Technology for social good: top 100 inspiring uses

Innovation, Methodology

Oxfam is increasingly exploring how to introduce technology in our programme work. We often find the first question asked by country staff is whether there are any ideas or case studies for inspiration. That’s why Oxfam is today announcing a partnership with the Nominet Trust, the UK’s leading social tech funder. Here Amy O’Donnell, ICT in Programme Lead, explains why she’s excited by this opportunity for the charity and technology sectors to learn from each other.

The Nominet Trust has launched a call for nominations for its annual NT100 – a global celebration of the 100 most inspiring uses of technology for social good.

So what’s the opportunity?

People around the world are invited to nominate projects they would like to see recognised in the top 100 list by completing a short online form.  Initiatives which previously made the list include global giants Google, Kickstarter and Raspberry Pi, alongside smaller ventures tackling major issues including health, education, civic empowerment and the environment. Oxfam will be submitting some ideas from our experiences to date – maybe we’ll put forward projects like climate change forecasting in UgandaSMS for Polio prevention in Somalia or electronic prepaid solutions in the Philippines. But don’t worry – we won’t be able to judge ourselves.

And why is Oxfam a partner?

Technology has the potential to transform and reshape opportunities for people to lift themselves out of poverty.Oxfam will work alongside a group of world-leading tech companies and charities to review applications and share our thoughts on what we think makes an inspirational technology project successful.  By sharing this exciting opportunity with colleagues working on humanitarian relief and development projects around the world, it will help us to kick off a conversation within Oxfam about what “good”
looks like in technology projects

At Oxfam we are keen to ensure information communications technologies (ICTs) are considered to be a means to an end. We start with the problem, not with the tool; recognise the limitations and ensure the way we implement projects takes into account ethical applications which integrate ICTs in an appropriate way. If used properly within a well-designed project, Oxfam believes that technology has the potential to transform and reshape opportunities for people to lift themselves out of poverty.

What’s great about the list of NT100 projects is that hearing stories of success can be a catalyst to inspire and influence others to get involved in using tech for good. The list will showcase a range of projects from around the world which will no doubt demonstrate that “context is king.” From our experience, a successful project combines the most appropriate technology with an approach that is right for the context. For Oxfam, it is important to learn from initiatives that have gone before and identify what makes good practice,
what are the important questions to ask, how to engage women, how to create sustainable models…the list goes on. Looking for this inspiration from around the globe helps us at the design stage of projects to be able to cherry pick from the best ideas and to think about how to make them relevant and tailored to each challenge.

It is inspiring to learn from different sectors about what makes technology work. And what better place to start than grouping together the top 100 this year? So go on – if you know of a venture using digital technology anywhere in the world to tackle a social challenge, nominate it now!

Nominations will be open until 30 September and this year’s NT100 will be published in December.

Read more

• Read more blog posts about innovation
• Find out about ICT and Oxfam’s programmes
• Download our new responsible data policy

Photo: Kong Sineoun FCC of Kor Kok commune, Santok District showing her messages to other members in the room. Credit: Oxfam

Author: Amy O Donnell
Archive blog. Originally posted on Oxfam Policy & Practice.