Displaying 1-9 of 9 key documents
Source: The World Bank | May 2011
This sourcebook provides an overview of current and upcoming information and communications technology (ICT) for agricultural innovation, and discusses their potential to improve productivity, services institutions and value chains. It aims to provide both technical and policy guidance to development professionals and decision makers, and focuses on how ICT can support poor smallholder farmers including female farmers.
The guide includes fourteen modules on various aspects of ICTs in agriculture, including how to use the technologies to boost livestock, crop and fishery production; increase smallholder farmers' access to financial services; and improve rural governance. Each module provides information about current trends in ICT use, identifies challenges and lessons learned, notes how technologies have been used to achieve specific goals, and offers examples of successes or failures. The report describes the contributions these technologies can make, provides guidance on how to design and implement ICTs and on how to evaluate them.
Source: Global Economy and Development at Brookings | January 2012
This report gives an overview of education challenges facing the developing world and discusses the technologies available to address them. It aims to provide guidance to decision-makers designing, implementing or investing in education initiatives.
The report focuses on the potential of recent information and communications technology (ICT) such as mobile phone and laptops, and examines conditions that can influence whether technology interventions are successful. It also focuses on the world's poorest countries.
The authors put forward seven principles for effective use of technology in education, which include a focus on identifying the problem before introducing a technology to address it, and considering whether the design and implementation of the technology will allow it to last over time. The report concludes that ICTs can bring quality learning to some of the world's poorest and hard-to-reach communities.
Source: Center for Global Development | September 2011
This report presents findings from the first randomised evaluation of a cash transfer programme delivered using mobile phones. The study investigated the effect of mobile phone technology on monthly cash transfers to households in Niger that were affected by a severe drought.
Villages that received cash in this way, known as 'zap', saw benefits such as reduced costs of receiving cash, more diverse purchases and diets, and more types of crops. This, suggest the authors, is down to the zap mechanism encouraging different decision-making in the household, as well as due to lower costs and greater privacy.
They conclude that mobile transfers are a cost-effective way of transferring cash to remote rural populations, especially those with limited road and financial infrastructure, but caution that more research is needed on broader effects on the welfare of these populations.
Source: Institute of Development Studies | May 2011
This report investigates how the next generation of information and communication technologies (ICTs) — such as open mapping and open source crowdsourcing platforms — can empower vulnerable communities and build local capacity.
It is based on an investigation of how initiatives such as Map Kibera, an online community information source based in Kenya, contribute to creating shared information resources. The empirical data also provide insights into the hurdles and opportunities facing marginalised communities using these innovative communication tools. The report also presents results from interviews of leaders of ICT initiatives deployed to support post-reconstruction efforts in Haiti.
It outlines the challenges of using ICT for development, including the need to balance short-term individual benefits with longer-term agendas and the responsibility of those in charge to build trusting relationships to diffuse tensions emerging from free information sharing.
The study highlights the role of open-source social entrepreneurs as a new development actor, and the opportunities for collaboration between development and technology practitioners. The report suggests a follow-up research agenda to build upon this initial investigation.
Source: International Development Research Centre
This multimedia collection looks at how information and communication technologies can improve the lives of people in developing countries by increasing productivity, building relationships and reducing poverty. Reports include how mobile phones are improving agriculture in Kenya, the Internet in Mongolia and an overview of the poison centre network that provides information on antidotes to poison centres around the world.
Source: Renewable Energy | December 2009
This article assesses the practicality and affordability of solar systems for small businesses in remote rural areas. The authors did this by monitoring the use of six 'productive use containers' — shipping containers converted into solar-powered business centres — and surveying local entrepreneurs in a rural part of South Africa. The authors find that the containers offer significant benefits to local communities, including improved communications and higher incomes.
Source: ICT Update | June 2008
This feature article, written by members of the UN Operational Satellite Applications (UNOSAT) programme, outlines how satellite technology can improve emergency relief after a natural disaster.
UNOSAT uses satellite data to produce maps and damage reports for nongovernment organisations, intergovernmental agencies and disaster managers in emergency situations. The authors describe how the process works — from receiving a relief agency's phone call to collecting and analysing relevant satellite data.
They argue that satellite data, when combined with ancillary data such as road maps or population distribution, can help aid workers navigate affected areas and provide estimates of the number of people likely to be affected by, for example, floods or landslides.
The authors describe the range of satellite sensors used by UNOSAT, explaining the advantages of different types of data depending on the disaster. For example, radar imagery, which is unaffected by cloud, is particularly useful to monitor flooding, whereas high resolution optical data is better for earthquake damage assessment.
Source: New England Journal of Medicine | May 2009
This paper, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, examines how the Internet can help monitor, prevent and control emerging diseases. The authors argue that the emergence of influenza A(H1N1), or 'swine flu', in April 2009 shows the value web-based information holds for early disease monitoring.
Informal internet channels such as blogs, chat rooms and search engine request analyses can help identify outbreaks more quickly, prevent governments suppressing information and facilitate public health responses. Google and Yahoo data searches can be used to generate epidemic curves that show the number of new infections plotted against time, and are comparable to those derived from traditional influenza surveillance methods.
The Internet also connects experts — through wikis and social networks — to quickly disseminate reports and responses. There is also great potential from public information.
The authors give examples of approaches being taken to monitor infectious diseases, including swine flu, and highlight some of the online resources available, including Google Flu Trends, HealthMap and ProMED.
Source: The Rockefeller Foundation | 2008
This article, published for The Rockefeller Foundation's conference series 'Making the eHealth Connection', assesses the barriers to quality health information in developing countries, which hamper the development of health systems and services. While the Internet has improved access to health information in developed countries, obstacles remain in developing nations — the most common being unreliable connectivity and expensive Internet access, especially in rural areas.
Other barriers include a lack of medical writing skills; language diversity; copyright issues; economic constraints; poor visibility of scientific outputs from developing countries; low levels of information technology literacy; cultural and lifestyle hurdles and a lack of appropriate public policies and funding.
The authors assess the current status of such barriers and explain how training, open access publishing and recent innovations in Internet access can help. They argue that the digital divide, and its consequent disparities, also exists in pockets within developed countries.