Q&A with Folarin Okelola from National Agricultural Seeds Council

January 19, 2023 Agriculture Development Gateway
Program

In summer 2022, Folarin Okelola, PhD, met with DGer Aminata Camara Badji to discuss Folarin’s work as the Technical Adviser to the Director General at the National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) as well as his collaboration with the Visualizing Information on Seeds Using Technology in Africa (VISTA) Program, which is led by Development Gateway: An IREX Venture (DG) in partnership with The African Seed Access Index (TASAI)

Folarin and NASC—an agency of Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development tasked with the development and regulation of Nigeria’s seed industry—work with TASAI and plan to utilize the TASAI Dashboard.

DG and TASAI developed the Dashboard to support decision-makers in the public, development, and private sectors in visualizing and using data to support a fully functional formal seed system. By displaying 21 indicators from 17 African countries, the Dashboard allows for the assessment of seed quality, availability, and accessibility in individual countries and through cross-country comparisons. 

Below are some key quotes and video clips from Folarin’s discussion with Aminata. The full interview can be viewed here.    

How do you expect to use the TASAI-VISTA Dashboard?

“[The TASAI-VISTA Dashboard] will avail us to better and prompt information when we need it. And it means the work is there [for] comparison between countries. And it helps you to also have a link that you can share with your seniors—those above you—to say ok this is what I’m talking about…In Africa, seeing is believing, and it’s what we see that moves us.

So if you are talking to a very senior colleague about the report or the outcome of this study  of TASAI and you’re talking physically, they may not really believe you. Just send them the link and say, ‘Check the link and you’ll see what I’m saying.’ Then they can see for themselves.” 

Aminata and Folarin in Discussion

In your work, which indicators or data do you find most useful to use? 

“In the previous results of TASAI, some data particularly [regarding] the number of breeders, for example, has helped in actually speaking to policy-makers that we need more breeders. It has helped to also speak to the donors to sponsor more people to start breeding, because we have a little number of breeders. And also, the number of companies—you know—the rate at which companies are getting breeders on their payroll, we were able to show that. […] The TASAI-VISTA portal will be able to show this gap.”

What kind of decisions are you making based on this data?

“We make policy decisions, particularly in dealing with new companies. One example is the aspect of counterfeiting (the faking of seeds). The TASAI report brought these out clearly some years back, and it was one of what helped push for donor intervention—to say, we need to stem or stop the nefarious demand for this for the farmers, and then to the introduction of the SEEDCODEX.

There are other things that the TASAI resource has brought out before. I mentioned the Garden Variety Protection—it’s one clear gap  in our seeds piece, and because of the report, we’ve been able to go to the government and say, ‘Yes, we need support.’”

How can the TASAI-VISTA Dashboard help you in your work, especially analysis and decision-making?

“For me, I’m very excited to start playing with the Dashboard. […]  When you get familiar with [the Dashboard] many things you cannot imagine can come to the fore. So, I see more flexibility. I see more promise in everyone getting information much easier than it was with the pdf version. So, [we’re] just waiting for the launch, so we can hit the ground running.” 

Screen Shot 2023-01-18 at 3.30.50 PM
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Advancing Tobacco Control in Zambia: The TCDI Website

December 14, 2022 Health Development Gateway
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In response to the impending threat of tobacco use in Zambia and the various dangers that accompany it, the Tobacco Control Data Initiative website creates a “one-stop shop” to access the relevant data that Zambia’s policymakers need to advance tobacco control legislation.

December 14, Lusaka, Zambia – Since 2019, Development Gateway: an IREX Venture (DG) has collaborated with University of Cape Town’s Research Unit on the Economics of Excisable Products (REEP) to address barriers to data use in tobacco control by consolidating available and trusted tobacco control data, identifying and filling data gaps, and creating an online resource for policymakers to access the relevant data needed to pass and monitor tobacco control legislation. These findings have come together through the Tobacco Control Data Initiative (TCDI), which is supported in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and implemented in Zambia in addition to South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

Why TCDI?

More than 7,000 Zambians die every year as a result of using tobacco, and 60% of these individuals are below 70 years of age (MOH. “Investment Case For Tobacco Control in Zambia: The Case for Investing in WHO FCTC Implementation.” 2019). Tobacco consumption is decreasing  throughout the world; however, the largest expected increase of smokers is expected to occur in Africa (Africa’s Tobacco Epidemic, Tobacco Tactics, 2020). This is particularly alarming, because tobacco control data in Zambia is scarce and incomprehensive with minimal disaggregation. 

Although tobacco control data exist, the data is usually only available in disparate sources (i.e., individual agencies, research institutions, private sector companies, or civil society organizations) and some data is not easily accessible. These factors present a challenge for tobacco control legislation. Strong tobacco control measures are needed to ensure that smoking rates do not increase. 

Through their research, the TCDI team identified common themes in the data landscape. These relate to concerns about data accuracy, comparability, timeliness, and accessibility. As a result, the TCDI team understands the data needs and gaps, has identified existing data, and developed the TCDI Zambia website that enables decision-makers to use essential data to inform tobacco control policy more effectively. 

 

Although tobacco control data sources exists, the data is usually only available in silos and not easily accessible. Therefore, availability of tobacco control related information remains key when it comes to lobbying and advocating for the enactment of the tobacco control bill among others.

Hon Sylvia T. Masebo, MP Zambia's Minister of Health

The Zambia Website 

Together, partners co-designed a publicly available website (zambia.tobaccocontroldata.org) that aims to address key decision-making needs. The website equips stakeholders in government, civil society, academia, and the general public with reliable and up-to-date evidence to promote tobacco control and public health. It draws on both primary and secondary data sources and presents tobacco control information in user-friendly formats such as graphs, infographics, myths and facts, and success stories. The website will feature five themes: tobacco prevalence, tobacco harm, illicit trade, taxation, and industry interference. The website will be updated with new information as this becomes available over the course of the program.

The introduction of the Tobacco Control Data Initiative is a welcome development whose timing is right for this country. The World Health Organization Zambia commends Development Gateway for developing the Tobacco Control Data Initiative which will be a critical data source for monitoring the tobacco epidemic and other parameters. The Data Initiative will enable policymakers and the general public to use essential data more effectively to inform policy. TCDI would fill in the data gap in tobacco control that would enable legislators and decision-makers use correct data to inform public health policies. Zambia needs a comprehensive tobacco control law and the time is now!

