context analysis will help establish what is possible and affordable in current policy and market conditions, and highlight inequities or potential policy advocacy issues. Analysis of local information and communication contexts by community members, local organisations and government stakeholders should be a routine part of community consultations for strategic planning processes. It is also important to map external stakeholders, including ICT for development projects and networks, and providers of key skills and expertise, to identify potential learning, partners and allies. But it is not all about looking outside, as there is likely to be relevant experience and capacity within Plan in the country or region that could offer important opportunities for learning and collaboration. Often ICT-enabled development work is not reported as such, and important learning and support can be missed if the right questions are not asked. 2 • Defining the need: What problems can ICT help overcome? What opportunities can it create? The use of ICT in development programmes and projects should be linked to identified needs, goals and development objectives. To find out how ICT could support these, there are various places to start. You could think about: • The big problems being faced by your sector or programme and whether ICT may have a role in overcoming them; • The underlying causes of poverty in the area, or problems in the sector, and how lack of information or poor communication contributes to this;
ICT Enabled Development: Using ICT strategically to support Plan’s work. 10• The information and communication elements of existing work and how ICT might facilitate or improve that;• Social and economic changes happening because of ICTs (such as mobile phones) and the development opportunities this could bring to poor people and communities.3 • Choosing a strategy: What kind of ICT4D is needed - direct, internal or strategic?ICT for development takes in direct work (ICT access is the project goal), internal (the use of ICT bydevelopment organizations and staff) and strategic (the application of ICT tools and applicationsto enhance development projects and processes). Each will have different challenges, and needdifferent types of technical and training support. Any strategy should link carefully to wider workand processes, both in Plan and in communities, to ensure that they support people’s own effortsto drive development and access their rights.4 • Undertaking a participatory communications assessment: Who will benefit from this use of ICT, and how?Development programmes aim to reduce poverty and inequality, so it is essential to understandcultural, social and economic issues which may affect people’s access to ICTs and their intendedbenefits. Participatory assessments (including gender and power analysis) of communicationcapacity and information needs will allow the design to be targeted at those who are hardestto reach, informing the choice of technology and identifying capacity building needs. It may bethe starting point for an ICT project, helping to define the needs as well as the possibilities andcontext for work, or it might be done once the needs and basic strategy have been defined.Throughout this checklist there are examples of the types of data and perspectives that theassessment could collect, and more detail is in the report.5 • Choosing the technology: What ICTs/applications are available to meet this need or goal?The ideal technology or application may already be out there, and there will always be people inthe organisation and outside who can help you find it, or suggest alternatives. Your design mightrely to some extent on technology already existing in the community, such as radio or mobilephones, or you may need to purchase and install the whole lot.In either case, when choosing a technology/system as well as functionality, costs (to theorganization and the users) and support/maintenance considerations, think about issues arisingfrom the participatory assessment: will poor women, illiterate people, youth, etc. be able toaccess and control it? Is it compatible with their existing communication patterns and culture?When the ideal solution is not possible because of cost, or because of policies or infrastructure,policy advocacy may become a strand of the project strategy.
11 ICT Enabled Development: Using ICT strategically to support Plan’s work. 6 • Adjusting the content: Can people understand and use the information provided for and by the ICTs? ICTs are technologies that can transmit and process information and facilitate communication. Therefore a large element of ICT enabled initiatives will be the information being shared and communicated. This will be different in each case, for example, if information is being provided to poor farmers, if young people are trying to get messages to their peers, or to their government, or if Plan staff are trying to base their planning on more thorough and up-to-date community information. The important thing is to identify who will be producing and using the information, and whether the format, language and style are appropriate. It is also important to ensure that the instructions for using the system are clear and easy to understand for the target audience, who may not have familiarity with the tools and applications. 7 • Building and using capacity: What kind of support will people need to use and benefit from the ICT, and to innovate around it? The capacity needs will depend on the system, and include the needs of users as well as the capacity to manage and maintain it. The participatory assessment (see #4) will help to identify the capacity needs of different groups of users, as well as indicate potential partners or champions to embed new skills and communication practices in the group or community. Capacity building for maintenance and management is a great opportunity for developing ownership and sustainability and building up skills and services in the local area that could develop into spin off services and innovations. What’s more, given the challenges in installing and maintaining delicate ICT equipment in remote rural areas, having a blend of local knowledge, creativity and technical skills can keep the project on track. 8 • Monitoring progress: How do you know if the ICT is helping meet the development goal or need? The main objective of the project or programme should be to meet the identified development goal or need. Monitoring and evaluating this, against the objectives and indicators set in the project, is standard practice. But in this case it is also important to try to understand the contribution of ICTs to any progress made, how effective they have been at enhancing communication and information, and ultimately improving lives, livelihoods and access to rights. Setting both short and long term goals and being clear about assumptions and expectations from the start will provide something to monitor against. The participatory assessment (see #4) could provide information on people’s expectations of the benefits and impact of technology, to inform the monitoring and evaluation strategy.
