Publications

By freely sharing what we learn, we have built a reputation as thought leaders who translate good ideas into action and action into results. You can browse through recently published articles from all our publications ( Developments, Developing Alternatives, DAIdeas, [email protected] ) below—or visit individual publication sites for a full archive.


Liberia Moves to Reduce Donor Dependence by Improving its Ability to Invest in Itself

Developments

Liberia has endured much turmoil in recent decades. Civil wars in the 1990s and 2000s saw the mass destruction of dams, bridges, power lines, and other infrastructure. Many of Liberia’s best and brightest citizens emigrated. Suffering from a large budget deficit, its government developed a deeper dependence on foreign aid. Furthermore, the…

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KIC Expands its Support of Tech-Driven Entrepreneurship to Mauritania

Digital

Regular readers of [email protected] will know that we’ve been supporting Kosmos Energy’s Innovation Center (KIC) in Ghana for the last two years. KIC’s work with young tech entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector has garnered awards and plenty of media attention, and Kosmos is now looking to apply what it has learned to a new country: Mauritania.

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Looking Ahead to 2018

Digital

The new year provides a great opportunity to think about priorities for year ahead. Last week we wrote a post highlighting the top posts of 2017. The most-read articles covered a lot of ground—from reflections on specific projects, to advances in our thinking on best practices for human-centered design (HCD), to technology reviews. So, what’s on…

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Women’s Land Rights and the Problem of Polygamy: A Proposal in Ethiopia

Developing Alternatives

Despite being illegal, polygamous marriage remains alive and well in Ethiopia, and that poses some obvious challenges when it comes to land rights. Statistics from 2011 reveal that 11 percent of married women in Ethiopia share a husband with one or two other wives. Polygamy affects women’s rights to property and income because it is unclear whos…

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Lean HCD: How to HCD When You Can’t Travel to the Field

Digital

Back in late 2015, I landed a unique design gig. The job came via Nexos Locales, a USAID-funded, DAI-run project that works with municipalities around the Western Highlands of Guatemala to improve public financial management and citizen engagement. A newly elected mayor in the municipality of Chiantla wanted to open his finances to the public to…

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Q&A Responses: Looking For a Partner to Fight Fall Armyworm

Digital

On December 7, DAI released a request for proposals (RFP) for a prize implementation partner to confront fall armyworm. This partner will join DAI and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in designing a results-driven prize to find digital tools and services that help smallholder farmers across sub-Saharan Africa. Thank you to t…

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GeekFest 2017: Talking Gender-Disaggregated Data with Alex Tyers, Panoply Digital

Digital

Welcome to GeekFest 2017, a series of interviews featuring ICT4D thought leaders. Our goals for our #geekfest2017 interviews are 1. to highlight the people and organizations who are pushing the field in new directions, 2. feature their work and show how it’s different or new, and 3. to support the overall growth of the ICT4D community.

This wee…

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Gathering the Evidence to Mobilize Domestic Resources for Health Care

Developments

Two key areas of development assistance have been merging quickly: health care and domestic resource mobilization. The goal is to help developing countries afford to invest in their national health systems and institutions and do so wisely. Many countries want to do more to fund their own development, and donors are on board to assist. But there…

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To Realize the Promise of Renewables, Address the Concerns of Local People

Developments

In 2009, in rural Pennsylvania, as head of the Renewable Energy Center, I attended a community meeting with the Army Corps of Engineers about a proposed wind farm in Ogletown, in Somerset County. I was told that previous meetings on the topic had been heated enough that a police presence was necessary—and welcomed.

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Apply Now: Looking For a Partner to Fight Fall Armyworm

Digital

Today, DAI releases a request for proposals for a prize implementation partner to confront fall armyworm head on. This partner will join DAI and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in designing a results-driven prize to find digital tools and services that help smallholder farmers across sub-Saharan Africa.

A farmer in Ethiopi…

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New Orangutan Species Discovered in Forest Supported by USAID Conservation Program

Developments

More than eight years ago, DAI staff tromped through the Batang Toru forest of North Sumatra, Indonesia, counting nests, observing behavior, and collecting field evidence on one of the oldest members of the great ape family—the orangutan. What they did not realize was that this group of orangutans was an entirely unrecognized species—the Tapanul…

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3 Key Takeaways From Our London Digital Inclusion Event

Digital

Earlier this week, we were joined by Alex Tyers of Panoply Digital, Saloni Korlimarla of the Cherie Blair Foundation (CBF) for Women, and Guillaume Touchard from the GSM Association (GSMA)’s Connected Society Team at the delightful Makers Academy space in Shoreditch, United Kingdom, to discuss, debate, and engage around the challenges and opport…

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GeekFest2017: A Discussion with Cassandra Mickish Gross

Digital

Welcome to GeekFest 2017, a series of interviews featuring ICT4D thought leaders. Our goals for our #geekfest2017 interviews are 1. to highlight the people and organizations who are pushing the field in new directions, 2. feature their work and show how it’s different or new, and 3. to support the overall growth of the ICT4D community.

