This week: Zombie slaying in #ICT4D / Project Pulse: Focus on Afghanistan

With the start of October, it’s only fitting that we start off with a conversation about zombies…zombie tech projects that is.  Last week the OpenGov Hub hosted a discussion about the prevalence of investing in ICT projects, tools and apps that are redundant or don’t solve an actual problem.

The panelists aren’t the only ones thinking along these lines. Ken Banks suggested a Donors Charter to avoid zombie tech and provided a checklist of preliminary questions before pursuing an ICT solution such as: Does anything else exist that might solve the problem?

Also consider the fact that 60% of the world still doesn’t have internet access. A recent study looks at why so many still don’t have access and why, even though it will continue to grow, billions will still not have access in 2017. This means your tech may be dead from the start if your expected user base isn’t even aware of its existence.

TechChange makes another key point when using ICT for peacebuilding. Tech projects can often come with a risk in conflict stricken countries. Clear steps should be taken to review the risks and decide how beneficial the project will be to the citizens in light of the possible risks. As noted in the article, “technology is only 10% of the equation while the rest is about the humans using that technology.” So we better take care of them if they’re going to benefit from our apps, platforms, and sites.

But let’s not give ICT4D too bad a rap, there are projects that work, and good that is done, we just want to be able to focus on those more, and make sure more projects are taking off with a solid base and a good projector for success. So let’s aim for less Zombies and more living tools!


Second Project in Focus: NSP

Today we are featuring the second Project in Focus of the Project Pulse series.  This new citizen feedback initiative on allows anyone to weigh in on how development projects are performing and add insights to one of the world’s largest knowledge-sharing sources of data on development resource flows.  Take a look at the second Project in Focus: the National Solidarity Program (NSP).  This development initiative in Afghanistan was created in 2003 by the Afghanistan Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development with the goal of improving communities’ capacity to "identify, plan, manage and monitor their own development projects.”  NSP funds projects such as irrigation, power, water supply, and roads throughout the country.

Weekly updates are written by Taryn Davis of Development Gateway; email her your tips for next week's update to get a shout-out in the post. Project Pulse profiles are written by Katie Paulson-Smith, Special Assistant to AidData's Co-Executive Director and based at the College of William & Mary.

Tags: This WeekICTDevelopmentusersproject pulseprofileAfghanistanzombietechnology