Agatha Shula National Professional Officer Responsible for Tobacco Control at World Health Organization Zambia

The Development Process

Before creating the TCDI Zambia website, the TCDI team assessed the existing data and stakeholder needs through hour-long interviews with key members of the tobacco control community. The learnings from the assessment were validated with stakeholders during a workshop in February 2022  before technical development proceeded. The website was created through an agile, co-design process in close consultation with key tobacco control stakeholders in Zambia, including Zambia’s Ministry of Health. (Find the full list of our stakeholders and partners here.) Initial mockups and website designs were shared back with stakeholders for their input and suggestions. As a final step before launching the site, user feedback sessions were led in November 2022. 

About the Partners

Development Gateway: an IREX Venture (DG)
Development Gateway: an IREX Venture provides data and digital solutions for international development. DG creates tools that help institutions collect and analyze information; strengthen the institutional capacity to use data; and explore what processes are needed to enable evidence-based decisions. A mission-driven nonprofit since 2000 with staff based in five global hubs and around the world, DG supports the use of data, technology, and evidence to create more effective, open, and engaging institutions. More at www.developmentgateway.org.

Ministry of Health, Zambia (MOH)
The Ministry aims to provide effective quality healthcare services close to the family as possible. This ensures equity of access to health service delivery and contributes to human and socioeconomic development. The ministry also targets to attain Sustainable Development Goals on health and other national health priorities. More at www.moh.gov.zm

Other Partners

 

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Development Gateway: an IREX Venture’s (DG’s) Open Contracting Portal (OC Portal) was designated as a digital public good (DPG) and added to Digital Public Goods Alliance’s (DPGA’s) Registry on September 8, 2022. The goal of the DPGA and its Registry is to promote DPGs in order to create a more equitable world, which is in alignment with the vision behind the OC Portal: to organize and archive procurement documents, improve data transparency and feedback by the public, and to help publish procurement information in the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS).

“Having the OC Portal registered as a Digital Public Good is an important recognition of the value of the tool. By building with real users, using open source tools, and based upon a global open data standard (OCDS), this DPG has incredible potential for reuse to improve public procurement anywhere in the world. Creating DGPs is also closely aligned with our vision and strategy for 2023-2025 of creating tools that are impactful, not only in a specific country’s context, but globally as well.”

Joshua Powell DG’s Chief Executive Officer

What are Digital Public Goods and Why Do They Matter?

The individual and societal need for clean water, electricity, and other commodities gave rise to the notion of the public good (i.e., a good or service provided freely to all members of a society by a governmental actor or civil organization). Similarly, the notion of the DPG arose from the need to address complex problems throughout the world, especially in low- and middle-income countries, coupled with the aim of attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030

Like public goods, DPGs are digital solutions that are meant to address specific societal needs (e.g., improving literacy rates and creating safe, reliable systems for electronic medical records). In addressing these needs, DPGs advance the equity, sustainability, and well-being of that society. Furthermore, DPGs advance a society’s development by creating a more robust digital infrastructure and by reducing the digital and data divides in that society while contributing to global efforts to reduce these divides.  

Generally, DPGs are software, AI models, standards, or content that are open-source, meaning their source code, design and/or data sets are publicly available and can be replicated, modified, and shared freely. DPGs listed on the DPGA’s Registry offer solutions on everything from detecting malnutrition in children under five to combating misinformation and hate speech

The OC Portal: Helping Governments Spend Better

Through our work, DG has consistently advocated for open source and open data solutions as a means of making technology more accessible and sustainable, prioritizing reuse and engagement from open communities. The OC Portal shows this advocacy in action, with its mission to provide procurement analytics that can be used to improve procurement efficiency and, in turn, reduce corruption and increase impact.

“Delivering digital transformation that works for governments requires reliable, scalable, and well-documented digital tools that are fit for purpose,” said Josh. “Our OC Portal has been successfully designed, developed, and deployed directly with multiple government partners.“

Launched in September 2018, the Government of Makueni County’s OC Portal (Makueni OC Portal) was created to implement open contracting in Makueni County, Kenya; it was the first iteration of the OC Portal that provides both data input and analytics capabilities. Developed by DG in collaboration the Government of Makueni County (GMC) and Hivos, Makueni OC Portal helped Makueni County benefit from procurement analytics that are designed to improve procurement efficiency, increase value for money, and reduce corruption. The Makueni OC Portal allows for the collection of procurement data and maps that data to the OCDS, which makes it usable at a global level.

Image 1 – The landing page of the Open Contracting Portal includes an image from the original Makueni OC Portal.

DG developed the platform using (1) the Open Contracting Explorer (OCE) framework upon which several of DG’s open contracting tools are built and (2) the DG Toolkit, which is a flexible, customizable, and ready-to-launch set of code modules (based on the Spring Framework) that DG developed and often uses as a base from which we build new systems.

Since DG launched the Makueni OC Portal, we have continued to work closely with Makueni government officials and the Open Contracting Partnership to ensure that the final tool responds to the government’s needs. After three years of evaluating the effectiveness of the Portal, DG leadership saw the potential for the OC Portal to become a DPG, with the aim of allowing others to more easily learn about the OC Portal as well as implement or improve open contracting systems elsewhere.

“DG was excited at the opportunity to contribute its work to the Digital Public Goods Registry, since we feel that the OC Portal is a tool from which many users worldwide can benefit.” said Vanessa Goas, DG’s Chief Operating Officer. “We were also grateful to the Digital Public Goods Alliance team for providing us feedback and support for making our tools more usable.” 

Becoming an DPG: Expanding the OC Portal 

Digital solutions, like the OC Portal, can be given DPG status after (1) being nominated and (2) undergoing a three-stage technical review process

Image 2 – Visualization of DPG review process via the DPG Alliance GitHub.

The first few steps in passing the technical review is ensuring the OC Portal meets the DPG Standard, which is the baseline requirement to ensure that digital solutions with DPG status encapsulate DGPA principles. 

“The DPG Standard helped us focus on not only making open source tools,” said Fernando Ferreyra, DG’s Director of Software Development, “but also guided us on how to distribute them more effectively, while taking into account all the privacy and data protection policies which ensure that our digital solutions are what we build is used properly, requires a low level of support, and encourages the community to improve upon the digital solution.”

