As part of our strategy to strengthen local initiatives and promote locally owned ICT-enabled development, IICD supported the creation and operation of National ICT for Development (ICT4D) Networks. These networks bring IICD partners together with other parties interested in the application of ICT to support development in national communities of interest. Although each network is unique, they have common elements and goals, including sharing knowledge, raising awareness on and advocating for locally appropriate uses of ICT to support socio-economic development.
Activities undertaken by the networks include arranging knowledge sharing meetings, producing newsletters on ICT4D, stimulating local research and content development, organising seminars and training events, and generating and sharing lessons learned. The networks also maintain their own ICT4D website and facilitate online discussion groups as an extension to their face-to-face activities.
Over time, the larger national networks often formed sub-communities focussed on specific themes of specific interest to the national context or community membership. Examples include sub communities on Women and Gender in ICT4D, or sector specific groups such as ICT-for-Education, ICT-for-Health or more technically-oriented groups led by a smaller group of organisations or individuals who championed the issue and drove knowledge sharing or lobby activities around it.
Working in partnership with the local ICT4D Networks and the various sub-networks to identify, collect and disseminate local good practices and lessons learned formed a key pillar in IICD’s organisational structure and our role as a knowledge broker on locally relevant ICT4D.
The National ICT4D networking activities had two overall objectives:
- Sharing country-specific information, knowledge, methodologies and lessons learned on ICT-enabled development;
- Raising awareness and influencing policy and development processes – by communicating relevant content to local public, private and civil society policy makers and their advisors.
IICD has supported the establishment of national ICT4D networks in nine countries (Jamaica, Ecuador, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Mali, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia) with governing bodies elected by their membership and constitutions governing their operations. From 2011-2015, IICD expanded its programmes to include Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi and Peru under the Connect-for-Change programme. Networking and knowledge sharing activities in these programmes were embedded in the particular programmes and/or conducted with existing ICT-related network organisations. Therefore, IICD did not support the establishment of individual national ICT4D networks, but rather supported networking and sharing among its partners, both face-to-face and online.
A number of national ICT4D networks have evolved into national reference points for online discussions and expertise on ICT4D, and continue to operate independently from IICD.
|Country||Name||Website||Status End 2015|
|Bolivia||Red TIC Bolivia||www.ticbolivia.net||active|
|Burkina Faso||Burkina NTIC||www.burkina-ntic.net||active|
|Tanzania||SWOPnet||no longer active|
|Zambia||eBrain Forum||no longer active|
In addition to national networking on ICT4D, IICD undertook international knowledge sharing activities based on needs identified in its focal countries and in its partner community. As IICD’s country programmes matured, the need to share experiences across countries grew. Next to requests from local partners, other parties increasingly turned to IICD for assistance and advice on ICT4D. With the aim of facilitating collaboration and exchange among international and national partners, IICD brought its partners together to discuss successes, challenges and lessons learned, and to learn from each other via live events, online fora and publications. These cross-country networking activities and tools provided online and face-to-face spaces for people with a shared interest in a sectoral application of ICTs to meet, share relevant resources and lessons learned, and tell their own ICT4D stories. Through its cross-country networking and information sharing, IICD facilitated the exchange of locally produced content, enabled local organisations to tap into international sources of expertise; and integrated the knowledge generated by IICD and its local partners into global knowledge and policy making networks.