ICT Enabled Development: Using ICT strategically to support Plan’s work. 129 • Keeping it going: How can you manage risks and keep up with changes?ICT4D is wrought with challenges and risks, many of which will be outside of your control. Forexample, you can invest in equipment, but still rely on service providers for connections andthe government for infrastructure. Or you can set up a system, only to find it is superseded bysomething much more appropriate months later. Some things can be done to minimize theserisks, including good research and preparation and prudent choice of technology (and the useof open standards). Regular review and updating of the context analysis, needs and capacity willalso help to ensure that new opportunities and partnerships are identified and potential risksavoided or managed.From the beginning, decisions will need to be made about how the system will be paid for,sustained and maintained in the long-term. User charges can result in the exclusion of thosewho most need support, even if it only amounts to the cost of using their own mobile phone. Onthe other hand, real ownership and commitment may be both demonstrated and strengthenedby the need for user, or community, contributions to keep the system running. Good analysis ofability to pay, the impact of user charges and potential partners (including government) will feedinto a realistic sustainability strategy.10 • Learning from each other: What has been done before, and what have you learned that others could use?Sharing of learning should be a first and last step of the process, and continual throughout thework. ICT4D is a relatively new, challenging and constantly changing area with a lot of potentialto reduce inequalities and support development goals. It is important to know what has beendone and draw on past experiences, and there are many networks to support this. It is equallyimportant to document and share the experiences of your project or programme to inform futurework in the area.
13 ICT Enabled Development: Using ICT strategically to support Plan’s work.
15 ICT Enabled Development: Using ICT strategically to support Plan’s work. A first planning step for the integrated use of ICTs in development work is a thorough analysis of the context in which they will be applied. This means an analysis of both the opportunities and constraints to using ICT to make an impact on development goals, including available technology and services, infrastructure, skills and support. This analysis will be of both the internal and external environments, locally and nationally. Internally, it means looking at Plan’s experience and any capacity available within the organisation to support planning, decision making and implementation in relation to ICTs. External factors and influences include the policy and market environments, as well as key external stakeholders in the fields of ICT4D, such as ongoing projects, networks and funding partners. 1.1 The external context: A thorough context analysis is an essential element of good planning, and ICTs are no exception. This means having an up to date understanding of the policy and regulatory context, the market for devices and services, and the field of ICT for development. Analysis of these types of issues, described further in the box (right), enables more focused and realistic planning for the use of ICT in development programmes. The Thinking about: conducting a Ghana workshop report includes context analysis the observation: Before the workshops, participating country “It is important to conduct offices were sent briefings detailing their indigenous research to know national ICT policy environment, the state of ICT markets and infrastructure, and key stakeholders what pertains to our peculiar including regulators, policymakers and ICT for environment and not just development projects and programmes in their swallow all that we are told country. These briefings are summarised and since what pertains to other included at the end of this report, and could areas may not apply to us.” serve as a template for this type of context analysis. The areas of information included are: Plan: External A broad context analysis is necessary to understand what is • Work involving a • ICT usage statistics and possible and identify potential communication/ characteristics areas for learning, collaboration information aspect • ICT policy and trends or campaigning. For example, the • Activities including or state of the telecommunications • ICT policy actors supported by ICT infrastructure and markets may • ICT4D projects make an idea workable in one • Colleagues with country, but not in another. In relevant skills and • ICT Institutions some cases it may be necessary to experience • Risks and opportunities work with, or lobby, policymakers Much of the research into external factors, as a first step to making the tools including policy and other projects, can be more accessible for development started online and followed up through email work. However, thorough and and phone calls. Internal information can be participatory local assessments found in reports, but more reliably through of social and technical issues in personal contact, meetings or workshops.
ICT Enabled Development: Using ICT strategically to support Plan’s work. 16the communities where ICTs are tobe used will always be necessary toinform more detailed planning. Thinking about: questions to ask The Plan Senegal team had lots of questionsWorkshop participants identified they wanted to explore before planning anyseveral factors in the external new system:environment which have an impacton their plans and strategies for using • Human resources: where are the skills,ICT, including: knowledge and gaps? • Material resources: what is available locally and externally and what is missing? • The legal framework: what are the relevantAdding value to the policies and laws?existing picture: • The risks: what are potential risks of usingBy necessity, ICT for Development ICT and how they can be mitigated?is the work of multiple stakeholders,including government departments, • Lessons learned: what are the experiencesprivate companies large and small, of other actors in Senegal and beyond, theas well as civil society. It takes many challenges they have faced and the solutionsdifferent players to provide the legal • The social context: what are the socialand regulatory framework, ensure realities in the operating context whichaccess to the technology and provide would affect the implementation of ICTs?services, finance initiatives, develop What knowledge do poor people haveand share appropriate content and which can be the basis for the introductionbuild the capacity of users, as well as of new technologies?entrepreneurs and managers. • The market: what is the supply andDevelopment NGOs like Plan need demand situation for ICTs? What are theto work out what their own role is in opportunities for resource mobilisation?this, which will depend on the contextspecifics. For example:• Working with the government and regulators, as well as the private sector, to ensure that the needs and perspectives of poor and marginalised groups are considered in sector planning, pricing and service provision.• Exploring partnerships with the corporate sector to reach large untapped markets of poor and rural communities. Plan Uganda have some experience of this, for example working with PostBank and mobile providers to find more efficient and effective ways to reach the rural poor.• Working with community groups to build capacity and facilitate linkages between service and users (or needs) and providers and policy makers.Partnering for real priorities:The Uganda team noted that there are great opportunities for resource mobilization withICT companies at all levels. However, a careful balance needs to be maintained to ensure thatpartnerships with public and private sector initiatives are directly aligned to local developmentneeds and strengthen the role and capacity of the government to deliver. Fundraising teamsshould base any corporate partnerships in ICT on a strategy, which defines the developmentobjectives and themes the money can support, and identify good targets in relation to the