To satisfy the DPG Standard, the OC Portal had to align with nine DPGA-defined indicators, which include ensuring that the digital solution: 

  • Advances the United Nations’s SDGs; 
  • Has an open license; 
  • Has documentation outlining source code, use cases, and/or functional requirements; and
  • Shows that it was designed to anticipate, prevent, and do no harm.

With these requirements in mind, the DG team adjusted the Makueni OC Portal, which included: updating privacy policy documents, checking assumptions about how user data is managed, and developing a dedicated website for the portal.   

Best Practices for Developing DPGs

Throughout the process of creating the OC Portal, DG identified several best practices for organizations looking to create DPGs and seeking to meet the DPG Standard, which acted as a guide in the process.

  • Build with intention: It’s better to think of any potential open source tool as DPGs from the beginning stages of their design, since retrofitting can take a bit of time. Considerations about privacy, password storing, and personal identifiable information (PII) need to be taken into account from the beginning, especially for digital solutions  that collect and distribute data (personal or otherwise). These considerations are difficult to incorporate into an existing digital solution; therefore, best practice is to address them during the design phase.
  • Adjust internal design principles: As additional digital solutions are designed, advocate that all digital solutions created meet DPG principles, even if they are not going to be submitted as DPGs. These principles are sound and protect the (PII) data.
  • Obtain approval from clients and partners (if needed): Determine if the client or partner who is supporting the development of the digital solution is open to having the work be open source and submitted as a DPG.
  • Maintain the appropriate licenses: Ensure that the licenses for any frameworks or libraries associated with the digital solution are consistent with the same licensing for the solution itself.
  • Keep documentation updated: Ensuring all documentation related to the digital solution is up to date allows for a simplified DPG application process.
  • Plan ahead: Allocate resources throughout the project to be ready for DPG submission at previously identified major milestones.

Going forward, we plan to review all of DG’s portfolio of open source applications to develop a strategy on retrofitting our digital solutions to submit others as DPGs (such as our Aid Management Platform).

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Photo by Antonio Grosz on Unsplash Photo by Antonio Grosz on Unsplash

Announcing Development Gateway’s aLIVE Program: Advancing Livestock Data in Ethiopia

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Development Gateway: an IREX Venture (DG)—with funding from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and in partnership with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Agriculture (MoA)—is pleased to announce a new program, a Livestock Information Vision for Ethiopia (aLIVE). This four-year, $5 million program will empower Ethiopia’s stakeholders in the livestock sector to make data-informed decisions by providing relevant, accurate, timely, and digital livestock data and analytics. Ultimately, the aLIVE program will support Ethiopia in meeting national food demands as well as achieving food security while building a robust, more independent economy.

Counting Cattle: Why an Improved Livestock Information System is Needed 

Ethiopia’s agriculture sector accounts for 40% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and employs 75% of the country’s workforce.1 Livestock is a key component in this sector—in fact, Ethiopia has the largest livestock population in Africa, with 70 million cattle, 42 million sheep, 52 million goats, 8 million camels, and 56 million chickens.2 

Therefore, Ethiopia’s livestock is vital to the country’s economic well-being and is a key component in the government’s aim to create food security and decrease reliance on agricultural imports, as outlined in Ethiopia’s Ten-Year Strategic Development Plan of the Ministry of Agriculture. To meet these goals, Ethiopia needs a more robust tool for managing livestock data, known as a livestock information system (LIS). DG’s goal is to create an LIS that:

  • Aggregates standardized livestock data that comes from multiple sources; 
  • Includes visualizations which will make it easy to understand and engage with key data indicators on livestock; and
  • Has backend architecture that meets MoA’s functional and technical needs for appropriate data management and quality assurance features critical to keeping the data up to date. 

The current state of Ethiopia’s livestock information is impacted by input data of varied quality and a limited capacity for data analysis, including comparison, which slows down the flow of information to stakeholders and limits their ability to use data to shape production decisions. Exacerbating these concerns are the inability to exchange information between existing digital systems and tools (i.e., a lack of interoperability), gaps in the available data, and limited guidelines and regulations on data governance. With all of these limitations combined, stakeholders have access to only segments of Ethiopia’s livestock sector and therefore, are limited in data-driven decision-making.  

Ethiopia’s MoA recognized the challenges facing the agriculture sector and, in 2017, partnered with BMGF to transform the country’s livestock data ecosystem. This was the first phase of the aLIVE program. During this phase, the MoA worked closely with the Livestock Investment Corporation (LIC) and International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) to conduct a landscape analysis of the livestock data ecosystem which outlined stakeholder needs and the state of the livestock data ecosystem. 

From this landscape analysis, the partners developed the Livestock Information System Roadmap, which provides an overarching vision for the development of a comprehensive LIS and includes discrete steps on how to achieve this vision. For the second phase of the aLIVE program, DG will take the lead on the technology implementation stage.

aLIVE Tomorrow: Next Steps in Advancing Ethiopia’s Agriculture 

In this next stage of the aLIVE program, the overall goal is to increase the MoA’s ability to analyze and use livestock data in its planning, policy making, programming, and resource allocation by creating an improved LIS, strengthening data governance, and conducting related capacity building activities.

DG will know that this goal has been met when:

  1. MoA has access to timely, relevant, and interoperable data on livestock through the LIS;
  2. MoA has improved skills, processes, data governance systems, and incentives to use data to inform policy making and resource allocation decisions; and,
  3. MoA has the resources, skills, and infrastructure necessary to sustain and grow the use of the LIS over time.

Throughout the first year of the aLIVE program, DG and MoA will lay the foundation for the program’s success by:

  • Determining the LIS data standard to support interoperability across databases; 
  • Finalizing the system architecture defined in the Roadmap for the LIS;
  • Strengthening the existing livestock MoA databases; and 
  • Updating the data management process (i.e., the way data is collected, shared, and uploaded) in order to support future data use and long-term sustainability of the strengthened data ecosystem. 

Stay tuned for more!

