Information and communication technologies

Dramatic changes brought about by information and communication technologies (ICTs) have created new economic and social opportunities the world over. Access to and the strategic use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) have been shown to have the potential to help bring about economic development, poverty reduction, and democratisation.

Children practice their computer skills on new robust laptops. Rwanda is one of the first African countries to be part of the One Laptop per Child.
Credit: Panos / Sven Torfinn

IDS's work in this area seeks to understand how these new technologies can be harnessed to improve the lives of the poorest and most marginalised communities. We also look into how ICTs can best support the application of research evidence in development policy and practice.

Understanding information ecosystems - our research has looked at understanding how policy actors find, interpret and engage with information and ICTs. We apply the evidence gained from this work to inform our own approaches to research communication and the mobilising of research knowledge so that it can be applied to development policy and practice.

Knowledge mobilisation using ICTs - IDS works with partners to develop knowledge mobilisation strategies, and knowledge mobilisation services to help people understand, access and apply research evidence. Developing and innovating ICTs, such as open APIs, is core to this area of our work.

African Universities’ Research Approaches (AURA) Capacity Development Programme

The African Universities’ Research Approaches programme (AURA) seeks to strengthen research and teaching practices in Sub-Saharan Africa. More details

mSTAR Real Time Data for Adaptive Programming Conceptual Framework

The project will focus on the growing importance of real-time data and in particular how digital tools can be used to generate information in support of more adaptive, contextually relevant, decision-making and programme management and implementation More details

Not Just Talk: Practice, Power, Knowledge and Information and Communication Technologies (TPPI)

Not Just Talk: Practice, Power, Knowledge and Information and Communication Technologies is a new IDS research initiative that seeks to critically examine the opportunities and challenges that the new generation of ICT innovations pose for poor and vulnerable groups. More details

Open Application Programming Interface (API)

The IDS Knowledge Services Open API (Application Programming Interface) makes the datasets held across our Knowledge Services accessible programmatically to other organisations and individuals to enable others to repurpose and contextualise this knowledge. More details

View all Research Theme's publications

Use this search to display this theme's publications and filter by journal, author, country and much more.


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Wp490_FrontCover

Accountability in Health Systems and the Potential of mHealth

IDS Working Paper 490 (2017)

The rapid spread of information and communication technologies (ICTs) (and of mobile phones in particular) across low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) has generated considerable excitement in development circles regarding their potential to revolutionise service delivery in health systems. More details

This is the front cover of MAVC Research Report ICT-facilitated accountability and engagement in health systems: a review of Making All Voices Count mHealth for accountability projects.

ICT-Facilitated Accountability and Engagement in Health Systems: a Review of Making All Voices Count mHealth for Accountability Projects

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) and mHealth innovations hold great potential to improve health systems and health outcomes while at the same time enhancing citizen engagement and accountability. Yet there has been little assessment of the impact of mHealth innovations on the ground. More details

This is the front cover of MAVC Research Report Feasibility and acceptability of a mobile phone intervention to improve post-rape service delivery in South Africa.

Feasibility and acceptability of a mobile phone intervention to improve post-rape service delivery in South Africa

MAVC Research Report (2017)

Mobile health (mHealth) interventions – in which mobile phones are used to advance positive health outcomes – have only recently been applied to addressing broader questions of health governance. More details

This is the front cover of MAVC ractice Paper It Matters Who Produces Data: Reflections on two citizen generated data initiatives.

It Matters Who Produces Data: Reflections on Two Citizen-Generated Data Initiatives

Development Initiatives (DI) and Development Research and Training (DRT) received a Making All Voices Count practitioner research and learning grant to examine the purpose, use and users of citizen-generated data in two case studies. One case study examined how citizen-generated data on the quality of schools and schooling was channelled to the Ministry of Education in Kenya. The other looked at the work of community resource trackers in five communities in Uganda and their role in providing unsolicited feedback to local government actors and other development partners. More details

This is the front cover to IDS Rapid Response Briefing 17, 'Blockchain for Development – Hope or Hype?'

Blockchain for Development – Hope or Hype?

