On October 9th, PTF’s Chief Technical Officer, Dr. Vinay Bhargava, participated in a panel sponsored by CIVICUS focused on harnessing information and Communications Technology (ICT) to monitor and shape development progress through people-powered accountability.
Dr. Bhargava presented how people-powered accountability has successfully worked in PTF’s experience, including specific examples like the case of How the Desperate Housewives of Khariar Successfully Fought Corruption.
“ICT is not the solution. It is only an enabler… but it has tremendous potential,” Dr. Bhargava explained, “the entire world population can be easily connected and be provided customized, in time, corruption-free assistance to end poverty and to bring shared prosperity. That’s the power of the big data shift.” However, as the majority of CSOs that PTF supports are in poor, rural areas, he also emphasized the need to develop offline methods of information sharing to bring these communities into the conversation.
Other key lessons gleaned from PTF’s experience shared by Dr. Bhargava during the presentation included:
- People should be at the center of all accountability programs in development work.
- Context appropriate people powered accountability programs work.
- Availability and awareness of information particularly at the local community level is a big data problem/constraint.
- ICT enables us to put people at center and to amplify their voice and presence but the central focus must remain on people and not on ICT.
- People powered accountability programs represent good value for donor money and need scaling up.