Professional development course

Digital and Technology for International Development

Course details

From 13 July 2020 until 17 July 2020
Institute of Development Studies

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Gain the knowledge and skills to cut through the hype of digital development. Choose the right technologies and approaches to achieve positive social change.

In a rapidly changing technological environment, today’s international development professionals need a clear understanding of the role of digital tools and platforms to help them make informed choices to improve economic, environmental and social outcomes.

The course will provide the latest evidence and insight about what works, and why in digital development.

Course aim

To equip you with the conceptual and diagnostic tools needed to cut through the hype of digital development, access the latest evidence, and help communities and agencies identify pro-equity innovations that enhance inclusion, voice and participation.

Who should attend?

Development professionals in NGOS, governments, donor organisations, and independent consultants.

How you’ll learn

The course is tailored to your experience and needs. Prior to the course, you’ll be asked to complete a short survey detailing specific development challenges that you are dealing with in your work. During the course you and your facilitators will explore this challenge and identify suitable approaches to address it.

The course comprises the following sessions:

Day 1: Mapping the landscape of Digital development: where did we come from and where are we now?

Landscape and sector mapping of the field of ICT for development (ICT4D); key funders, agencies and other stakeholders. Mapping sectoral practice looking at the impact of digital on services, identity, mobile money and other ‘hot issues’ of concern to governments and development practitioners. Providing a critical overview of conceptual approaches to assessing and analysing digital development. This will provide a conceptual framework to understand digital technologies are altering and are altered by the ways in which politics, economy, state, private sector and civil society interact to create a development trajectory.

Day 2: Gender and technology

Exploring how intersectional power relations are reflected and reproduced in and through digital technologies in ways that affect women’s development. We do this in order to critically assess the contribution that use of digital technologies might play in addressing gender injustice in the context of international development.

Day 3: Citizenship technologies

Examining the positive and negative impacts of digital technologies on governance and citizenship. Topics include how digital technologies can contribute to democracy and citizenship, technology for transparency and accountability, and digital threats to democracy and freedom.

Day 4: Digital financial services

To what extent do mobile money and digital financial services contribute to financial inclusion and sustainable development? We will use practical examples from Asia and Africa and ask what the research evidence tells us and what recommendations arise for future fintech for development.

Day 5: Pro equity innovations: frontier technologies

The cutting edge of digital development; insights into current and emerging technologies and the conceptual tools to understand the threats and opportunities of these new tools. Exploring how we might we use these new technologies in ways that are adaptive, participatory and inclusive.

Learning outcomes

After completing the course, you’ll have:

  • An overview of applications of ICT4D
  • An overview of key stakeholders in the Digital Development landscape
  • Insights into global and regional data on access to and use of technologies.
  • Up to date insights on the latest technological developments including big data and frontier technologies.

To be able to demonstrate a critical understanding of:

  • Digital Landscapes: key actors, organisations and issues in digital development
  • Conceptual and analytical tools used to analyse digital development issues
  • Deep Dives: analysing use of digital technologies in key sectors of gender and citizenship
  • Identifying and assessing sources of data and evidence in digital development
  • Future Issues: opportunities and risks of ‘Frontier Technologies’

Course conveners

The course will be convened by the IDS Digital and Technology Cluster Co-Leads, Dr Becky Faith and Dr Tony Roberts.

Dr. Becky Faith is a Research Fellow and Co-Leader of the Digital and Technology cluster. Becky’s professional experience and research interests encompass mobile communication studies, human computer interaction and technology for social change. Becky has fifteen years’ strategic and programme experience working in ICT4D and technology for human rights organisations. She started her career in digital start-ups, working on the UK’s first e-commerce platforms in the 1990s. Becky’s PhD focused on the use of mobile phones by young women and she is an international expert in research and strategy on the use of mobile phones in marginalised communities. Her recent work at IDS includes research for the UK Department for International Development on online gender-based violence and for the Malala Fund on the 4th Industrial revolution.

Dr. Tony Roberts is a Research Fellow in the Digital and Technology cluster at the Institute of Development Studies. He has been working at the intersection of digital technologies, international development and social justice since 1988 as a volunteer, lecturer, practitioner, trustee and researcher. After lecturing in New Technology and Education at the University of East London, Tony founded and directed two international development agencies. He led Coda International and then Computer Aid International for a decade each. Tony then consolidated almost 25 years of field experience and learning about digital development in doctoral research with women using participatory video in Zambia. He joined IDS after a period as a Research Fellow in the Gender Technology Lab of the United Nations University, Computing and Society research institute in Macau (UNU-CS). His research has been published in the form of peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, conference papers and book reviews.

Guest speakers from NGOs and academia will contribute specialist expertise and perspectives.

Entry requirements

Prior to the course, you’ll be expected to complete a short survey to enable us to tailor the course to your needs.

The course is taught in English. To derive the maximum benefit from the course, you should be proficient in English and able to take an active part in discussions. Your English needs to be of an intermediate standard or higher. Ideally you will have an International English Language Test System (IELTS) score of 6.5 or above, or a Common European Framework for Languages (CEFR) score of B2 or above.

Course Fees

Course fees are £1,550.

Fees include lunches and refreshments, one evening group dinner, and course materials. It does not include accommodation, insurance or travel costs.

Once you have received confirmation that your application has been approved, the fee must be paid in full on receipt of invoice.

IDS Bursary

IDS alumni bursary We are pleased offer one bursary for IDS alumni. This single award, funded by IDS, is in the form of a 20 per cent course fee discount. It is subject to terms and conditions, and will be offered to one applicant on a first-come first-served basis. Please indicate on your application form that you wish to be considered for this bursary.

How to apply

Before applying please read our short course Terms and Conditions (pdf) and Code_of_Conduct (pdf).

The application procedure is a three-stage process:

Stage 1: Apply by completing the online application form. Deadline for applications is 1 June 2020. The course code is DI/19012.

Stage 2: You will be notified within one month as to whether your application has been approved or not. Successful applicants will receive the Stage 2 application form and an invoice for the course fee. Places on the course are not guaranteed until fees have been received.

Stage 3: Once fees have been received, you will be sent confirmation of your place on the course and a letter to support your visa application (if required).

You are responsible for organising your own travel and visas (where needed). Please note that UK visa applications can take months to process. Information about local accommodation will be provided by the course coordinator once your fees have been processed. A limited number of study bedrooms at IDS are available for rent on a first come first served basis.

Coronavirus update: We continue to monitor the Covid-19 situation and have introduced a range of measures that will limit social interaction and potential transmission. Although applications for our short courses remain open we advise participants who incur any travel costs (e.g. flights, accommodation, visas etc) to ensure they have adequate travel insurance, as stated in our short course terms and conditions.  If your course is cancelled, we will refund your course fees in full.

Teaching staff

Image of Becky Faith
Becky Faith

Research Fellow

Image of Tony Roberts
Tony Roberts

Research Fellow


About this professional development course