17 ICT Enabled Development: Using ICT strategically to support Plan’s work. corporate social responsibility aims, and market interests, of corporations. Otherwise there is a danger of missing funding opportunities, or worse being led by the interests of the corporate partners rather than the poor communities. Finding out what is possible, and what could be: Part of the context analysis should be the availability of technology, whether the spread (infrastructure), or other issues such as usability and affordability (which will come out more in participatory assessments discussed below). The Mozambique team stated that it is important to map available ICT tools and explore which are appropriate given local constraints, such as lack of electricity and cash. Despite the hype and excitement around the accessibility of mobile technologies to rural communities around the world, they gave a reminder that many are still excluded for various reasons: “Mobile phones are a challenge still. Mobile phone could add costs to the community leaders, and later would not be sustainable. This needs to be looked into to see what kind of solutions we can find.” But recognising the limitations does not mean we should stick within them. Some very basic tools, such as MP3 players, can be used to great effect; challenges are constantly shifting and boundaries pushed back. The Mozambique team were optimistic about the possibilities of introducing new technologies and applications: “This workshop was an eye opener. Technology is not so mysterious. We need to try our best to make technology something simple that can be used by anyone, just like mobile phones, small children can use them. IIf all other technologies could be that simple it would be great.” It is important to look at what is around and leverage available opportunities. Plan Uganda identified several initiatives that could bring down costs and expand opportunities for poor people, such as mobile money transfer services linked to Village Savings and Loans Associations and closed user group services that allow cheap calls within a private network. This may require support at a regional level, and networking of ICT managers across the region to share and compare findings. Being aware and prepared: As well as assessing the context for positive opportunities and potential areas of engagement, it is also important to identify the risks and potential changes that could threaten ICT-enabled development work. Those elements of the policy environment which make the use of ICTs cost effective or productive should be analysed, to identify the conditions on which they depend and the risk of changes. This includes the risks inherent in the current policy context, for example the possible risks in promoting citizen’s reporting in a repressive environment, as well as the risks of changes in policy and administration. And as well as the risks inherent in the communications and ICT policy context, there are those related to the technology. Does the price or availability of a service or application depend on the number of subscribers, for example? Will the device become obsolete, after the budget has been used? Forethought and monitoring will enable ICT- enabled development initiatives to prepare for and respond to such risks and threats.
ICT Enabled Development: Using ICT strategically to support Plan’s work. 181.2 Organisational experience and capacityIdentifying where there is experience of using ICTs in the organisation’s work, the lessons thathave been learnt and the connections that can be made will help to inspire and inform planningfor further strategic use of ICTs, avoid duplication and identify capacity.During the workshops, participants mapped the experiences of their country office of usingICT in their development work. These experiences are summarised in the Additional Materialappendix of this report, and can serve as examples and inspiration for future innovations. Theexamples cover a variety of themes, ranging from the promotion of child rights and participationthrough to the innovative use of media and arts, campaigning and awareness-raising on keyissues, provision of internet access, public awareness of Plan’s work, project learning and datacollection, to the routine use of mobile phones to improve communication and cut down travel.Closer examination of some of these experiences has brought out valuable learning, both for replicationand adaptation of these initiatives and for planning new ones, as described below. However, as wellas the general insights and lessons, an internal context analysis should bring up potential linkagesand contacts within the organisation, and identify where there is capacity to support the choices ofappropriate technology, as well as installation, management, training and maintenance.Breaking the silence: supporting responses to childviolence in BeninIn Benin it is common that acts of violence against children go unreported, and even when theyare reported, responses are often inadequate. Plan Benin is experimenting with the use of textmessaging (SMS) and the internet to support reporting of violence against children, and improveboth immediate and longer term responses to the problemiii.How it works: Using Frontline SMS, software which allows the sending and receiving of multipletext messages through a computer, and Ushahidi crowdsourcing websites, which can map complexinformation onto a single webpage, Plan Benin can provide a service whereby people text in a reportof violence and it is mapped automatically on the site. The website is monitored by an administrator, System SMS report administrator Child incident protection USHAHIDI services SMS report WEBSITE WITH MAP FL SMS incident Policy SMS report incident Other stakeholders SMS report FIGURE 1: DIAGRAM OF THE PLAN BENIN PILOT SYSTEM