Footnotes
  1. “Agriculture and Food Security.” USAID. Last modified January 8, 2021. https://www.usaid.gov/ethiopia/agriculture-and-food-security
  2. Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia. May 7, 2021. Original data from https://www.statsethiopia.gov.et/our-survey-reports/. Accessed via https://public.knoema.com/pbwfnlf/livestock-statistics-of-ethiopia.  
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Tuesday, November 29, Nairobi, Kenya The new AfricaFertilizer.org website is launching today. The website advances food security throughout Africa by providing in-depth data on fertilizer supply chains and availability in 18 sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries. The AfricaFertilizer.org website was developed by AfricaFertilizer.org (AFO) in partnership with Development Gateway: an IREX Venture (DG) and Wallace & Associates. The launch event will bring together the private sector, national governments, the African Union (AU), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, and development partners to promote the collaborative use of AFO’s data in order to make informed decisions that address and respond to key issues of availability, policy, price, and use in the fertilizer sector in SSA.

Why Fertilizer and Food Security?

Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has the lowest fertilizer usage in the world – insufficient to replace soil nutrients lost every year to crop production. Simultaneously, SSA’s population is growing steadily with a population size of over 2 billion people by 2050. This demographic shift has resulted in an increased need for policy-makers to make decisions that lead to strong agricultural supply chains, including the tools and data needed to ensure sufficient quantities and appropriate fertilizers reach farmers on time for planting.

To help meet this need, AFO, DG, and Wallace & Associates, working with industry sector players at national levels, have co-created and launched three country-specific dashboards in Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana, which aggregate country-specific fertilizer data and act as trustworthy sources. 

“Data sometimes looks so complicated, you wonder where to start and how [to] figure it out. This [dashboard] is highly commendable. It is easy to use and contains a lot of useful and helpful data. It will enhance our work as soil scientists and extension agents in making recommendations.”

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The New Africa Fertilizer Website

The new AfricaFertilizer.org website builds upon previous work by displaying fertilizer data on trade, production, consumption, and retail prices for 18 SSA countries in addition to integrating the current data dashboards for Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and Senegal. 

Users of the new AfricaFertilizer.org website will have the ability to customize data visualizations for cross-country comparison and access timely information on fertilizer markets. One primary goal behind the website is to allow stakeholders to track progress in meeting the targets identified in the 2006 Abuja Declaration, using the data provided on the website. 

The revamped AFO website, which will position AFO as the primary data source for fertilizer data on the African continent, will also serve as a trustworthy source to inform analysis and planning in advance of the 2023 African Union Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit and the design and monitoring of the 10-year action plan on fertilizer in Africa. The partnership will prioritize engagement with the African Union Commission to build a bridge to AU member countries, with the aim of having AFO recognized as an official data partner. 

Finally, the new AfricaFertilizer.org website will also display the recently launched Africa Fertilizer Watch, a monitoring and early warning systems tool on the impact the Russian invasion of Ukraine has had on the fertilizer markets of 10 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa as well as other indicators tracking overall market risk, affordability, availability, and distribution of fertilizer.

As a result of the new website, policymakers and investors in SSA countries will have the data they need and the in-country networks and processes to jointly analyze and use that data to drive decision-making and inform the design of the Summit’s 10-year Fertilizer and Soil Health Action Plan. 

The Development of the Website

Development of the website began with a scoping mission to identify needs and gaps in data in the fertilizer sector. This was followed by a co-design workshop to validate findings. Throughout the design of the website, DG utilized the Agile software development methodology, specifically iterating based on feedback. The backend of the AfricaFertilizer.Org website is built using Java, PostgresSql, Hibernate, and the DGToolkit; while the frontend uses React.js, WordPress, Leaflet, and Nivo.

About the Partners

AfricaFertilizer.org (AFO) – the premier source for fertilizer statistics and information in Africa. It is hosted by IFDC and supported by several partners, key among them being the International Fertilizer Association (IFA), Argus Media, USAID BFS  and the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation through Development Gateway under the Visualizing Insights on Fertilizer for African Agriculture, VIFAA program. Since 2009, AFO has been collecting, processing, and publishing fertilizer production, trade, and consumption statistics for the main fertilizer markets in sub-Saharan Africa. AFO has an extensive network of fertilizer industry players in the main fertilizer trade corridors and maintains key information on the major producers, their production facilities and capacities, importers/suppliers, and various distribution channels. More at https://africafertilizer.org

Development Gateway: an IREX Venture (DG) – Development Gateway provides data and digital solutions for international development. DG creates tools that help institutions collect and analyze information; strengthen the institutional capacity to use data; and explore what processes are needed to enable evidence-based decisions. A mission-driven nonprofit since 2000 with staff based in five global hubs and around the world, DG supports the use of data, technology, and evidence to create more effective, open, and engaging institutions. More at www.developmentgateway.org

International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) – As an independent non-profit organization, IFDC works throughout Africa and Asia to increase soil fertility and develop inclusive market systems. Combining science-backed innovations, an enabling policy environment, holistic market systems development, and strategic partnerships, the organization bridges the gap between identifying and scaling sustainable agricultural solutions, resulting in improved household food security and enriched family livelihoods around the world. Using an inclusive approach, IFDC employs locally driven solutions that are environmentally sound and impact oriented that bring change at local, regional, and national levels. More at https://ifdc.org

Wallace & Associates (W&A) – Since 2014, W&A has been involved in the strategic design of agriculture development projects with a strong focus on sub-Saharan Africa. W&A works closely with donor institutions, government officials, and the private-sector to identify investments that unlock market constraints. Together, we identify opportunities that lead to transformative investments and/or development initiatives.

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October 21, 2022 Agriculture Victoria Blackham, Lindsey Fincham, Beverley Hatcher-Mbu
Launch, Program

The Digital Advisory Support Services for Accelerated Rural Transformation (DAS) Program launched in March 2022 and will go through March 2025. Development Gateway: an IREX Venture (DG) will implement the grant in partnership with Jengalab and TechChange to advance Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) in the agricultural sector across Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia.

Enhancing food security and increasing crop production is a daunting challenge. Change requires all elements of the food system – production, monitoring, distribution, and quality assurance – to work together synergistically, supporting and underpinning each other. It also requires a direct focus on the needs of farmers.

Small farms account for 84 percent of farms worldwide and produce 35 percent of the world’s food supply.1 Despite the huge role of smallholder farmers, they face significant challenges to scaling their production (i.e., producing a higher crop yield and/or increasing quality products ready for market). From weak institutional support, poor infrastructure, lack of access to capital, and beyond – these challenges can affect agricultural productivity. 