This wee…

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DAI Launches 'Lean HCD: A Case Study in Human-Centered Design in the Highlands of Guatemala'

Digital

Today DAI launches Lean HCD: A Case Study in Human-Centered Design in the Highlands of Guatemala. This landmark report is the culmination of 18 months of close collaboration between DAI’s ICT team, the USAID Nexos Locales project, and the people of Chiantla, a municipality in the Western Highlands of Guatemala, to design a tool for budget transp…

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Tailored Technology Enhances Resilience Programming

Digital

FHI360 recently hosted its annual Technology for Resilience workshop in Bangkok. In doing so, conference organizers created an opportunity for technologists and development practitioners to learn from active technology projects that promote community resilience, and work together on innovative solutions to what are often seen as intractable prob…

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EU Funds Totaling €4.1 Billion Aim to Boost Investment, Private Sector Engagement in Africa and European Neighbourhood Countries

Developments

Nowhere do entrepreneurs and investors face more risk than in fragile states where jobs and economic growth are most needed. To mitigate this risk, the EU is launching the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD), part of the External Investment Plan (EIP). The EFSD brings together €2.6 billion from the existing blended-finance operation…

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Cyber Violence Against Women and Girls Exacerbates Digital Exclusion

Digital

Raise your hand if you have experienced online harassment. I am sure the response is a virtual flurry. Although digital technologies have the ability to empower, connect, and liberalise, they can also serve as platforms for marginalisation and abuse. Recent news stories such as those from the UK General Election have shone a light on the targeti…

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5 Podcasts for Human-Centered Designers

Digital

In international development, human-centered designer (HCD) is charged with rapidly developing empathy with a specific, targeted marginalized population, a social challenge that group faces, and parlaying that understanding into a local solution.

Doing so successfully requires one primary skill: listening. That means listening in the tradition…

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Digital Insights: Would Haitians use Mobile Money for Banking?

Digital

In late September, I traveled to Haiti to conduct research on how Haitians engage with financial institutions and mobile technology to explore the feasibility of introducing mobile money as an avenue for the provision of financial services. Together with the team from the USAID/Haiti Finance Inclusive project, implemented by DAI, and with suppor…

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Why a Dashboard Isn’t Just a Dashboard

Digital

I distinctly remember an early conversation with colleagues when I began working in digital development in which a peer dismissively waved his hand at the idea of implementing a live data dashboard, saying “A dashboard is a dashboard is a dashboard!” The finality of that line stuck with me. I assumed that the dismissal came from a person who was…

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Q&A with DAI’s Susan Scribner: Preparedness, Response, and Global Health Security

Developments

Pandemics begin with a single case but don’t stay that way: since 2000, avian influenza has killed 440 people in 14 countries, Ebola more than 11,000 people in 10 countries, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) 770 people in 37 countries. The first deaths were reported locally in Hong Kong (1997), Guinea (2013), and China (2002), respect…

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8 Do’s and Don’ts in Adaptive Management and Learning in ICT4D

Digital

This is a guest post by Kate Heuisler, Chief of Party of DAI’s USAID-funded Cambodia Development Innovations project. Development Innovations supports innovators and boosts the use of information and communication technologies for the overall development of Cambodia. The project is structured to be flexible and adaptive—because we need to. Reall…

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GeekFest 2017: Delving into Public Access with Duduzile Mkhwanazi of Project Isizwe

Digital

Welcome to GeekFest 2017, a series of interviews featuring ICT4D thought leaders. Our goals for #geekfest2017 are: to highlight the people and organizations who are pushing the field in new directions, to feature their work and show how it’s different or new, and to support the overall growth of the ICT4D community. This week we are focusing on …

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Practicing the Principles for Digital Development in East Africa

Digital

This is a guest post by Mustapha Issa, Field Manager and MAST Coordinator and Gilead Mushaija, GIS Database Specialist, both from DAI’s Feed the Future Land Tenure Assistance project. At the recent Practicing the Principles for Digital Development event on October 12 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 80 participants from organizations including DAI, t…

