Session II: ICT4D – Better Business

Spring 2015

Monday, March 16, 2015 to Friday, March 27, 2015

How can technology and new financial models help NGOs to co-invest in smarter solutions?

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How can technology and new financial models help NGOs to co-invest in smarter solutions? [Recording of main section of the live webcast with CRS experts is here (39 min). Link to opening of webcast is here (4 min).]


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Course materials

Module Materials

Learning Objectives

Learn about ICT-related business and finance innovations in international development

Learn about guiding principles related to ICT and evaluate how ICT innovations are benefiting vulnerable populations

Better understand our role as American citizens and consumers in solidarity with the world’s most vulnerable

Primary Resources

Discussion Guide


1) Understanding the revolutionary role of ICT in development today

a. What exactly is ICT4D? (Video, 5:23), by CRS . CRS uses technology to improve health services, business planning and market analysis, financial services, monitoring and evaluation, distance learning, emergency response/preparedness and water and sanitation.

b. Mobile Phone Usage Explodes in Africa Spurring Innovation (video, 9:00), by PBS Newshour, focused on use of mobile phones in Nairobi, Kenya. “Mobile phone usage is exploding here [in Kenya], everywhere in sub-Saharan Africa… 18 percent every year.  The population in Kenya is 43 million — roughly 30 million have cellphones.”

2) ICT4D and New Business Models

a. Case study - Agriculture and Livelihoods: Using Digital to Support Business Applications (video, 31:00), by Shaun Ferris. Ferris discusses how information technology is enhancing business services (e.g., linking farmers to markets) and transforming small-holder farming.

b. Case Study - M-PESA and the explosive growth of mobile money services: How finance for the poor can solve development challenges

i. Digital Finance Plus, by CGAP (video, 3:54). Digital Finance Plus is the use of mobile money and branchless banking to make basic, essential services and utilities - in energy, health, education, and water, for example - more accessible to people at the base of the economic pyramid. Here finance is not an end itself but a means to help solve significant development challenges in order to improve the lives of the poor.

ii. “Cashing In: Why Mobile Banking is Good for People and Profit,” The Guardian describes creative use of digital finance, M-PESA and Bridge International

c. An introduction to new business models in ICT (highlighting CRS Farmbook and Mpesa mobile money management) 

3) Ethical Considerations and the Future of International Development

a. Principles for Digital Development, by the Greentree Consensus

b. CRS' Mariana Hensley outlines a list of things to "know before you go" when implementing an ICT4D solution in this February 2015 blog post. 

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