Meeting the Digital Needs of Farmers

Digital and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools are one path forward. For example, a smallholder farmer in Malawi, who can access a line of credit through a mobile application, could use this funding to purchase seeds and fertilizer before the growing season begins. The same farmer can also use a mobile device to access information on weather forecasts, market research, planting techniques, financial tools, and other agricultural information. This type of information is crucial for a farmer making decisions in order to improve productivity and provide a buffer from unforeseen challenges during the growing cycle. 

Increasing smallholder farmers’ access to digital tools is an opportunity to support smallholder farmers while creating more resilient food systems. In the process, partner organizations, government agencies, and civil society organizations (CSOs) can identify successes and good practices for connecting farmers to critical information. Doing so, can help build better targeted programs that improve the ability of program implementers to target, monitor, and measure the impact of digital solutions that support farmers – and create useful feedback loops for continual learning and growth.

Program Background and Goals

In March 2022, DG launched the Digital Advisory Support Services for Accelerated Rural Transformation (DAS) Program, through funding from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD),to address the gap in digital tools and information access for smallholder farmers. Through rapid advisory deployments, the DAS Program will focus on two main objectives:

  1. Increase access to information and inclusive financial services for smallholder farmers and partners they work with, including extension workers, and
  2. Increase the use of ICT4D solutions to achieve better targeting, monitoring, and impact measurement for agricultural development. 

DG is partnering with digital development experts, Jengalab, and digital training creator, TechChange, to provide a holistic approach to advisory support. Jengalab will lead and contribute to ecosystem and M&E assessments, while TechChange will create customized training for implementing partners. DG will also work closely with the two program partners to develop and disseminate good practices that can support capacity building around the use of ICT in agriculture programs for IFAD-financed implementers across the geographic regions.

“DG’s work in digital agriculture has expanded rapidly over the past decade, ranging from data on inputs to monitoring value chains to researching farmer-centric models of data governance. Our work with IFAD is an incredible opportunity to drive meaningful adoption of proven and emerging digital agriculture tools and approaches that are context-appropriate, ethical, and equitable. We are excited to work with IFAD programs across dozens of countries, learning and sharing about what works, and delivering services that help improve security and farmer livelihoods.” 

Josh Powell Chief Executive Officer of Development Gateway

Advisory Support: Our Approach

The DAS Program is a demand-driven facility, meaning IFAD-financed implementing partners can approach the program for tailored support on integrating digital technology solutions into existing programs, new program designs, and institutions. 

The program offers a menu of options for requesters to choose from including, but not limited to: 

  1. Ecosystem assessment and mapping for country strategies, development plans, supply chains, or specific sectors;
  2. Digital tool appraisal to map user journeys, user experience, scalability, and sustainability;
  3. Establishment and documentation of data governance procedures to support digital tool management;
  4. Integration of ICT technology indicators into the project, program, or strategy M&E results frameworks;
  5. Capacity and awareness building of target institutions, government, and implementing partners via customized training;
  6. Support in the development of a Request for Proposal/Terms of Reference/Scope of Work to engage an ICT service provider; and 
  7. Research brief on specific ICT topics (e.g., the use of algorithms, machine learning, data protection factors, etc.).

Recognizing the need for a customizable, flexible approach to providing support, DG, Jengalab, and TechChange developed the menu of options to address the variety of challenges, as well as opportunities, that programs face in embedding digital tools within existing agricultural ecosystems. The goal overall is to tailor the options to each team’s particular needs, integrating the expertise of the partners into a package of advisory support that both builds team capacity and creates opportunities to document learnings that other teams can benefit from in the future.

Building digital tools is not just an opportunity to improve agricultural processes, it’s also a chance to share lessons learned with the wider ICT4D community. The DAS Program aims to inform future ICT4D best practices and implementation strategies by creating toolkits, guides, case studies, and cross-learning events to share what works and what does not for ICT4D innovations. DG will develop a digital knowledge hub to allow the public  to access the collection of resources and guidance developed under the program.

Next Steps

The DAS Program has engaged with partners in Uzbekistan, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Malawi since its inception in March 2022. In the upcoming months, the Program will provide advisory support in Sudan, Uzbekistan (as a follow-on request), Morocco, Nigeria, and Burundi, with additional countries to be determined.

We look forward to sharing what we learn in the process as the DAS Program gains speed. Stay tuned!

Footnote

1. Lowder SK, Sanchez, MV & Bertini, R. Which farms feed the world and has farmland become more concentrated? World Dev 2021; 142. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2021.105455.

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Nigeria’s Changing NPK Market (Part 2)

October 4, 2022 Agriculture Vinisha Bhatia-Murdach, Scott Wallace
Data Use, Explainer

As highlighted in Part 1, the nitrogen story in Nigeria is quite impressive. However, crops cannot grow on nitrogen alone. Seventeen nutrients are required for plant growth, with nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) serving as the essential trio (NPK). Private sector urea investments have encouraged entrepreneurs to invest in domestic NPK blending plants. Typically, companies that operate fertilizer blending plants produce specific blends made from all three of these essential nutrients, and often blends are created with other micronutrients that address specific needs for a plant’s nutrient uptake.

Moving Away from the “One Size Fits All” Model 

Prior to this recent upsurge in investments in the fertilizer sector, Nigeria imported NPK products, and these imports would compete with domestic blending plant operators. The majority of these domestic plants were either owned by state governments or relied on government contracts to operate. Product quality was a concern by the farming community because many of these operators considered the government as their customer rather than the farmer. This remains an area of concern during this transition from imported to domestic NPK production, as local blending plants do not  clear their final product through customs or the port before selling it to the farmer. 

For more than 20 years, Nigeria’s primary NPK products consisted of common N, P, and K blends – usually 15 15 15 (equal parts N, P, and K) or 20 10 10 (double the amount of N to the amount P and K). These fertilizer types were generic enough to be applied to all crops but most closely aligned with nutrient requirements for maize. This “one size fits all” approach was primarily due to economies of scale, as importers and government tenders supported  a “one-size-fits-all” approach. 

