July 29, 2008
DAI Hosts Vision Team to Launch USAID’s Global Development Commons Initiative
Last week, DAI hosted a “vision team” of 18 technology and development practitioners at a two-day workshop to kick off an exciting U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) initiative called the Global Development Commons (GDC).
The “visionaries” offered insights into what will constitute success for the GDC and brainstormed potential pilot activities and partnership opportunities with private companies, foundations, other U.S. Government agencies, and nongovernmental organizations.
The GDC is USAID’s high-profile effort to use technology to change the way development is done and revolutionize the way development knowledge is shared. It aims to supercharge communities to do better development and engage end users in ways that enable them to help themselves.
USAID Administrator Henrietta Fore introduced her vision of a GDC late last year, challenging the development community to rethink how it uses technology in realizing the full potential of development work. The GDC is a new activity within DAI’s Global Development Alliance (GDA) Strategic Support Program, led by Chief of Party Kristi Ragan and Deputy Chief of Party Melanie Oliviero.
The workshop’s main objectives were to identify GDC technologies and activities that can be catalyzed over the next three to four months through USAID partnerships and support. Demand-driven and quickly executable, these activities will contribute to solving development challenges in areas such as avian influenza and food security.
The GDC rollout will involve phased efforts to deliver tangible projects by the end of the year. It will prominently feature geographic information systems technology, a core DAI strength, and a highly interactive website that promotes coordination and engages users in developing countries. Additionally, it will include a competition that challenges technology innovators to find solutions to major development challenges, with the incentive of cash prizes and possible inclusion in a USAID project.
The DAI GDC team working on these issues for the next 10 months includes Rebecca Askin, Program Coordinator; Elizabeth Kountze, Alliance Outreach Specialist; and Seema Patel, Alliance and Management Specialist.