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Three Key Takeaways from USAID’s New Gender and ICT Survey Toolkit

Digital

This past week USAID’s Global Development Lab and mStar project released the Gender and ICT Survey Toolkit. In an informative webinar (you can listen to the recording here), the team that produced the report discussed both the content and the context surrounding the genesis of the toolkit. I tuned in and spent the majority of the time silently c…

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Sourcing the Wadi: How Palestinian Workers Are Filling Niche Needs in Israel’s IT Sector

Developments

The Middle East hosts one of the fastest-growing high-tech industries in the world: Israel’s Silicon Wadi. But the very speed of this growth means Israel’s tech sector also faces a shortage of skilled engineers. To deal with this shortage, Israel has turned largely to Eastern Europe as a source for IT workers. Though there is plenty of talent in…

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Testing Data Collection with OpenDataKit

Digital

Primary data collection: One of the most challenging, but necessary, components of any research project. Mobile and browser-based technologies have revolutionized the speed and efficiency of collecting data, enabling teams to work together on a centralized database without the headache of managing paper forms, or multiple excel documents. If you…

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Turning Restrictive Social Norms in the Middle East into Job Opportunities for Women

Developments

When deep-rooted social norms appear to limit the roles of women, one of the best tactics we can take in development assistance is to look for opportunities to turn those norms to women’s advantage.

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Helping Eastern Partnership Countries Meet Their Commitments to Address Climate Change

Developments

The economies of Eastern Europe have grown in recent decades largely on the backs of heavy industry, mechanisation, and agriculture. In many countries, this has led to significant greenhouse gas emissions, a reliance on inefficient technologies, and a policy environment that did not support green growth. As part of their commitments to global cl…

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Messe Frankfurt’s Purchase of Source Africa Trade Show Exemplifies the Potential of Market Systems Development

Developments

Seven years ago, DAI began implementing the value chain portion of Southern Africa Trade Hub (SATH), a project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). SATH’s goal was to promote economic growth by fostering intraregional trade between select member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

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Q&A: Unlocking Inclusive Economic Growth for Mozambicans by Building a Market for Digital Financial Inclusion

Developments

While Mozambique’s economy is emerging—notably through the extractives sector—most Mozambicans remain very poor. Eighty percent still make a living from subsistence farming. One cause for their marginalization is that most have no connection to the wider economy or to basic financial services such as saving, borrowing, and electronic payments. T…

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More Than Developing Apps: USAID Program Propels Cambodian Girls Into Global Technology Finals

Developments

Women are far underrepresented in the tech world globally from bottom to top. The all-encompassing industry is looking into the mirror and seeing men and boys dominating technology jobs, classrooms, and expert panels, a bias now widely noticed.

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Q&A: Barry Finette on the Hopes and Challenges for THINKMD’s Life-Saving mHealth Platform

Developments

DAI and THINKMD connected in 2016 through DAI’s Innovation into Action Challenge. Our strategic partnership will leverage DAI’s international development network to bring THINKMD’s digital health products to new markets, while THINKMD’s technology will enhance DAI’s global health toolkit. As part of this partnership, DAI led THINKMD’s latest fin…

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New Possibilities: The Role of Governance in Countering Violent Extremism in Iraq

DAIdeas

Can improving governance contribute to the fight against violent extremism? While the absence of good governance is often cited as a driver of violent extremism, it is less clear how the presence of good governance can contribute to its reduction. In the case of Iraq, violence has not only been endemic for much of its modern history, but violenc…

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Cold Storage Expansion Drives Market Development in Uzbekistan

Developments

We were amazed to see a packed audience in 2010 when our team from the Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA) traveled to Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Our Uzbek trainees came from many backgrounds—teachers, builders, businessmen—eager to learn about this vital link in the agricultural value chain. Most did not have experience in the cold chain, let alone a …

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Using Development Assistance to Catalyze Sound Investments in Emerging and Developing Markets

Developments

Investment opportunities in manufacturing, agriculture, and health are as abundant globally as the capital to fund them, but investors in these and other sectors are rightly cautious about entering new countries and taking risks on small and growing businesses and productive infrastructure. Fortunately, there are many examples in these teeming m…

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PolSEFF’s Legacy: Lower Energy Bills for Businesses Across Poland; a Financing Model to Scale and Replicate

Developments

While Poland’s private sector grew steadily in the post-Soviet era, its reliance on old energy equipment and poorly insulated facilities contributed to the country becoming one of the highest energy consumers in Europe. In 2010, when the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) launched the Polish Sustainable Energy Financing Faci…

