IICDAnnual Report 2010
Innovation plays a central role in IICD’s work. Introducing new information andcommunication technologies (ICT) often triggers transformations in people, processesand organisations. These changes create new opportunities, bringing new ways for peopleto inuence their own development and that of others. ICT can then rightfully be called atool for social innovation. It is this type of innovation that IICD is after: lasting,development-enhancing social change activated by the use of ICT.
When I talk about IICD and its goal of using ICT to support development processes, IICD’s prime interestis often misunderstood as bringing ICT to developing countries for the sake of technical modernisationonly. For IICD though, introducing new technologies is not an end goal; it is merely the beginning of something new.IICD initiates processes of social innovation. In a development context, ‘social innovation’ can best bedescribed as nding novel solutions to social problems. By that I mean seeking solutions that areeffective, efcient and sustainable, or just better. The added value of social innovation is that it accruesto society as a whole rather than just to private individuals.IICD continues to be part of many pioneering efforts to address social problems in developing countries.It works with professionals, such as healthcare providers, teachers and farmers, helping them to forge newways of doing things. ICT can often point the way to new opportunities for workers and their organisationsto raise their effectiveness and productivity. IICD programmes have enabled farmers, for example, toreduce their dependence on intermediaries for price and market information. With new lines of communication on trade opportunities and prices, farmers are now better positioned to get a fair pricefor their products and thus to earn a better living. IICD has also helped rural youth to improve their careerperspectives through ICT training. With their newly acquired skills, young people even become able to
create their own jobs, such as setting up a computer maintenance business, thus also creating employment
for others. IICD’s application of ICT in the health sector has helped doctors in rural hospitals to makebetter diagnoses and prescribe treatments for more complex medical problems for which patientspreviously were sent to larger hospitals at great distance. Thanks to the Internet, rural health workers arenow able to connect and exchange information with peers about patients. They feel supported andcontinue to learn from consulting other medical specialists.Initiating processes of social innovation has clearly paid off for many people in the developing world.To increase the benets, IICD and the Connect4Change consortium that it leads will continue to work on
health, education and economic development (with focus on (agricultural) livelihoods andentrepreneurship).
A year of transition
In 2010, IICD laid the strategic foundation for its activities in the 2011–2015 period and continued toshape the Connect4Change consortium. In addition to IICD, this consortium includes four prominentDutch non-governmental organisations (NGOs): Akvo, Cordaid, Edukans and ICCO. Text to Change –an organisation that uses mobile telephony applications to improve healthcare in developing countries –is a preferred partner of the consortium.Early in the year the Connect4Change consortium applied to the Dutch government for funding for ICT-related programmes in education, health and economic development. After passing the rst selectionround, IICD submitted the nal programme proposal in June on behalf of the consortium. Though it wouldnot be known until November whether the funding would be granted, IICD nonetheless began preparatorywork to ensure that it would be ready to take the next steps. This included an organisational restructuringand honing in on the tasks and competencies needed. All staff members contributed, and by the end of 2010 the organisation was ready to take up the work that the new strategic plan period would bring. TheBoard of Trustees and the International Advisory Board contributed to this plan and improved governanceto further raise accountability and transparency.Preparing for the new planning period included making choices. IICD decided to stop its already limitedactivities in the governance sector to concentrate on sectors in which it has the strongest track record.IICD also rounded off activities in Ecuador.