Changes in the nitrogen production have increased the use of nitrogen-based fertilizers. And the use of fertilizer has nearly doubled since 2015 (most of it led by the increased use of nitrogen-based fertilizers, such as urea).

Image 1: National Average Apparent Fertilizer Consumption – by Nutrient Ton

Becoming a Nitrogen-Fertilizer Market Leader

However, the change in the nitrogen market has given rise to a new market  for private sector actors. Once Nigeria became a global supplier of nitrogen-based fertilizer, it no longer made economic sense for NPK products to be imported when domestic nitrogen could be used in-country. Currently, more than 75 blending plants exist in Nigeria, 18 of which have come online since 2015. 

In 2016, the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI) was created between President Muhammadu Buhari and the King of Morocco to supply discounted phosphate for NPK blends within Nigeria which further encouraged the growth of blending plants. In November 2018, the Central Bank of Nigeria banned the use of foreign exchange for imports of NPK fertilizers in an effort to bolster domestic production.1 2 This explains the explosive growth of blending plants within Nigeria over the past few years.

Image 2: Current blending plants in Nigeria
Image 3: Current plus upcoming blending plants in Nigeria

As phosphorus and potassium are not domestically available, these blending plants use domestic urea (46% nitrogen) combined with other imported raw materials such as diammonium phosphate or DAP (18% nitrogen and 46% phosphorous) alongside muriate of potassium or MOP (60% potassium) to create NPK blends. 

As evidenced by the apparent consumption chart below, P and K consumption has not kept pace with the domestically produced nitrogen (urea) consumption. 

Image 4: Apparent Fertilizer Consumption

The rapid growth of blending plants now creates an opportunity that can have a transformative impact on the country’s agriculture sector. A key benefit of domestic blending plants is the flexibility to supply the specific nutrient needs for the crops grown in the locality. For example, a tomato fertilizer blend in Plateau State could equate to 8-32-16 whereas a cassava blend in Nasarawa State could be 6-14-32 and a 20-5-5 blend for rice farmers in Sokoto. Even though the NPK formulas presented above are meant for illustrative purposes, one can distinguish the variation in nutrient needs by crop. Historically, this attention to crop and soil nutrient needs was not possible when NPK was imported in 10 to 15,000 MT increments. 

Why Use a Dashboard to Improve Crop Yields? 

The nutrients available within the soil can vary between geographic areas. Every time a farmer harvests a crop and takes the product out of the field, they are taking nutrients from the soil. Crop yields improve when farmers can access and use fertilizers with specific ratios of N, P, and K to supplement the soil’s existing nutritional profile. The Visualizing Insights on Fertilizer for African Agriculture (VIFAA) program provides an opportunity for blending plants to access critical data needed to make crop-specific or site-specific NPK blends a reality.

The government’s role is also starting to change, going from ensuring fertilizer products are available to ensuring product quality and supporting new blends. The government can enable products that maximize farmer yield by providing education on blends, supporting programs to encourage new NPK products from the private sector, and supporting soil mapping technology. As blending plant growth has exploded in Nigeria, the government needs to monitor this growth to ensure that soil health is protected and crop yield is sustained. Policy changes to support the market are vital to ensuring its sustainability. 

The VIFAA Dashboards are an important part of ensuring all stakeholders in the supply chain have access to the information they need, which ultimately ensures that farmers have the best fertilizer available in time for planting.

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Thinking of Investing in a Data Ecosystem for Sustainable Development?

September 27, 2022
Carmen Cañas, Jesus Melendez Vicente
Data Use, Explainer, IREX

Here are a Few Questions, Ideas, and Tools to Get You Started

Just like a natural ecosystem is the result of the interaction between certain organisms and the physical environment in which they live, data ecosystems are also the result of all the people (individuals), communities, and institutions interacting with each other in the way data is being produced, used, re-used, and/or shared. For international development stakeholders (everyone from national governments to international organizations, private sector, civil society as well as individuals and communities), harnessing the power of data for good has been a priority ever since the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. From the onset of the Sustainable Development Goals agenda implementation, quality access and use of data was considered essential for decision-making, accountability, and for seeking solutions to complex and multifaceted development challenges. It was the start of the so-called “data revolution” for sustainable development. 

For initiatives aiming to harness the power of data for good, it is critical to start with a well defined problem and a thorough understanding of the data ecosystem around it. It is, therefore, very important for stakeholders driving such initiatives to have the tools and resources that will help them assess data ecosystems specific to a sector where the development challenge takes place or even specific to a nation for more effective and impactful policy making or strategic planning. Investing time to assess a data ecosystem will ensure the relevance, sustainability, and potential for scale of a solution to a development challenge. At the same time, data ecosystem assessments will help to close any significant data gaps and strengthen the ecosystem, enabling quality and timely data production, facilitating collaboration between stakeholders, increasing the use of data for decision-making, improving service delivery, building responsible and ethical data practices, and/or increasing government data transparency. 

For organizations thinking about conducting a data ecosystem assessment, there is an array of initiatives, tools, and approaches from which to choose. Based on our experiences deploying our own tools and supporting a variety of stakeholders, IREX and Development Gateway: An IREX Venture (DG) would like to share a few insights and questions to help you get started. 

Three Questions to Get You Started 

The number of tools, frameworks, and initiatives to help you understand, analyze, map, and integrate data ecosystems at various levels can seem daunting. Below, we have included a select list of tools you can use for your assessment. Each methodology has a unique set of outputs, focuses on different parts of a data ecosystem, and analyzes different types of ecosystems. Before selecting a tool, ask yourself the following questions:

Q1: What is the objective?

This is the most important question to ask at the beginning of the process. The success of an ecosystem assessment depends on having a clear understanding of the reason for conducting it. This is important for assessments led both internally and externally. We see two major motivations for leading these assessments:

  • To find possible solutions to a known problem, need, or interest – In this case, the assessment should be problem-driven and will help identify specific recommendations and investments that help find a solution to the known problem. Some notable examples are assessments to help identify possible data and digital investments, operationalizing strategic plans, or designing Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) systems. A specific example illustrating this would be IREX and local actor D-Lab’s use of the Data Compass tool (as part of Data Zetu program) to help the Ministry of Health in Tanzania evaluate and sustain investments in public health care that included building capacities of rural health care facilities for more effective and systematic use of health data.
  •   To evaluate where an ecosystem stands in relation to other ecosystems – Some data ecosystem assessment tools have been designed around evaluative frameworks used to conduct multi-dimensional research on the state of a data ecosystem — typically — across several countries. A reason for using these tools would be to determine where an ecosystem fits relative to other ecosystems or an ideal state. Examples of tools that help this type of assessment are scorecards, benchmarks, or indexes, like the recently released Global Data Barometer.