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Philippines Increases Tax Collections by $1.1 Billion Year Over Year—Without Raising Rates

Developments

What would you do with an extra $1.1 billion? That amount represents the additional taxes collected by the Philippines government during the first quarter of 2017 versus the same period in 2016. This 12.2 percent increase—during the country’s tax-collecting season—followed the rapid adoption by taxpayers of an electronic tax-filing system …

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Making Land Rights Real

Developing Alternatives

Land rights are largely taken for granted in the developed world. Yet for many people in developing nations, land rights have no reality. In the developed world, land rights are almost always recorded in secure registers, but this is not the case elsewhere. It is estimated that as many as 90 percent of the world’s poorest people enjoy neither se…

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Using Mobile Technology for First Registration of Land: Lessons Learned in Tanzania

Developing Alternatives

“In the 21st century,” as I write with my co-authors in the companion piece to this article, “land administration systems will nearly always be developed using digital systems. Assuming they are well designed, then they are more secure, more efficient, more transparent, and more accessible.”But the test of any tool is with users in the field. Th…

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Generation Rising: Young, Educated Afghan Women Enter the Workforce

Developments

It is hard to believe in the wake of the past few decades that 1960s and ’70s Afghanistan was relatively progressive for women, with many women and girls freely attending school, working professionally, and dressing fashionably. Since the 1990s, warlords and, later, the conquering Taliban subjugated females—forbidding girls from going to school …

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$93 Million Grain Deal Between East African Countries Demonstrates How the Region Can Feed Itself

Developments

If East Africa grows enough food to feed itself, which it generally does, why are so many of its people going hungry? This question lies at the nexus of two of Africa’s key development challenges—food security and trade—where a recent milestone event may signal a massive change in fortunes for one of the most food insecure regions of the world.

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Dialogue and Development in Ghana’s Oil and Gas Region

Developing Alternatives

In 2007, oil and gas was discovered off the coast of Ghana, leading to a boom in infrastructure projects and investment in the country’s Western Region, particularly in six coastal districts. Subsequently, large tracts of land have been taken over for the development of oil and gas infrastructure, businesses, pipelines, roads, and areas allocate…

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From Land Tenure Regularisation to a Sustainable Land Register

Developing Alternatives

The evidence is clear: property rights are essential foundations for poverty alleviation and economic development. In Africa, it is less clear as to what may be the most effective way of establishing and especially maintaining those rights, with formal and customary tenure systems both offering degrees of security but radically different develop…

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The Whole Spectrum: A Holistic Approach to Climate Resilience

Developments

Climate change is a growing threat to global stability and national security. Decades of fossil fuel combustion and unsustainable land use have contributed to carbon dioxide levels in the planet’s atmosphere that are higher than in the past 4 million years. With so much carbon dioxide trapping heat in the atmosphere, the planet is getting warmer…

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How Tax and Budget Assistance Helps Developing Countries Help Themselves

Developments

In the United States, April brings warm weather, budding flowers, baseball season and … Tax Day. While not a joyful occasion for most, it is an opportune moment to reaffirm the value of assisting developing countries to improve their tax systems.

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Public-Private Partnerships for Land Administration: Can It Work in Cabo Verde?

Developing Alternatives

Public-private partnerships (PPPs) have a long history as effective mechanisms for delivering infrastructure projects and more recently as vehicles for service provision. The use of PPPs for land administration services is less common, though there are a few notable successes in developed economies. In a development context—where donor-funded ti…

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Despite Regional Instability, Lebanon’s Honey Sector Reaches New Heights

Developments

Even before more than 1 million Syrian refugees crossed into Lebanon, the nation’s agriculture sector was struggling to serve its 4.5 million citizens.

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Unlocking Capital: How USAID Pushed the Frontier of Financial Services and Built a Foundation for Economic Growth in Kenya

Developments

In 2010, as part of the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) designed the Kenya Financial Inclusion for Rural Microenterprises (FIRM) project. FIRM aimed to push the frontier of financial services into the agricultural sector where smallholder farmers—the bulk of Kenya’s 45 million p…

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Developments

DAI’s newsletter, offering feature articles, opinion pieces, and interviews on DAI projects and global development issues.

Developing Alternatives

A forum for our professional staff and guest authors to share their ideas in depth and address issues of enduring interest.

DAIdeas

A companion publication to our Developments newsletter, showcasing innovative thinking in capsule form.

[email protected]

DAI’s Digital for Development blog on what we’re learning in the rapidly emerging field of ICT4D.