IDS Rapid Response Briefing 17 (2017)

Blockchain technology has been heralded by many as the next big thing. The potential use of blockchains has attracted widespread attention from the media, the IMF, the UN, and the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Giving Voice to Clients of Post-Rape Services: Building and Piloting a Feedback Mechanism in Tshwane

This practice paper reflects on the development of an appropriate and confidential feedback mechanism for users of post-rape services at Thuthuzela Care Centres / Rape Crisis Centres in Tshwane, South Africa. More details

ER221_FrontCover

The Contribution of Digital Technologies to Service Delivery: An Evidence Review

IDS Evidence Report 221 (2017)

The explosion in digital connectivity, globalisation and the rapid growth in digital technologies over the last two decades has revolutionised the way that businesses perform and compete globally. More details

IDS Working Paper 483 Front Cover

Challenges in Reinvigorating and Upgrading DSpace-based Institutional Repositories: A University of Zambia (UNZA) Library Case Study

IDS Working Paper 483 (2017)

The University of Zambia established an institutional repository (IR) in order to archive and make available to the research community the university’s intellectual output using DSpace. This paper describes the rationale behind the implementation of an IR, the equipment and software used to digitise the materials. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Shifting the Spotlight: Understanding Crowdsourcing Intermediaries in Transparency and Accountability Initiatives

This report highlights the ideas and practices that underlie the work of crowdsourcing intermediaries: actors who collect and analyse citizen feedback using digital platforms, and use it to support positive change. Most studies of crowdsourcing initiatives in the transparency and accountability field are primarily concerned with representation (whose voice is being heard?) and impact (what kind of change is being supported?). More details

IDS publications on international development research

Building an Ecosystem Around Data: Using Interactive Radio for Accountability to Farmers in Tanzania

This practice paper discusses research by Farm Radio International to assess the effectiveness of one of its projects, the Listening Post, and to examine its potential as a tool for the adaptive management of agricultural programmes. The Listening Post combines specialised interactive radio broadcasts with in interactive voice response tool created for gathering and analysing feedback and questions from audience members. More details

ER213_FrontCover

Gauging Demand for Evidence and Accountability in Impact Investing by using Twitter Social Network Analysis: A Methodology

IDS Evidence Report 213 (2016)

This report explains the methodology used to analyse the demand for evidence and accountability within the impact investment market. Social network analysis, qualitative interviews and ego network analysis were used to explore actors within this market (or system), drawing on data from Twitter to consider connections, influence and conversations about social impact. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Lessons from Yowzit’s Practitioner Research and Learning Process

Making All Voices Count’s Research, Evidence and Learning component provides grants and mentoring support for real-time research, applied by tech for transparency and accountability practitioners, for project learning and improved practice. Practice papers document these grantees’ learning processes. More details

Wp481_FrontCover

Dial ‘N’ for Nutrition? A Landscape Analysis of What We Know About m-Nutrition, m-Agriculture and m-Development

IDS Working Paper 481 (2016)

Child undernutrition is one of the most devastating realities in many parts of the world. Globally in 2015, 159 million children below the age of five years were too short for their age (stunted) and 50 million were too thin for their height (wasted). More details

Front cover for 'Ten Frontier Technologies for International Development'

Ten Frontier Technologies for International Development

As new technologies and digital business models reshape economies and disrupt incumbencies, interest has surged in the potential of novel frontier technologies to also contribute to positive changes in international development and humanitarian contexts. More details

ER207_FrontCover

The Impact of Digital Technology on Economic Growth and Productivity, and its Implications for Employment and Equality: An Evidence Review

IDS Evidence Report 207 (2016)

As digital technology has begun to ‘eat the world’ it has also influenced the way that humans interact and transact with each other. Thus, it has inevitably had an effect on global, regional, national and local economies. More details

ER209_FrontCover

The Impact of Digital Technology on Environmental Sustainability and Resilience: An Evidence Review

IDS Evidence Report 209 (2016)

Striving for ‘environmental sustainability and resilience’ (ESR) is postulated as a crucial, universal and global challenge of the twenty-first century. Today, this challenge has to be addressed in a world that is dynamic in its societal, economic and political constituents, heightened by increased interconnectedness resulting from globalisation. More details

ER208_FrontCover

The Contribution of Digital Technology to Citizenship, Accountability and Rights: An Evidence Review

IDS Evidence Report 208 (2016)

The use of digital technologies has risen dramatically in the past century, building excitement among governments and technology experts about applying technology to improve accountability, transparency and the effectiveness of authorities. More details

PB126_FrontCover

Towards Greater Effectiveness and Accountability in Impact Investing

IDS Policy Briefing 126 (2016)

Impact investing – investing for social and environmental returns alongside financial returns – is a growing phenomenon in financial markets. However, concerns exist regarding the demand for robust impact evidence and accountability for impact claims when compared to a public sector aid model. More details

ER201_FrontCover

The Potential of M-health for Improved Data Use: Workshop Report

IDS Evidence Report 201 (2016)

The Institute of Development Studies (IDS), in partnership with World Vision Indonesia, are exploring whether a recently implemented nutrition surveillance intervention, known as M-health, is being used to improve community-based data collection on nutrition. More details

ER200_FrontCover

Mixed-Method Impact Evaluation of a Mobile Phone Application for Nutrition Monitoring in Indonesia

IDS Evidence Report 200 (2016)

Child malnutrition (includes both under- and overweight) remains a challenge. Routine growth monitoring is a common practice. More details

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