Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs): An enabling tool for international cooperation

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are transforming the way governments, business and individuals learn, work and communicate with each other. If they are employed strategically within development programmes to promote access and sharing of relevant knowledge as well as fostering participation of the poor and marginalised in decision- making processes that affect their lives, ICTs help to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

SDC focus

The focus of SDC from 2001 to 2008 was to support international mainstreaming efforts of ICTs in development processes, e.g. through supporting a series of targeted publications, thematic roundtables and particularly through strengthening to the development perspective and the multi-stakeholder process in the World Summit of the Information Society (WSIS). In addition to a direct support to the WSIS process and the promotion of the active participation of Civil Society Organisations from the South and the East therein, SDC has directly participated in and supported a whole range of organisations and networks active in the area of ICT4D (see below).

Support for most of these organisations was phased out between 2008 and 2010. The Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM) is responsible for Switzerland’s commitments in this area, in collaboration with the ECOSOC Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) and the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). The SDC is currently focusing on the integration of ICTs in its own projects and programmes (as a strategic instrument).

Background

ICTs encompass a full range of increasingly converging technologies, including traditional and emerging devices such as interactive community radios, television, mobile phones, computer and network hardware and software, the Internet, satellite systems, and podcasting. The effective use of Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) is not just a question of infrastructure and software. It also requires an appropriate institutional and regulatory framework and the development of human capacity and relevant content. Holistic and contextualised implementation of ICTs is complex as it depends considerably on the sector or theme in which they are employed as well as the overall socio-economic context (access and affordability of infrastructure, human capacity, cultural habits). Thus ICTs should not be seen as a panacea for all development problems but rather an important tool to be applied as part of a broader strategy for sustainable development.

ICTs can be employed fulfilling three partly overlapping functions:

  • Access: Using ICTs to facilitate access to and sharing of timely and relevant information and knowledge.
  • Voice and Communication: Using ICTs to strengthen the voice of poor, excluded and disadvantaged people in decision-making and self-expression of their culture.
  • Networking: Using ICTs for networking and human communication while fostering multi-stakeholder partnerships to achieve effects on a larger scale (up-scaling).

The transformative potential of ICTs as a tool can be particularly harnessed to

  • increase efficiency: reaching more people while reducing transaction costs.
  • increase effectiveness: in terms of process, ownership, participation, networking and improvement of governance and better delivery of basic services such as education agricultural extension, microfinance and health.
  • improve innovation and productivity: for example for micro, small and medium enterprises through better access to information, credit, markets and procurement using ICT tools in management, marketing and distribution channels.

Links

Documents

Connecting people for a better world
Are information and communication technologies (ICT) such as computers, TV or mobile phones effective instruments to empower people, reduce poverty and improve lives? This book offers new answers to these questions.
Publication ICT4D – Connecting people for a better world (PDF, 2.1 MB)

Up-scaling pro-poor ICT-policies and practices
a review of experience with emphasis on low income countries in Asia and Africa
[en] (PDF, 1.9 MB, English)

Building Bridges across Time and Space – Experience and Success of a Telemedicine Pilot Project in Mongolia
Asia Brief - May 2013
[en] (PDF, Number of pages 4, 413.9 kB, English)

Information and Communication Technologies and large-scale poverty reduction - SDC/Panos 2005
Lessons from Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Edited by Kitty Warnock and Ravi Wickremasinghe in cooperation with John McGill and Gerolf Weigel. Published by Panos London.
[en] (PDF, 799.0 kB, English)

ICTs and Education – Public-Private Partnership to connect Schools to the Net
A National Model in Switzerland - Summary of the Final Report
[en] (PDF, Number of pages 11, 1.7 MB, English)

Deepening Participation and Improving Aid Effectiveness through Media and ICTs
A Practical Manual Translating Lessons Learned into Daily Practice – SDC Working Paper
[en] (PDF, Number of pages 25, 632.2 kB, English)

Un seul monde
No 4/03 - Société de l'information
[fr] (PDF, 1.5 MB, French)

Chennai Statement - on Up-scaling Pro-Poor ICT Policies
[en] (PDF, Number of pages 6, 143.3 kB, English)

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for Poverty Reduction?
Discussion Paper - World Summit on Information Society WSIS 2003
[en] (PDF, Number of pages 71, 759.0 kB, English)

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and Poverty Reduction
in Sub Saharan Africa - A learning Study (Synthesis)
[en] (PDF, 454.3 kB, English)

Current projects

Object 1 – 12 of 933

Housing solutions for displaced persons

Apartment building in Serbia

01.03.2019 - 31.12.2022

As a consequence of the war in the 1990s, over three million people were displaced both within and beyond the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia. Twenty-five years after the Dayton Accords, the Western Balkans are still host to almost half a million vulnerable persons displaced by conflict in the former Yugoslavia. The Regional Housing Programme (RHP) aims to provide durable housing solutions for refugees and internally displaced persons in need.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Western Balkans
Migration
Forced displacement (refugees, IDP, human trafficking)

01.03.2019 - 31.12.2022


CHF 1'555'000



Improving farm productivity in Georgia through dual vocational education and training

Three people in a greenhouse.

01.09.2018 - 31.08.2022

Agriculture is Georgia's most important sector. However, farming remains uncompetitive as farmers' skills are out of step with the job market and technological developments. Switzerland is continuing to support vocational education and training to improve productivity, farm income and the employment situation for students of agriculture.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Georgia
Vocational training
Agriculture & food security
Employment & economic development
Vocational training
Agricultural services & market
Rural development

01.09.2018 - 31.08.2022


CHF 7'303'140



Mozambique: Less illness thanks to better water supplies and sanitation

A villager in Niassa Province in northern Mozambique works a new handpump. She is surrounded by a group of people.