19 ICT Enabled Development: Using ICT strategically to support Plan’s work. who verifies and organises the response to each case, working closely with local authorities. Linking to local child protection services enables the mobilisation of appropriate medical and social services. And in the longer term collecting and mapping the data will provide evidence for better planning of prevention and response services, as well as awareness raising and campaigning. In this way, Plan hopes to overcome the problems of access, and provide the shelter of anonymity for potential reporters. Adding value to existing services: The system is designed to support and enhance existing public services, as well as NGOs and local partners, and it is hoped that the system will become a public service in the long run. Linda Raftree, Plan’s adviser on social media and ICTs in West Africa, noted that: “The system reflects real information and communication flows on the ground, the roles of the different actors – including youth – are clear, it can add value to local structures and initiatives, and it could be sustainable and potentially scaled into a national level system in Benin and possibly other countries.” Building capacity and awareness: An important part of the implementation of the system is building the capacity of local young people to articulate and report on their experiences of violence, of the local social services to respond, and of staff to make the system work. The pilot has involved awareness raising and training for young people to create and upload multimedia content about the situation in their area. During the pilot phase, Plan is working with district authorities to meet the increased demand for services, but is also building evidence and advocating for more public resources to sustain the approach. Supporting local solutions: Although there are many challenges to setting up a system like this where infrastructure and public capacity is weak, the team believes that these are surmountable where the motivation and drive of local people, especially youth, is strong. Local people, community groups and service providers are taking responsibility to make the system work, overcome problems and find solutions to emerging issues. This includes low-tech solutions like patience when internet services are down, creativity when the right kit is not easily available locally, and persistence or flexibility when people do not use the system properly. You can read more about this pilot in the Additional Material at the end of this report. Registering children for their rights in Kenyaiv Life can be hard without a birth certificate. You need one to register at secondary school, for social services and insurance, and for international travel. You need one to get married, or to prove your age if you are being forced to marry too young. And communities lose out in other ways: without proper registration, the district does not get its fair share of the national budget because it’s not clear how many people are actually there. Yet birth registration is currently a time consuming and costly business for people in Kwale, Kenya. The current system: When a child is born in Kwale, the family have to tell the village chief or local organisation who then notifies the district civil registration office at their own expense. Although local chiefs and CBOs are allowed to register children locally, certificates must be issued at district level and this must be done by parents in person. Kwale district civil registration office manages all registrations for a population of over half a million, with five staff. Although they have two computers, all records are handled and stored manually and they do not have the capacity to digitise existing records. What’s more, the parents have to travel to the district capital to apply for the birth certificate and again to collect it, which combined with the cost of the certificate itself is off-putting.
ICT Enabled Development: Using ICT strategically to support Plan’s work. 20Adding value to existing services: Computerised systems and mobile technologies can help tomake the system more efficient and accessible, cutting down on time and travel for staff of theregistration office and local chiefs and CBOs. An initial time investment in creating a functionalcomputer database would cut down on staff time for registration and searching for records. Forchiefs and CBOs, electronic means of sending birth registration notifications not only save traveltime and money, but also have advantages of data accuracy, checking, speed and the ability to usethe data for other purposes such as planning. Plan Kenya has been supporting communities andlocal partners to enhance the birth registration process, with the support of Plan Finland, the FinnishMinistry of Foreign Affairs and Nokia. At the same time, the Kenyan government is developing anationwide web-based civil registration system, to be rolled out this year. Plan aims to develop andtest an ICT-enabled local registration system, which could link into this at the national level.Building capacity and awareness: As the existence of underused computers in the districtcivil registration office attests, the provision of equipment and systems is not enough. Plan willsupport the roll out of computerised registration systems by building the capacity of stakeholdersto use ICTs. At the same time, Plan will work on raising awareness of the benefits of registrationand the use of the new system among communities. These experiences and impacts will bedocumented, and stakeholders networked to support the wider development and replication ofdecentralised birth registration models.Young people express themselves, and makethemselves heard:The Youth Empowerment through Technology, Arts and Media (YETAM) projectv aims to helpyoung people develop skills and networks to communicate, participate, educate and advocateon issues that matter to them locally, nationally and globally. Through workshops and activitiesyoung people analyse and prioritise key themes and issues. They learn to use arts and mediato get their messages across to others in their communities, families, local decision makers andpeers. A project website is under construction to share maps, artwork and videos from Maliand the other five participating countries which will enable their voices, and opportunities fordialogue, to stretch even further across the region and the globe.Engaging young people: In Kati District, Mali, around 60 young people are involved in the YETAMproject, researching and developing their own opinions on issues important to them, using songs,poetry, theatre, photos and video. These issues include low levels of birth registration, violenceat school, female circumcision and the lack of opportunities for young people in rural areas. PlanMali has supported local teachers to engage with young people on these issues, helping to shareinformation on them through various media, and supporting advocacy efforts. For example:• They developed a short film drama highlighting some of the medical and social implications of female circumcision.• They organized a public performance of drama, songs and poetry, and showed the film.• After the event there was a panel with local authorities at which the mayor made commitments to ensure universal birth registration and stem the flow of out-migration and, astonishingly, the chief proclaimed an end to the traditional practice of female circumcision.
