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.


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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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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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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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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Open Innovation in 60 Minutes or Less

Digital

When we do “open innovation,” it’s essential to define the problem we are trying to solve. And crucial to that process is crafting a good “Call.” Can this be done in 60 minutes or less?

DAI facilitated workshop on open innovation at the Triangle Global Health Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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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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The Second Chance Fund: Learning and Iteration with Tech in Cambodia

Digital

Any honest digital designer will admit it: Most tech tools fail. At least the first time around. Getting your users to drop the old way of doing things and use your new website (or gadget, or app) isn’t easy. It doesn’t matter if it visualizes their transactions in some really clever way, or sends their user data to the cloud for real-time analy…

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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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Investments in Internet Access Must Include Investments in “Critical Digital Literacy”

Digital

Expanding internet access in ‘last-mile markets’ is a priority for development agencies—and rightly so. The economic costs to countries that do not offer their populations internet access is high: Studies have detailed the internet’s macroeconomic boost to GDP, the economic and employment benefits of the growth in the digital sector, and the imp…

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Catalyzing Ghana’s Growing AgriTech Ecosystem

Digital

This is the wrap-up piece for 2017 in our ongoing series about Kosmos Innovation Center (KIC) Ghana and its annual AgriTech Challenge, which DAI supports and helps implement. We’ll pick this series back up again for KIC’s 2018 cohort, but in the meantime, browse our KIC archives here, here, and here.

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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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Open Source Series Part 3: Spatial Analysis with QGIS (Article 2/2)

Digital

In my last post I introduced QGIS, and previewed some of the basic functions in the upcoming release of Version 3.0. In this second of two articles, I’ll compare using QGIS in professional organizations to the use of proprietary software, and provide recommendations for organizations seeking to test the waters with spatial analysis. I’ve also re…

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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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Data Management Series Part 3: Painting a Vivid Picture with Data

Digital

Welcome back! After reading the previous two posts in this series, you’ve come a long way: you’ve devised a brilliant monitoring, evaluation, and learning plan, set up your data storage and management infrastructure, and conducted your baseline data collection. It’s finally time to get to the good stuff and dive into the data to make sense of it…

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Data Management Series Part 2: Don’t Let Your Data Get Dusty

Digital

So, after reading last week’s blog, you’ve developed the world’s most robust monitoring, evaluation, and learning plan. You just conducted a multi-tier baseline assessment, validating your data by triangulating data points through five different surveying tools and are excited to dig in to multivariate regression analysis. But wait! First we nee…

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Data Management Series Part 1: Planning and Collecting

Digital

If you’ve been paying any attention to the so-called data revolution, you may have heard the expression “Data is the new oil.” The phrase has been attributed to and adopted by countless people and organizations to whom the central reasoning is clear: In the information age, data is an incredibly valuable “commodity.” The purpose of the analogy a…

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Open Source Series Part 2: Spatial Analysis with QGIS (Article 1/2)

Digital

In part one of this two-part article, we’ll explore the open source geographic information system (GIS) software package, QGIS, through a look at its history, and take a sneak peek at the upcoming release of Version 3.0, which is scheduled for release this fall.

There’s been a buzz around the release of QGIS version 3.0 for a couple of years n…

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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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GeekFest 2017: Discussing Blockchain and Economic IDs with Shailee Adinolfi of BanQu

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 I’m speaking with S…

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Blockchain Summer News Round-Up: A Big Splash Into the Pool or a Dip of the Toe?

Digital

This is a guest post by Colleen Green, Senior Financial Sector Specialist at DAI and avid swimmer. Blockchain technology has been in the news a lot this summer, and like the child standing at the edge of a swimming pool, the news is equal parts enthusiastic, cautious, and speculative about what lurks beneath. Photo from the 2016 Blockchain Summit

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Lanzamos ‘Somos Chiantla’, App de Transparencia, en Guatemala

Digital

Note: This post is also available in English. Nota: Esta entrada es la continuación de una publicación anterior que explica nuestra fase de diseño digital, que fue centrada en los ciudadanos de Chiantla.

El 25 de mayo, el Alcalde Carlos Alvarado Figueroa anunció desde el Teatro Municipal de Chiantla el lanzamiento de Somos Chiantla, una aplica…

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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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Big Gains in Access to Safe Drinking Water: How Four African Countries Did It … and How Others Can, Too

Developments

In 1990, the East African nation of Ethiopia stood among the nations in most dire need of water development. Seventeen years of war had left its government and systems in disarray. Only 11 percent of its more than 48 million people had access to piped or other improved water sources; the rest used unimproved sources such as unprotected wells and…

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Ethiopia Land Registration Ready for Lift Off: Now What?

Developing Alternatives

Large-scale land registration programmes such as the U.K. for International Development (DFID)-funded Rwanda Land Tenure Regularisation Programme have demonstrated that it is possible to roll out land registration programmes quickly and cheaply, on a national scale. Now, a similar but even more ambitious U.K. initiative in Ethiopia—the Land Inve…

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A Call to Arms: Shaping a More Innovative Approach to Adaptive Programming in Democracy Assistance

DAIdeas

While adaptive programming is at the forefront of development programming, its basic tenets are not new. As the name suggests, this approach implies adapting a programme to the specific circumstances in which it will be implemented and to the needs of those it targets, as they evolve. Adaptive programming means that the programme’s purpose, stru…

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Legitimate Land Tenure and Property Rights: Fostering Compliance and Development Outcomes

Developing Alternatives

At the request of the U.K. Department for International Development, DAI recently undertook structured research into the following question: What policies and interventions or approaches have been successful in fostering compliance with legitimate land tenure rights and what impact have these strategies had on development outcomes? The research …

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The Law of the Land: Recent Cases Show Legal Support for Local People

Developing Alternatives

International efforts to secure the land and resource rights of local and indigenous peoples are increasingly finding a friend in the law. National and international law, policies, and jurisprudence are coming together with “soft” legal guidelines and principles to yield stronger standards related to indigenous land and resource rights. Landmark…

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Enhancing Women and Girls’ Land Rights in Rural Sierra Leone

Developing Alternatives

Around 70 percent of Sierra Leoneans live in rural areas, the large majority of them depending on agriculture for their livelihoods. Issues of land ownership, tenure, and inheritance rights are therefore crucial to virtually every rural household. But these issues are bound up in a system of customary law that in turn reflects endemic gender dis…

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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.