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2021

Many cases of illness in the poor region of northern Mozambique are caused by the poor condition of water supplies and sanitation.  The SDC is assisting the efforts of the local people and responsible authorities to improve the situation. Aim of the project: Better living conditions for half a million people – and less poverty.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Mozambique
Health

Health systems strengthening
Infectious desease

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2021


CHF 7'895'000



Capacity building for Serbian municipalities

Around 50 parliamentarians in session at the Serbian parliament.

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2021

Switzerland is supporting the Serbian government’s public administration reform, which aims to make it more effective and accessible to both citizens and the private sector. SwissPRO project is being run in 99 municipalities (two-thirds of Serbia) to improve good governance, social inclusion and gender equality.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Serbia
Governance
Human rights
Gender

Decentralisation
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
Women’s equality organisations and institutions

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2021


CHF 7'990'000



Decentralization and Municipal Support in Kosovo (DEMOS)

Two young people rollerblading on a cycle path..

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2021

Since the declaration of independence in 2008, Kosovo has been engaged in the reform and decentralisation of its public authorities with the aim of strengthening autonomy and local democracy in its 38 municipalities. The SDC's “Decentralisation and Municipal Support” project (DEMOS) aims to help municipalities enhance democratic governance and municipal management and provide better public services, thereby supporting Kosovo in its transition to a democratic and decentralised state.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Kosovo
Governance

Decentralisation
Democratic participation and civil society

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2021


CHF 12'800'000



Bosnia and Herzegovina: Improving nursing care for better health services

A nurse sitting in a treatment room.

01.12.2017 - 30.11.2021

In Bosnia and Herzegovina nurses make up the largest group of healthcare professionals. However, the potential offered by their proximity to local communities is underexploited. They are often responsible for administrative tasks rather than patient care and, with limited career prospects, many nurses are attracted by better working conditions in Western Europe. This is regrettable because nurses and the care they provide can be a gateway to better health services for people living in rural areas and marginalised communities.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Health
Education

Health systems strengthening
Primary health care
Education facilities and training

01.12.2017 - 30.11.2021


CHF 5'125'000



Improved Access to Markets for Female and Male Fresh Fruits and Vegetable (FFV) Small Scale Producers

Improved access to markets for fresh fruits and vegetable (FFV) small scale producers (men and women), occupied Palestinian territory

01.12.2017 - 30.11.2021

With focus on private sector-led agriculture and agribusiness, this program pursues systemic change in the agriculture sector and supports business modalities that favor small scale producers in the occupied Palestinian territory. The overall goal is to contribute to build a resilient economy with equitable agricultural growth, whilst contributing to protect small scale producers’ entitlements to natural resources and access to markets.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Palestinian Authority
Agriculture & food security
Agricultural development
Agricultural services & market
Agricultural policy

01.12.2017 - 30.11.2021


CHF 4'700'000



Revitalising labour market in Moldova

Two young women checking cables.

01.12.2017 - 30.06.2022

With Moldova facing high unemployment and a slowdown in growth, the SDC is funding a project designed to offer young job seekers alternatives to emigration and to improve the country's economic situation. Switzerland is supporting reforms aimed at training a qualified workforce and improving the investment climate. This will not only promote demand-driven training but also help create new jobs in the private sector.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Moldova
Vocational training
Employment & economic development
Vocational training
Employment creation
Business support & economic inclusion

01.12.2017 - 30.06.2022


CHF 6'680'000



Reducing youth unemployment in Kosovo with the help of the private sector

Two people on an adventure park ropes course.

16.11.2017 - 15.11.2021

The Promoting Private Sector Employment (PPSE) project is strengthening companies in the food and tourism sectors and spurring job creation in Kosovo.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Kosovo
Employment & economic development

SME development

16.11.2017 - 15.11.2021


CHF 7'320'000



A more inclusive job market for women in the South Caucasus

A women reads information

01.11.2017 - 31.07.2021

In the three countries of the South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia), many women face job market discrimination. In the absence of policy to create equal opportunities and jobs for women in the formal economy, women work unprotected in the informal sector. The Women’s Economic Empowerment in the South Caucasus project seeks to promote women's economic empowerment to facilitate their equal access to employment and entrepreneurial opportunities.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
South Caucasus
Gender

Women’s equality organisations and institutions

01.11.2017 - 31.07.2021


CHF 3'763'327



A toolbox for sustainable sefl-reliance

Workers learn how to build stable houses in cyclone-affected Southwestern Haiti.

06.09.2017 - 30.06.2021

Haiti has been repeatedly devastated by earthquakes and hurricanes in recent years. SDC engineers are now working with those affected to build more stable houses from local materials. Five hundred new homes are to be built by 2021.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Haiti
Climate change and environment
Humanitarian Assistance & DRR
Vocational training
Governance

Disaster risk reduction DRR
Humanitarian efficiency
Vocational training
Public sector policy

06.09.2017 - 30.06.2021


CHF 3'423'500



Support to Municipal Development Project (MDP-3)

Support to municipal development project (MDP-3), occupied Palestinian territory

01.09.2017 - 31.12.2021

Since 2009, the Municipal Development Project (MDP) has been the main vehicle for policy reform in the Local Governance sector in the oPt. It has channelled funding to Municipalities to support infrastructure projects and capacity-building activities in a transparent and equitable manner, despite huge challenges linked to 50 years of Israeli Occupation and to 10 years of intra-Palestinian divide. MDP-3 (2017-2021) is supported by 7 donors and the Palestinian Authority: SDC’s contribution is in line with Swiss Cooperation Strategy for the oPt (2015-2018).

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Palestinian Authority
Governance
Decentralisation
Democratic participation and civil society

01.09.2017 - 31.12.2021


CHF 5'300'000


Object 1 – 12 of 933