21 ICT Enabled Development: Using ICT strategically to support Plan’s work. Engaging other stakeholders: Bedo Traore, Plan Mali’s child media coordinator, has noted that the participatory and inclusive approach brings challenges, but in the long term engages different stakeholders. Teachers initially felt threatened and targeted by the discussions with pupils concerning violence at school, but over time, “their frustration dissolved and trust began to grow between students and teachers because teachers are discovering another way to teach and discuss sensitive issues – they are behaving as coaches.” Following these discussions, the education authorities have also become more interested in the topics and involved in the project. Seeing the changes: Children, teachers and community leaders have all noticed a change since young people started to speak out about the issues affecting them. They remark on the decrease in acceptability and practice of corporal punishment, as well as female circumcision. One child commented: “In our village, many people practiced circumcision, but now they say they will stop because they have learned from our messages about the harm it causes.” Young people have learned from this experience that participating in decision making and opinion forming is not only possible, but effective, and there has been an increase in young people’s participation in community development processes and meetings. The project, and the increasing participation and articulation of young people, have also enabled Plan staff to respond to issues of concern to youth in their planning. Lessons learned: integrated ICT can be sustainable These three examples show how effective ICT can be when supporting local processes and needs, and integrated into existing social structures and services. In Benin and Kenya, Plan is testing the potential of appropriate and accessible ICT, such as mobile phones, to enhance existing services: social protection and civil registration respectively. In these cases the ICT system needs to be built according to the needs, capacity and practices of the users, and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the public system for which they ultimately depend on for sustainability. This kind of system can be a very effective way to strengthen governmental capacity to protect children’s rights, the basis of a long-term, rights-based development process. It also helps to reinforce the information, communication and technology environment for local communities and organisations, increasing the possibility of local ICT enabled innovation. The YETAM project shares some of these characteristics, with ICTs as enablers and the underlying social process as the heart of the project. However, rather than fitting ICTs to specific needs and issues, in YETAM they are used to support young people to research and prioritise issues, and then communicate them, learn more about them and debate them with others locally and globally. In other words, rather than being issue led, this process allows a more ICT savvy and enabled community to grow, and builds their capacity to engage in development planning and implementation of public services and of development NGOs such as Plan. People find their own uses for technology, given the chance to experiment and innovate. By basing their systems on the real information needs and communication practices of the communities they serve, as described further in Stage 3 below, Plan can help to create the conditions for ICT- enabled, community-led development processes.
23 ICT Enabled Development: Using ICT strategically to support Plan’s work. Based on the analysis of the types of tools and technologies which are available and practical for the context (Stage 1), the next stage is to define the development goals or priorities that ICT can help to meet. This can be done by taking inspiration from other uses of certain types of ICT tools or applications and identifying areas of work to which these could be adapted (tools first), or the process could be based in an assessment of the development goals which have a strong information or communication element, and the appropriate tools found to fit (needs first). At the ICT4D workshops, Plan staff heard about different ICT tools and applications, and how they have been applied to further development goals. They were then asked to reflect on their own goals and priorities, and identify areas for exploration. This section highlights some of the suggestions and ideas that the participants came up with for using social media and ICTs to improve the quality, reach and impact of their work. From these, it also draws some analysis of some of the key issues to consider in making that match. Making the most of ICT: needs or tools first? There is a tension at the heart of ICT for development, and it is right there in the name. For while the development sector increasingly recognises the need for bottom-up planning models, in which organisational decision making is informed by local needs, priorities and capacity, the ICT sector tends to lead with new services and devices which they then offer to their clients. The tension is between putting needs first and finding technology to fit it, or developing tools first and allowing people to access and use them. This may seem clear cut: after all NGOs like Plan do not exist to create and market new technologies, but to help people overcome development challenges. But in fact the tension is not quite so easy to resolve. For, while it is important to root all ICT4D work in development goals and local priorities, it is also important not to be constrained by available or known technology. he nature of ICTs – adaptable to many different uses, rapidly evolving in design and expanding in scope and availability – provides immense capacity for innovation and creativity which may be lost if the goals and plans are too tightly set. There are many examples of organic social change which take place around new technologies, such as the changes in social or working practices that many of us have experienced with the arrival of mobile phones, email or social networking, and the numerous local business and social innovations using mobile technologies in developing countriesvi. But whether ICTs are a tool for meeting a specific development objective, or an asset for a community to generate their own development, the important thing for ICT4D is that it is rooted in, and serves, the D: development. 2.1 Rooting the system in local needs and priorities: ICTs can enhance Plan’s effectiveness and impact on development in many ways. Starting the planning process with a clear development goal – if possible established in consultation with the participating community – will help to ensure that investments made are linked to people’s own development visions and processes. Anthony Makumbi, Plan’s East and Southern Africa ICT4D Coordinator, suggests that programme unit managers should identify the key issues and
ICT Enabled Development: Using ICT strategically to support Plan’s work. 24problems facing their sectors, and then think about how ICT can help to solve them. For example,if quality is a problem in education, then using ICTs could be employed to deliver teachingmaterials more cheaply and efficiently. He said: “Ask yourself: What are the causes of povertyand denied rights in this programme area? Is poor communication or access to information partlyto blame for this?”ICTs are literally Technologies which facilitate Information and Communication. As Anthony says,by establishing the role (the lack of) information and communication play in causing poverty andrelated problems, and the role that they could have in overcoming such challenges, the potentialof ICTs can start to be unlocked. The fundamental role of information and communication indevelopment problems and processes is dealt with in more detail in the 2009 Plan guide to usingmobile technologies for developmentvii, which explains that: “Good access to relevant information sources and communications media can support people to make informed Thinking about: the decisions about their own lives and role of information livelihoods, participate in and influence and communication in decisions which affect them and their development communities. Effective and good The workshop methodology includes quality development processes are exercises to identify the information built on strong communication and well and communication aspects in managed information flows, to facilitate development goals and programmes. learning and sharing, networking and Everyone has experience and examples of how timely, relevant information coordination. Furthermore, a focus on can make a difference to people’s information and communication media livelihoods, health, or social lives. can build local knowledge, identity Encourage people to share these with and voice into a strong basis for equal case studies, or questions such as: development partnerships with a range • Have you ever changed your plans of stakeholders, and at the broadest because of new information? Or level enable connections to be made saved time? Made money? between local experiences and national • Have you ever received information and international policies and processes.“ which has benefited your health? • Have you ever used information on your rights?The examples of Plan’s work with ICTs inAfrica at the end of this report illustrate • Did you ever act on a piece ofmany of the information and communication information and wished you hadn’t?aspects of development work. For example, • Have you ever held back information?Plan’s work in Benin to gather informationon violence against children in communities • Did you ever get a piece ofwhere they work will not only support the information too late?immediate protection of vulnerable children, • Have you ever heard of a piece ofbut also generate awareness, inform information which saved a life?programme planning and provide evidencefor advocacy and campaigns. Finally, a tree graphic can be used to explore the factors governing the value of information to people’s lives and livelihoods. Using a drawing of a tree, people can identify the roots of reliable and relevant information, and use branches and fruits to illustrate the different benefits and outcomes.
