Tag Archives: Technology

Safety First: Secure Communications and Storage Tools for Reducing Risks

Secure messaging apps like Telegram have become an increasingly important part of NGO and civil society work in many countries.

Secure messaging apps like Telegram have become an increasingly important part of NGO and civil society work in many countries.

What makes CIPE’s programs stand out is the caliber of our partners. From developing the first ever local business agendas in Ukraine, sparking economic policy debates for the first time in Nepal, to leading the private sector cooperate with local governments and security forces to combat insecurity in Tijuana, Mexico, CIPE partners around the world are doing tremendous work to create a more sustainable democratic and economic communities.

During this process, however, many of them face risks while operating in challenging – and sometimes dangerous – environments. It may be because they exist in countries where civil society is facing a challenge; or it might because powerful companies are closely tied with the ruling political party. Whatever the reason, CIPE understands that all our partners take risks by challenging the status quo. To this end, CIPE has supported our partners to maneuver in difficult environments by equipping them with mobile or online tools that could lower their risks.

NOTE: As you explore the tools, please keep these points in your mind.

  • Despite the sophistication of the tools mentioned below, organizations should not rely solely on digital security for their safety, even if they are being careful. Many authoritarian governments are digitally savvy, so in some environments it is impossible to be 100% secure. Organizations should make sure they are following all the laws and regulations (even if they are burdensome), and that they are not communicating in ways that would put individuals at risk, even if they were compromised.
  • Carefully review and understand the privacy policies of any tools before using them.
  • Adopting new technology is like a behavior change – it takes time and effort, so be patient if your organization decides to adopt and use one of the tools for your organization.

The following are some suggested tools and strategies that CIPE has shared with our community. They are common threats and risks associated with using certain ICTs, as well as possible products and strategies to consider using to improve your organization’s security measures.

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Supporting a Technology-Enabled Advocacy Effort for Nigerian Women

panoply

One of the exciting initiatives I’m leading here at CIPE is to support our partners become better equipped with low-cost online or mobile tools that could improve their operations or programs. Our network of partners do tremendous work – whether that’s developing business and leadership skills in young Peruvians from across the country or igniting debates on economic policies in Nepal – often in challenging environments with limited budgets.

Their work would be even more powerful if they had knowledge on latest technology tools that could make their work more efficient – and that’s where my initiative comes in. We assess the technological environment in which our partners operate, and try to understand in what areas they are looking to enhance their capacity. Based on this information, CIPE worked with our technical expertise partner, Panoply Digital, to support the growth of our partners by equipping them with useful technologies that would make their work more productive.

To this end, CIPE and Panoply Digital led a workshop in Lagos back in February.  We trained the Association of Nigerian Women Business Network (ANWBN), a collation of women’s business and professional associations in Nigeria. ANWBN is in midst of preparing to develop a national business agenda, a set of policy reform recommendations to address the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs, and they reached out to CIPE to learn tech tools that could add value during this process.

In this month’s Feature Service article, I explain the main takeaways from CIPE’s experience working with ANWBN to improve the coalition members’ ability to lead technology-enabled advocacy efforts for women entrepreneurs in Nigeria. This included:

  • ANWBN operates in a very challenging and frustrating technological environment, including low bandwidth, limited access to connectivity, and frequent power outages
  • All ANWBN members used mobile services and used tem as part of their business communication
  • Because advocacy is the main upcoming activity for ANWBN, the strategies focused on teaching ANWBN members with applicable tools that would feed into its national business agenda process, including data collection, research, and communications

To learn more about the specific tools that were taught, as well as the adoption rate of the tools that were introduced, read the latest Economic Reform Feature Service article.

Maiko Nakagaki is a Program Officer for Global Programs at CIPE.

Democracy that Delivers Podcast #16: USAID’s “Innovation Evangelist” Alexis Bonnell on How Innovation is Changing International Development

Alexis Bonnell (@alexisbonnell) from USAID’s Global Development Lab (@GlobalDevLab) talks about how innovation is changing the way development work is done around the world, harnessing 21st century technology to create more development impact, and how some of the most effective innovation tools can be both simple and inexpensive. Bonnell also talks about what it takes to have a successful career in international development today. Learn more at www.globalinnovationexchange.org.

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Listen to past episodes of our show here.

