What the SDGs mean for tech and transparency

pope shakiraAs far as odd couples go, the Pope and Shakira is one of my new favourites. You wouldn’t necessarily think of putting them on the same stage, but that’s just what the UN did when they adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) last week. The SDGs are the successors to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and largely dictate the policy priorities of official aid agencies, governments and, by extension, civil society groups and NGOs. Continue reading

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Human rights, tech and a bit of unnecessary Shakespeare

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

Writing in 1609, Shakespeare’s description of autumn has as much resonance now as it did more than 400 years ago. Continue reading

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What Makes a Good Tech Innovation Hub? We ask the experts.

The Indigo Trust was lucky enough to have the chance to talk to management teams from technology innovation hubs across Africa to better understand how they generate income and how they build and support their communities so that they can stimulate innovation, build viable products and tackle social challenges. We also explored how hubs are engaging with civil society and business to maximise their impact and gathered advice for funders. Thanks so much to all of you who contributed.  It really helped us better understand the realities on the ground.

You can read this Huffington Post article which captures the key messages here and find out more in the report below.

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Is there still a role for SMS?

A recent article on ICTWorks asked whether smartphones were making SMS development projects obsolete. It’s an interesting question and one that begs a whole host of related issues: is radio really necessary when we have TV, is TV really necessary when we have online streaming, do we need newspapers in an age of digital news? The ICTWorks article was written specifically in the context of Papua New Guinea, but the question can be asked of almost any country and almost any technology (well, except maybe Betamax, the Mini Disc and the teleprinter). Actually, scrap that bit about the teleprinter – they’re still used widely in the aviation industry and, in an adapted format, for the hearing impaired. Continue reading

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Youth Engagement and Why I’m Optimistic About Development in Nigeria

The following article was kindly prepared by Bolutife Fakoya, a communications specialist at CODE pursuing a double major in Anthropology and Biology at Swarthmore College in the US and has just concluded an internship experience with CODE. He is passionate about social development, research methods, youth engagement, and good music.

BolutifeOver cups of coffee and take out dinners, I’ve heard time and time again about how Nigeria is clearly resource deficient and how, as a third-world country, corruption, bad governance, and the fact that Nigeria is still very young are the reasons we [Nigerians] won’t ever be able to compete in an increasingly globalized playing field, and address the social development and physical infrastructure issues that we face. I don’t think that’s true. The way I see things, Nigeria, as the largest and most productive economy in Africa, and definitely not the most corrupt institution in the world, doesn’t necessarily face the same issues that other agencies may encounter when embarking on development projects. I think the main issue behind the stagnation of certain aspects of the Nigerian growth process is  the accurate identification of the resources that Nigeria is truly blessed with, and I believe that’s where engaging with true authenticity comes into play. Continue reading

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Indigo’s UK Work

Indigo’s main mission is to support organisations in sub-Saharan Africa using mobile and web technologies for specific charitable aims. But we also fund some very limited work in the UK through our London stream and the Philanthropy stream. Allow me to say at this point, though, that we do not accept any unsolicited proposals in either of these areas and instead the trustees prefer to proactively seek out projects and organisations that they wish to fund. In the interests of transparency, however, we do publish details of this work both here on this site and through our 360 Giving data. There are some interesting projects and organisations there, so you may want to take a look.

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Continuing our support of mySociety

For a number of years now, Indigo has been providing support to mySociety, the UK-based social enterprise specialising in the use of civic technologies. Back when we started supporting them, the vast majority of their work was focused on Britain. While mySociety continues to innovate and support UK sites, in recent years they have expanded their work to collaborate with a diffuse network of organisations across the world. Continue reading

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