25 ICT Enabled Development: Using ICT strategically to support Plan’s work. Protecting and reinforcing rights: Just as ICT is only an enabler of development projects, these initiatives themselves are tools with which to empower citizens and communities to fulfil their potential and access their rights. As the Plan Uganda workshop report notes: “ICTs give communities a platform to give feedback on services rendered and know of services available to them”: essential elements of ensuring good governance and human rights. However, Plan Ghana noted that this is a challenge, given that many government ministries and agencies are not online, and there is a lack of both online information and communication. In line with Plan’s rights-based and child- Thinking about: centred approach to development, the supporting duty bearers strategic use of ICT should promote people’s sustainable access to their rights The context analysis and the participatory and enhance the capacity of duty bearers assessment should provide information to fulfil their obligations. The experiences on the systems and structures which mentioned in 1.2 above show how support people’s access to information effective use of ICT tends to support rather on their rights, and communication with than compensate for (or even undermine) duty bearers such as local government existing mechanisms for accessing or police. If there is a gap, ask first whose entitlements and rights. In the cases of responsibility it should be to fill that, and SMS reporting of violence against children what support is needed from Plan. This in Benin or birth registration in Kenya will inform the choice of ICTs and the this has meant linking to and supporting stakeholders who will manage and use public services, and in the YETAM project them. It may be that advocacy rather it means facilitating active participation in than service provision (or both!) is the development and decision making. appropriate long term approach. Roles Policy Access Content Training Responsibilities Gov’t Private sector NGOs CBOs Schools PLAN TABLE 1: ESTABLISHING ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES As well as analysing the role of ICT in relation to specific rights, for example education, freedom from violence, or good governance, Plan’s right-based approach will also inform initiatives to increase access to ICTs themselves. Any initiative should support government accountability and services and reinforce other development processes. The above table is one tool to analyse roles and responsibilities relating to ICT access, in order to work out the appropriate role for Plan, and potential allies or partners, to increase people’s access to information and ultimately their rights.
ICT Enabled Development: Using ICT strategically to support Plan’s work. 26Ideas and suggestions:The workshop groups came up with lots of Thinking about: whoideas as to how they could fit ICTs to their could use ICT for what?development priorities. Some of these Plan Senegal identified several priorityideas are quite well developed and rooted groups for rolling out the strategic usein existing processes and priorities. For of ICTs.example, in Uganda, where there is a policyof free and compulsory universal primary • Plan Employees: to improveeducation in place, the quality of teaching efficiency and effectiveness.remains a major issue. Getting up-to-date, • Plan colleagues in otheruseful and reliable information and teaching countries: to share information andmaterials to teachers, and textbooks to the communication.kids, is a real problem facing the government.Yet, with the decision to roll out the one • Technical partners: to facilitate thelaptop per child initiative in the country, relationship.there is a real opportunity to mobilise ICT • Young people involved in projects:as an effective and efficient means to solve To facilitate dialogue with peersthese issues. Plan Uganda’s idea to produce and the wider world and improveand support online libraries and electronic conditions for learning/development.materials, as well as build the capacity ofteachers to use and teach ICT, is based on • Women and children in Weerthis context analysis. pilots: to improve health conditions and vaccination planning.Plan Mali considers child protection to bethe first priority in any investment in using • Ministry of Education / teachers:ICTs strategically, with the aim of enabling support new teaching methods andconfidential reporting of this sensitive issue approaches, materials and promotionin a similar vein to the work in Benin. The of science and technology.team are considering the possibility of using • Local authorities: to improve themobile phones, websites and the radio to conditions for development.establish an early warning system of abuseon children and tackle violence at school.Community Development Facilitators andmembers of the local Child Protection Committee would collect information on reported casesof children being mistreated in schools, households and the community in general, as well asreported cases of sexual harassment, female circumcision, early marriage and other rightsabuses. As well as enabling appropriate responses to individual cases, this collection of data on alarger scale would allow for stronger analysis and advocacy, better targeting of child protectioninterventions and impact assessment of awareness raising and behaviour change campaigns.Because ICT infrastructure can so easily fail in the wake of a big disaster, Plan Mozambiqueare looking at how it can be integrated into disaster risk reduction and preparedness work,including the development of early warning systems using bulk SMS and community radio. Acommunity radio project will provide information on how to reduce the risk of disasters, as wellas other development issues, and encourage dialogue and debate amongst communities at risk.This would link to advocacy and campaigning work with partners such as the national coalitionfor disaster preparedness. The table below highlights some of the suggestions of workshopparticipants for the development goals to which they would like to apply ICTs.
