Communication & governance

Liberation technology: Mobile phones and political mobilization in Africa

Marco Manacorda and Andrea Tesei

The recent spread of digital information and communication technology has fed a wave of optimism about its use as a ‘liberation technology’ for the oppressed and disenfranchised worldwide. According to this argument, mobile phones and the Internet have the potential to foster citizens’ political activism and even lead to mass political mobilization, especially when civic forms ...» more

Media and governance

In fast-changing media and communication environments more people are connected than ever before. While most acknowledge that the influence and impact of changing media and communication on governance outcomes is growing, the degree to which new media landscapes are contributing to more informed, peaceful and accountable societies remains in question.  For some, increasingly networked young,…» more

State-society relations and citizenship

State-society relations, citizenship and socio-political cohesion are areas of great importance to statebuilding and peacebuilding and are crucial to an integrated approach. State-society relations are defined by DFID as ‘interactions between state institutions and societal groups to negotiate how public authority is exercised and how it can be influenced by people. They are ...» more

Test it and they might come: Improving the uptake of digital tools in transparency and accountability initiatives

Christopher Wilson and Indra de Lanerolle

Information and communications technologies (ICTs) and data play an increasingly visible role in transparency and accountability initiatives (TAIs). This article investigates TAI tool selection processes in South Africa and Kenya. It argues that in many cases, tools are chosen with only limited testing of their appropriateness for the intended users in the intended contexts, ...» more

Infomediaries and accountability

The term “infomediaries” – or information intermediaries – is used to refer to actors who “synthesize, translate, simplify and direct information on behalf of others”. There appears to be strong evidence of the link between free media and better governance and government responsiveness on a range of issues (e.g. public spending on education and health). A DFID review on ...» more

Evaluating digital citizen engagement: A practical guide

Digital Engagement Evaluation Team

This guide provides practical steps to assess the extent to which digital tools have contributed to citizen engagement, and to understand the impact that the introduction of technology has had on the engagement processes. The guide draws on examples and lessons from case studies from Brazil, Uganda, Cameroon and Kenya. It can be used at many stages— to inform project design, as ...» more

When does ICT-enabled citizen voice lead to government responsiveness?

Tiago Peixoto and Jonathan Fox

This article reviews evidence on the use of 23 information and communications technology (ICT) platforms to project citizen voice to improve public service delivery. This study begins with a conceptual framework intended to clarify the different links in the causal chain in between ICT-enabled opportunities to express voice (platforms) and institutional responses. In other ...» more

World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends

World Bank

The digital revolution has brought easier communication and information, greater convenience, free digital products, and new forms of leisure.  However, digital dividends have had much less impact on global productivity, expansion of opportunity and the spread of accountable governance than once expected.  This report argues that improving digital dividends requires digital ...» more

Media, discussion and attitudes in fragile contexts

Chris Snow and Will Taylor

What is the relationship between media programming, political discussion and conflict-related attitudes? This paper tests the hypothesis that balanced and inclusive media-induced discussion can be a positive force in mitigating attitudes associated with conflict. It explores how discussions programmes – where a diverse audience, representing the whole of society, is engaged in ...» more

Social media and governance

The literature suggests that social media has a lot of potential to be used for governance purposes, but that this is not capitalised on in most contexts. Many governments are using e-government strategies and disseminating information through online channels, but not soliciting citizen feedback. Where there are two-way channels, it is very unclear whether citizen feedback is ...» more

Social media and conflict management in post-conflict and fragile contexts

Some of the roles social media has played in conflict management include: In some cases social media and other new media tools have been used to help hold governments accountable, bring citizens together to protest violence, coordinate relief efforts, empower citizens, provide information to reduce tensions, and build bridges of understanding across boundaries. In other cases ...» more

The power of talk: Media and accountability in three African countries

Rebecca Stringer

This policy briefing offers an empirical contribution to evolving thinking on governance within the international development landscape. Using the example of media, the brief argues that interventions designed to foster demand-based accountability may not be as successful in some fragile settings as more discursive platforms that aim to tackle problem-solving collectively. The ...» more

ICT Pathways to Poverty Reduction: Empirical evidence from East and Southern Africa

Edith Ofwona Adera, Timothy M. Waema, Julian May, Ophelia Mascarenhas,, Kathleen Diga (Eds)

Do ICTs result in poverty reduction? This book looks at the links between ICTs and poverty reduction. The links are considered at three main levels: 1) access to ICTs and the relationship of such access to poverty; 2) impact of ICTs on poverty reduction; and 3) use of ICTs as potential pathways to poverty reduction. Impact is assessed both in terms of the causal relationship ...» more

The Role of Crowdsourcing for Better Governance in Fragile State Contexts

Maja Bott, Björn-Sören Gigler, Gregor Young

This study offers an overview of crowdsourcing as a resource for development, crisis response and post-conflict recovery. The paper reviews the factors necessary for crowdsourcing success (vision, trust, human capital, among others) and the challenges. It provides examples from important crowdsourcing and interactive mapping phenomena and initiatives in Haiti, Libya, Sudan and ...» more

The Role of Information and Communication Technologies in Postconflict Reconstruction

Tim Kelly, David Souter

The report examines how policy-makers, the donor community and the private sector have prioritised and sequenced ICT initiatives in the aftermath of conflict. In addition, the report proposes a conceptual framework to understand how ICTs can contribute to improving service delivery and assisting with nation-building. In this summary report and a series of country case studies, ...» more

Crowd Capital in the Governance Context

John Prpic, Prashant Shukla

How can crowdsourcing contribute to good governance? This research builds the first database of worldwide initiatives using crowd applications for governance. It contains 209 applications, found through secondary archival sources. Many individuals and organisations are using IT to engage crowds to create resources for the governance context. The authors find that there is a ...» more

Strategic communications and foreign fighters

Key Findings: There is limited coverage of strategic communications programmes specifically aiming to prevent the recruitment of citizens who travel to conflict zones to become foreign fighters. There is relatively more coverage of strategic communications with respect to broader counter-radicalisation or countering violent extremism (CVE) approaches, but there are few case ...» more

Interventions to counter hate speech

There is limited evidence on the effectiveness of interventions to counter hate speech. There is a lack of rigorous impact evaluations in this area and those that do exist tend to focus on individual case studies. Interventions to counter hate speech which have had some success include: Television programmes: In Kenya four episodes of a popular television series were ...» more

Sending messages to reduce violent conflict

Key findings Research for this helpdesk report did not find a specific body of literature focused on sending messages to change attitudes, norms and behaviour about violent conflict. Rather, there is a wide range of literature that covers interventions to address conflict, which include the sending of messages in one form or another, and often as part of a wider strategy. This ...» more

Information lives of the poor: Fighting poverty with technology

Laurent Elder, Rohan Samarajiva, Alison Gillwald,, Hernán Galperin

This book explores the impacts of technological change on the poor. Drawing on household surveys undertaken by research networks active in 38 developing countries, it helps to fill knowledge gaps about how the poor use information and communication technologies (ICTs): How have they benefited from mobile devices, computers, and the Internet? What insights can research provide ...» more