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Using Mobile Technologies for Better Engagement with Stakeholders

it-toolkit

How can civil society organizations gather more data and information from its constituents for a better public private dialogue (PPD) process? Taking advantage of available free or low-cost mobile technologies is one answer.

Mobile technologies have transformed how people across the world communicate and access information. According to the GSMA, already 3.2 billion people around the world are online and out of them, 2.4 billion are accessing the internet via mobile.  And this number is expected to keep rising as mobiles and data services become more available and affordable in different parts of emerging markets. It’s obvious that, then, PPD conveners should leverage mobile tools to engage more with their stakeholders.

The International Training Centre of the International Labor Organisation (ITCILO) developed an interactive toolkit on mobile engagement for business member organizations (BMOs) and other civil society organizations to use to better interact with constituents. The online toolkit reviews:

  • Reasons for using mobile tools for engagement
  • Methods and strategies to use depending on delivering content, gathering feedback or providing support for an issue
  • Step-by-step demonstration on how to use 10 different mobile tools for engagement

Explore the toolkit and find new ways to improve your PPD process using mobile tools.

Maiko Nakagaki is a Program Officer for Global Programs at CIPE.

Promoting Advocacy with Technology Part 2: Two days in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

tech4dem cambodia

By Micheal Gallagher, Panoply Digital

This blog post was originally published by Panoply Digital, who are helping CIPE partners around the world improve their digital capabilities. Read the first part here.

In an ongoing collaboration with the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), an organization dedicated to strengthening democracy around the globe through private enterprise and market-oriented reform, Panoply Digital recently conducted a two day technology training workshop in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. This is the second training we have done in this regard, with the first being a recent event in Lagos, Nigeria which my colleague Lauren wrote about here.

The participants were from two of CIPE’s partners in the region SILAKA is an organization dedicated to promoting good governance and gender equality in rebuilding Cambodian society; nurturing networking and cooperation to engage both demand and supply sides; and sharing knowledge and experiences to help advancement Cambodian’s development, and peace building. The second,CAMFEBA (The Cambodian Federation of Employers and Business Associations), represents the private sector with over 2,000 employers and business associations in Cambodia with legal, strategic, or training consultation.

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Making Digital Development Projects Work

Photo: United Nations

A farmer checks market information on a mobile phone. Photo: United Nations

In the last decade, countless development projects have piloted new tools to reach more beneficiaries or to make current systems more efficient. While the intentions of such initiatives are good, often the results are not stellar.

This is because digital development projects often favor one-off activities, like hackathons. The best solutions are focused on identifying an immediate solution for a particular sector and location. As such, products are developed in silos and many never go beyond the pilot phases.

A good example of this disaster is what happened in Uganda with mHealth initiatives. In 2008 and 2009, Uganda had 23 similar mHealth projects led by different development organizations that failed to scale up and ended shortly after the initial funding. The problem got so bad that Uganda’s Ministry of Health declared a moratorium on pilot mHealth initiatives.

map-of-mhealth-pilots-in-uganda

Map of Mhealth Pilots in Uganda. Source: Sean Blaschke, Technology for Development Specialist at UNICEF Uganda

To prevent such failures, leading global development practitioners, including the Gates Foundation and UNDP, have endorsed the Principles for Digital Development. What exactly are the Principles? They’re a community-developed set of guidelines to help the development community integrate best practices into technology or digital-based projects.

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Disruptive Development: Harnessing the Power of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the Middle East and North Africa

2015 TechGirls at iD Tech Camp at American University

Many say that we are in the midst of a Fourth Industrial Revolution, characterized by rapid and transformative technological advancement on a scale the world has never seen before. This Fourth Industrial Revolution has already radically and fundamentally altered the way we live, work, and interact with one another, and, unlike the ones that preceded it, is evolving at an exponential, rather than a linear, pace. Its possibilities are nearly endless.

And while previous industrial revolutions were slow to spread to certain areas of the world—thus engendering spheres of “industrialized” and “non-industrialized”—the technological nature of the Fourth Industrial Revolution has meant that the playing field has evened somewhat; industry in virtually every country has been disrupted, and transformation of entire systems of production, management, and governance is all but inevitable, if it hasn’t already started.

From cell phones to self-driving cars and artificial intelligence, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is shaking up what we know—or think we know—about almost everything. This presents an opportunity to recalibrate the lens through which we view and approach critical development issues, and provides a challenge to traditional mechanisms for delivering key goods and services.

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