27 ICT Enabled Development: Using ICT strategically to support Plan’s work.Theme Country Suggestion ICT StrategyEducation Uganda Producing/supporting online CD, internet Direct/ and electronic educational strategic materials to support the One Laptop per Child initiative. Training teachers to use and teach ICT. Ghana School-based ICT labs Internet Direct Mali Data collection on children’s Mobile phone/ Strategic schooling, tracking disabled FrontlineSMS children through the school system, raising awarenessChild Protection Mali Early warning system and FrontlineSMS, Strategic services for confidential internet, radio reporting of violence against children.Disaster risk Mozambique Awareness raising, Community radio, Strategicreduction preparedness and early FrontlineSMS warning system.Health Mozambique Data collection and analysis Mobile Internal for rates of malaria, HIV/ technologies Aids, maternal and child mortality Mali Promote voluntary SMS, radio, TV strategic counselling and testing for HIV Senegal Health outreach (prevention, Mobile Internal/ treatment, information) technologies strategicSanitation Uganda Planning and monitoring GPS, mobiles Internal Community Lead Total Sanitation programmesLivelihoods Mozambique Providing information and Mobile phone strategic marketing support Ghana Provide access to banking Mobile phone Strategic servicesProgramme/ Uganda Systematic collection of FrontlineSMS Internalsponsor data on sponsored children, mobile phonesinformation village savings and loans associations, gender ratios, youth participation etc Mozambique Provide qualitative Video, web, GPS, Internal information on development forum needs and processes for current and potential sponsors Mali Monitoring food security SMS Internal TABLE 2: SUGGESTIONS FOR FUTURE WORK USING ICTS
ICT Enabled Development: Using ICT strategically to support Plan’s work. 282.2 Finding good uses for tools and applications:Alongside the analysis of the types of development work and processes which could beenhanced by ICT, the workshop groups were inspired by examples of different applications ofnew technologies, including mobile phones, for development ends. Mobile phones, computers,email and the internet are already widely used by Plan staff and partners to communicate andseek information. Many people wereinspired by the variety of uses towhich applications such as FrontlineSMS and Ushahidi have been put, What is: FRONTLINE SMS ANDand came up with many ideas of their ALL THAT...own as to how they could use such There are many tools and applications whichtools in their work. Older and more can turn ordinary pieces of equipment, suchestablished technologies remain very as laptops and mobile phones, into complexpopular because of their familiarity communication systems. Some of thoseand accessibility. For example one shared at the workshops include:participant from Uganda, StanleyOpio, suggested the use of radio • FrontlineSMS (frontlinesms.org) is anprogramming, drama and video to example of an SMS hub or gatewayinform, educate and raise awareness application, to send a large number of textin communities. Other examples and messages using a computer and a mobileideas include: phone or modem. Messages are sent and received using software installed on a• Using mobile phones: The computer which transmits and receives spread of mobile phones means them through the mobile phone network that it is one of the favoured ICTs via the attached phone or modem. for collecting and disseminating information. Most of the workshop • Ushahidi (www.ushahidi.com) is an example groups found potential uses for bulk of crowdsourcing software, which enables SMS services such as FrontlineSMS, many individuals to input data and analysis to collect data, for example, on child into a web-based system. For example, it rights violations, food security and can map data from text messages onto nutrition, programme indicators a website to consolidate and visualise and education performance. complex information. Plan Senegal is considering using • Nokia Data Gathering (www.nokia.com) Nokia’s data gathering software to software can be used to create tailored monitor the status of child flood questionnaires and distribute them to victims. Of course the technology multiple mobile phones using a normal can only collect and process the mobile network. Field personnel surveying information, and needs to be part of local conditions can quickly complete the a larger process or system to inform questionnaires and immediately transmit appropriate responses. their findings to a central database.• Using the internet: Internet is not • Village Diary (www.villagediary.org) is a freely available to most of Plan’s platform developed in Cameroon to provide community stakeholders, and in access to digital records of inheritance, most cases does not carry relevant social services and legal assistance to the local content. It is considered, most vulnerable members of society. however, to be an essential tool for networking and sharing information
29 ICT Enabled Development: Using ICT strategically to support Plan’s work. between Plan staff and peers, and with sponsors and donors. For example, Plan Mali is considering developing an online network and forum for water and sanitation issues. One example of the use of internet for community information is the Village Diary Project, and many workshop reports mentioned following this example to complement existing legal aid projects to protect widows and their children, amongst other uses. • Social media: Plan Senegal was quick to see the potential of social media, including blogs, wikis and podcasts within many of their projects and programmes: to facilitate dialogue between young people and their duty bearers; and to make information on their work available to colleagues, peers, supporters and the general public. Plan Mozambique also plans to use social media tools to strengthen learning and support between peers. • Mapping tools: The Benin example uses Ushahidi to map cases of violence against children, enabling the use of information to trigger immediate responses to abuse, and also raise awareness and inform advocacy. This methodology will also be incorporated into the YETAM project in Mozambique, Cameroon and Kenya to track rights abuses. These offices will participate in training on Open Street Map (www.openstreetmap.org) and use of GPS and plan to upload videos and other materials produced by participating youth to an on-line map as a way to engage and inform supporters. From the map, sponsors would be able to find video footage of individual projects and follow progress as it occurs, and be able to interact, encourage others to watch and become sponsors, or even donate online.
