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Sometimes it is about the tech: choosing tools in South African and Kenyan transparency and accountability initiatives

Date added: March 31, 2016

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This report looks at the processes through which organisations in South Africa and Kenya choose technology tools to use in transparency and accountability initiatives - and how this influences the effectiveness of their work.

The research provides lessons for other organisations and practitioners working in technology for transparency and accountability initiatives.

It also helps organisations to select appropriate digital tools, and to provide an overview of successes and failures that boil down to some basic lessons we all can learn from.

Six basic rules of thumb for organisations deploying ICT for development stand out:

  1. Map out what you need to know: At the very least include research on the issue you want to tool to address, the needs to the people you hope will use it and the digital tool options already available.
  2. Think twice before you build: Look for existing tools that can do the job; building new technologies from scratch is complex and risky.
  3. Get a second opinion: Someone else has probably tried a similar approach before you.
  4. Always take it for a test drive: Trial the tool; it highlights problems and raises key questions early on
  5. Plan for failure: Don’t expect to get it right first time; budget time and money to make adjustments.
  6. Stop and reflect on what you’re doing: Keep thinking about what is working, and what isn’t.

You can download the key findings and executive summary here.

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