Q2: At what level do you want to focus?

Data ecosystems are multilayered, and there are multiple levels at which an assessment can be led:

  • Country Level – These data ecosystem assessments are tools that provide a general landscape of a country. A country-level tool could be useful during investment or development planning. For example, a donor could use a tool that assesses the statistical capacities of a country to inform the design of a program or project that is data heavy. 
  • Sector Level – These data ecosystem tools help actors to better understand opportunities to harness data within a sector. It considers all actors involved in a sector, including the private sector, government, civil society organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and donors. For example, DG led a data and digital assessment in Guadalajara, Mexico in the open procurement sector. The objective of this sectoral assessment was to identify key areas of investments in open procurement from the perspective of multiple actors, including government contractors, civil society organizations working in the corruption sector, and government employees making purchases.
  • Organizations or Institutions Level – These data ecosystem assessments allow actors to understand the data ecosystem of a single organization or institution. For example, a social impact organization may want to understand the extent to which they are utilizing their data (i.e., data maturity level) in order to identify areas for improvement to become a data-driven and data-informed organization.
  • A Combination of Assessments at Multiple Levels – Sometimes multiple data ecosystem assessments are needed. For example, a country-level assessment can help a donor identify areas of investment, and a second assessment can allow us to drill down on a possible solution. This was the case of the Results Data Initiative Program led by DG in Malawi. First, an assessment was led to understand the data ecosystem of the agriculture sector in the country. During this assessment, we identified the need for a National Agriculture Data System as a key priority across all actors involved. During a second separate assessment, however, DG focused on the Ministry of Agriculture to design the National Agriculture Management Information System (NAMIS).

Q3: Which aspects of the ecosystem do you want to understand?

A data ecosystem consists of many different elements. Having clarity on which aspects of the ecosystem you want to assess will ensure that the final product responds to your needs. Below are some examples of aspects you could focus on during the assessment. This is an indicative list that can be used as a starting point, but you can add more or select multiple foci.

  • Available data – A key part of a data ecosystem is understanding what data exists. Additional information can be associated with available data, including data gaps; who produced the data; how it is collected; its infrastructure; how it is shared; the format in which it is collected; frequency of collection; interoperability(i.e., the ability of data systems to exchange and make use of information); data quality analysis; or the legal framework.
  • Data openness – Knowing the level of open data of a government can help governments and international organizations recognize areas for investment. The level of data openness can refer to multiple variables, including the format in which data is published; the quality and frequency of data published; and coverage or legal framework.
  • Data capacities and skills – Governments, donors, and civil society organizations need to have the capacity to produce and use available data. Depending on the assessment tool you select, you can assess statistical capacities, skills, access to training, or digital and data literacy.
  • Use and reuse of data – Leveraging data to make decisions to advance the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals is one of the key premises of the data revolution. Each assessment tool will evaluate the use of data differently. Some examples include having a positive impact, using data for decision-making, or incentives or disincentives for data use. IREX recently helped the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to better understand data ecosystems within Lesotho’s healthcare sector with a focus on the use of data to understand key processes ranging from budgeting to maternal mortality rates; recommendations also helped inform investments in data ecosystems driven by MCC’s new compact plan for Lesotho.

Select List of Tools You Can Use for Your Assessment

IREX and DG has created a curated list of tools to be used for data ecosystem assessments. 

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Announcing: Data-Driven Decision-Making Mapping in Education

September 22, 2022 Development Gateway
IREX

Development Gateway: an IREX Venture (DG) and IREX, in partnership with the Hewlett Foundation, are pleased to announce a new research program supporting data-driven decision-making in education in East and West Africa. This two-year, $300,000 project to map education data and decision ecosystems in Kenya and Senegal will focus on the variety of administrative, census, and survey data collected to implement and monitor primary and secondary education. The goal is to holistically understand the barriers to more effective data collection, sharing, interoperability, and use. By understanding the barriers, we can better design support for more robust education data ecosystems that drive better learning outcomes.

The Need for Education Data

This past June, The World Bank released its ​​State of Global Learning Poverty Report. The report shows that the COVID-19 Pandemic has significantly worsened learning outcomes and exacerbated an existing learning crisis. The report estimates that 70% of the world’s children are learning impoverished. At the same time, the report relies upon simulated models, which are less reliable than up-to-date official data. For example, the most recent UNESCO data from Kenya and Senegal was published in 2017.1 The Kenyan Ministry of Education, for example, directly cites data challenges in management, sharing, and interoperability.2 Inversely, in Senegal, there is limited research on the utility and availability of data for policy-making in education.3 Both countries exemplify the global challenge of effectively harnessing data for better outcomes in the education sector. Without education data, policymakers, education systems, and other stakeholders lack information to make informed decisions, monitor progress, and allocate resources efficiently or equally.4

“Yet for many [countries], data are currently incomplete, which makes monitoring difficult or impossible. It can also result in poorly-designed policies, leading to inefficient use of resources. Other challenges for countries faced with the new education agenda include inadequate funding for statistical activities, weak institutions, limited technical capacity, lack of adherence to international norms and standards, and insufficient coordination both at the national level and among national and international stakeholders.”5

The Data Revolution in Education

Addressing Data Gaps

There is a need for better, more accurate, more timely, and more interoperable data on education to help policymakers combat learning poverty. DG, together with education sector experts from IREX, will map the education data and decision ecosystems in Kenya and Senegal, focusing on primary and secondary education in order to more holistically understand the barriers to data sharing, interoperability, and use. By understanding the barriers to data use, we will allow for more targeted interventions for creating robust education data ecosystems for better learning outcomes. In addition to country-specific assessments, with actionable roadmap and investment recommendations, we will develop a white paper on education country data ecosystems, highlighting lessons from Kenya and Senegal, together with existing literature from around the globe.