31 ICT Enabled Development: Using ICT strategically to support Plan’s work. By this stage the aims and objectives, as well as the potential tools, for the ICT-enabled initiative will have been identified. Though the basic shape of the system is emerging, there is a lot more work to be done, and questions to be asked, to refine the details. Most importantly, participatory assessments with the groups and communities where the initiative is to be carried out will provide crucial information and understanding of the socio-technical context. This means not only who has access to what types of technology, or skills to use it, but also the cultural and social issues which may favour one group over another, or make certain types of ICT more appropriate. There are also a lot of other decisions to be made and issues to consider about the choice, procurement and installation of the technology and associated applications. The workshop methodologyviii included some exercises which could be included in a participatory assessment, and some questions and issues to consider when designing a system. These are expanded in this section, along with insights from the workshop teams. Thinking about: setting up a new ICT system These factors, based on reflections in Linda Raftree’s blog about the Benin experience (lindaraftree.wordpress.com/2010/02/12/7-or-more-questions-to-ask-before-adding- icts) highlight some key considerations when setting up a new information and communications system: Building on what exists: It is critical to understand how information currently flows, who communicates with whom, in order to find points where ICT system can help improve that flow. This can also be a catalyst to identify, map out or even adjust that flow. Getting end user input and testing: The initial ideas and designs were shared with local stakeholders, service providers and youth, and many changes were suggested and made. Participation by the local Social Protection Services and Plan’s Child Protection point persons who know how things work on the ground brought us amazing knowledge on who should be involved and who should receive reports and alerts, and at what levels different parts of the system should be managed. Testing SMS with the youth, the team realised that the keyword “HALTE” (necessary to trigger automatic transfer of the report to the Ushahidi map on the website) was being misspelled, and so they adjusted the system to ‘ALT’ to capture alternative spellings being used. Continued monitoring and evaluation: The end goal, to evaluate in the long term, is whether actual levels of violence and abuse go down over time, and what role this system had in that. But as this is a new initiative, it is critical to capture learning for potential scale up and replication. As well as quantitative data on reporting and response rates, verified cases and actual prosecutions or actions taken, the team will be paying attention to issues such as: additional costs to maintain the system; adoption and sustained use by local entities/government; user suggestions for improvement; privacy issues; promotion of the hotline; and factors deterring people at different levels from using the system.
ICT Enabled Development: Using ICT strategically to support Plan’s work. 323.1 Carrying out participatory assessments:The user group, or target beneficiaries, for any ICT enabled initiative will be defined in part byorganisational capacity and priorities, and in part by the development priorities and processeswhich it is designed to serve. Participatory assessments will help to inform the details of theplans, ensuring that they meet the needs of those who are easily excluded because of gender,age, language or any other characteristic. People are different, and bring different skills andexperiences to bear on their use of technology, and issues such as literacy and gender play a bigpart in access and control over technologies. For example, while a community may have plentyof access to radio, when you break this down you may find that poor, married women have nocontrol over what is listened to and when. For this reason, strategic use of ICTs should be plannedbased on a deep and detailed local analysis of access to, control over, and capacity for ICT use.However, it is very difficult to generalise about how they should be done, and with whom,given the almost unlimited range of ICT-enabled initiatives that are possible. ICTs enablecommunication and connections over great distances, over time-zones, national borders andlanguage barriers, so this group could be any size and could be incredibly varied. Bottom-upplanning processes might begin with a participatory assessment and clear target group, and decisions on even the broad objectives and needs to be met based on the outcome. Other projects may be quite well defined, Thinking about: especially those which put tools first, using the capacity to use the participatory assessment to understand information the user needs of those who are most excluded and hardest to reach and adjust Information may be useful, but it may the design to suit them. not be used. It is worth thinking with the target group/ community about different The tools and questions here and in the factors affecting the perceived usefulness Mobiles for Development Guideix are of information, such as: designed to be applied and adapted to different participatory assessments, but • The source: do people trust more will always be necessary which are information from doctors more than specific to the context and design. from websites? newspapers? leaflets? • The format/medium: Does the spoken word carry more weight and credibility than written or taped? Not just availability: • Relevance: what issues are people usability interested in? Just because the infrastructure and • Capacity: Do people have the skills, equipment is there does not mean that including literacy, computer skills or people can get to use and benefit from it. language, and equipment to find and Communities are not homogenous groups, understand the information? and it is usually the most educated, wealthy and well connected who benefit first and • Confidence: Do people have the foremost from such facilities. For example, confidence to request and use the the costs of the buying and using ICTs, information? This usually requires from radio to mobile phone, has always confidence in your own knowledge. been a limiting factor which excludes women in many rural settings because