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Community Contribution

USAID Embarks on Standard Setting in ICT4D

Sep 29, 2014

At the M&E Tech Conference held in Washington, DC September 25-26, sponsored by The Rockefeller Foundation, GSMA, and FHI 360, USAID Mobile Data Lead Merrick Shaefer highlighted the Agency’s efforts to move toward creating standards for how information and communications technologies (ICT) should be integrated into USAID’s programming. Shaefer is in charge of drafting those standards and solicited feedback from conference participants on what the Agency could do to help organizations adopt ICTs. 

The standards in progress are based on 9 Principles of Digital Development, also known as the Greentree Consensus. The current principles were born out of the efforts of numerous organizations, including The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID, UNICEF, The World Bank, SIDA, Omidiyar Foundation, The State Department, UNHCR, WFP, UNFPA, UNDP, Global Pulse, UNWomen, and OCHA. According to the ICT4D Principles website, “These principles seek to serve as a set of living guidelines that are meant to inform, but not dictate, the design of technology-enabled development programs.” 

The 9 Principles of Digital Development are:

  1. Design with the user 
  2. Understand the ecosystem 
  3. Design for scale 
  4. Build for sustainability 
  5. Be data driven 
  6. Use open source and open standards 
  7. Reuse and improve 
  8. Address privacy and security 
  9. Be collaborative

With these principles in place, USAID is engaging with the larger community to explore the following questions:

  1. What are some of your institutional challenges that make it difficult to adopt these principles? 
  2. What are some of the systemic challenges (e.g., capacity and procurement incentives) that make this hard? 
  3. Are you and your organizations willing to be active participants in this year-long conversation?

To share your input, visit the consortium’s website.