“Partnering with the Hewlett Foundation on this exciting new program is an opportunity to support decision makers in Kenya and Senegal to understand, and subsequently remove, the barriers to gathering the data and information necessary to accurately address disparities in education. This program also represents a significant step in fulfilling a key goal of the IREX and Development Gateway partnership – to improve education systems and learning outcomes.”

 “At DG, we are eager to expand our work to the education sector, by bringing our combination of digital and data expertise, and experience partnering with governments globally. This program will give us the opportunity to go deeper than prior research in understanding the challenges governments face in building education data ecosystems that prioritize and support learning outcomes, while ensuring equitable access and quality of education opportunities across genders and geographies. We look forward to learning with and from our government partners, IREX colleagues, and the broader education data community.”

~Kristin Lord, President and CEO of IREX
Josh Powell, CEO of Development Gateway

The new program is an opportunity to kick-start our joint work in data for education. It builds on DG and IREX’s existing strategic partnership and is bolstered by IREX’s expertise in the education sector and DG’s experience with data and digital for development.

Footnotes
  1. http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/the-data-revolution-in-education-2017-en.pdf
  2. Ministry Of Education. (n.d.). National Education Sector Strategic Plan
    For The Period 2018 – 2022. Republic Of Kenya. https://assets.globalpartnership.org/s3fs-public/document/file/kenya-nessp-2018-2002.pdf?VersionId=tdCPzVW5gwJ1DODlRJsOWkwpP7BDDrKv.
  3. Ministère de l’Éducation nationale; Ministère de la Formation professionnelle et technique, de l’Apprentissage et de l’Artisanat; Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche et de l’Innovation; and Ministre de la Bonne Gouvernance et de la Protection de l’Enfance. (2018, August).
    Programme d’Amélioration de la Qualité, de l’Équité et de la Transparence-Education/Formation (PAQUET-EF) 2018-2030. Republique Du Senegal.
  4. http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/the-data-revolution-in-education-2017-en.pdf
  5. http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/the-data-revolution-in-education-2017-en.pdf
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Exploring Digital Transformation & Emerging Technology

September 20, 2022 Process & Tools Josh Powell
Explainer

In our final episode of the current series, I speak with Annie Kilroy, Senior Associate, and Fernando Ferreyra, DG’s Director of Software Development, about digital transformation and emerging technologies. The conversation centered on what has changed in the technology landscape in the past decade, our approach to digital transformation, and how to continue prioritizing users.

You can also listen to Data… for What?! on SpotifyStitcher, and Apple Podcasts.

Development Gateway: an IREX Venture (DG) has always been at the intersection between software and international development. In our new strategic plan, we highlight our evolving efforts to develop and deploy emerging technologies with an emphasis on sustainability, ethical innovation, and strong digital governance. Our experience co-creating with users, eye on ethical and sustainable technology, and our new drive to scale and innovate makes DG uniquely positioned to lead the digital development sector in the thoughtful implementation of new tools and approaches.

“The promise of digital transformation is to get more value for all of our efforts. Now, we need to be smart about how we invest there, how we look at these new technologies that are sometimes more disruptive, to understand if they actually fit”

Fernando Ferreyra Director of Software Development

What has Changed?

Since the start of our last strategy cycle, digital technologies have continued to expand exponentially. As smartphones become more accessible, the number of internet users continues to increase globally. With more users accessing the internet, governments are seeking to streamline their work and make more processes digital. In parallel, the COVID-19 Pandemic has accelerated the focus on digital transformation, as the need for e-government services, e-learning, and other modern methods for interacting with stakeholders has become a necessity. 

We have also seen over that time that some technologies have reached maturity. Cloud computing has become the industry standard and the price is no longer prohibitive. In the past, deploying technology would require the DG team to arrive at a government ministry with servers, cables, and everything needed to maintain a system to do work that can now be achieved through the Cloud in a matter of hours. The value proposition has been tremendous in terms of efficiency, and also presents opportunities to use tools like machine learning and analytics in a new way.

Our Approach: Centering the Users

One thing that will never change is a focus on the users, and understanding the context in which a tool will be deployed. Through our Custom Assessment Landscape Methodology our first step in any project has always been an assessment of the landscape in an effort to understand who will be using a system and what decisions it will facilitate. Then, co-designing and iterating with the stakeholders throughout the development process.

“We apply the CALM methodology that allows us to cast a really wide net and see things from a really detailed lens that really highlights not just the end users, but people that are affected by these systems as well.”

Annie Kilroy Senior Associate

At the same time, understanding the needs of the users requires a constant focus on responsibility and sustainability. Helping stakeholders select technology is not about the cutting edge, but rather what will work in a given context and be sustainable in the long term. This includes creating open source solutions, using technologies with strong documentation and support, prioritizing data protections and regular security updates, and planning for local ownership.

Where are We Going?

  • New and Emerging Technology – The digital development space is constantly changing, and there is a critical need for an experienced organization like DG to help the sector understand which tools are fit for purpose, and which are pure hype.
  • Bottom-Up and Top-Down Approaches – We will continue to work with organizations to marry guidance from global organizations like the UN or the WorldBank, with the bottom up approaches for what digital transformation looks like at the local level. 
  • Advisors and Implementers – In our new strategy, we see a role for ourselves as practitioners/implementers and also as advisors. Often, technology projects fail before they start because the funder does not understand the context, user needs, or, ultimately, the purpose. Playing an advisory role at the beginning of the technology process will allow us to influence digital development work at a greater scale and to have a clear avenue for informing the policy community.

Thank you so much for joining us on this exploration of our Strategic Plan. You can listen to all the episodes here. We will be back soon with a new season of Data… for What?! focused on data governance.

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August 23, 2022 Team
“Data…for What?!:” Expanding into Education, Media/Disinformation & Youth

In Episode 2 of "Data…for What?!," a podcast series from Development Gateway: an IREX Venture (DG) which explores our new strategic plan, Josh Powell met with experts from DG and IREX to discuss DG’s expansion into the education, media and disinformation, and youth sectors. The conversations explore the most pressing challenges and greatest opportunities for data and technology to positively impact these sectors and discuss how these trends are likely to play out in the years ahead. Based on these trends, the experts explain the unique fit for DG’s skills and specific opportunities for collaboration that align with the vision of DG’s partnership with IREX, which has a long and successful history working in each sector.

August 16, 2022 Team