Digital technologies play a strong role in our services and our ambition to deliver excellence for our clients. Fully endorsing the Digital Principles, we believe that digital technologies are a key platform and medium for advancing international development. We are convinced that the digital-human interface can provide solutions to a variety of sustainable development challenges. Our vision is to empower people through technology.
The Digital Innovation (DI) Cluster combines GFA’s digital expertise and takes advantage of synergies between various GFA departments and sister companies working on cross-cutting digital topics. The DI Cluster is composed of sector-specific digital experts from GFA thematic departments (DI working group) as well as our dedicated Digital Innovation Unit (DIU) who have extensive experience with a wide range of Digital for Development (D4D) projects. GFA´s sister companies (GFA B.I.S., TolaData, GFA SysCom), complete the Cluster by providing ICT solutions designed to suit the context of international cooperation.
Our D4D expertise matches demands for change in international development with digital technology solutions. We speak the language of beneficiaries, partners, donors and digital technology solutions providers. This allows us to link key stakeholders towards developing the best digital solutions for local needs balancing high-tech solutions with low-tech realities in our implementation countries. Projects implemented by us are intensively considering financial, technical and organizational sustainability.
We are currently working in four primary areas:
1. Data-driven services
Many organisations are struggling to manage their data. This is especially the case when data are derived from multiple sources and when data quality management is required. Our data products and services include digital monitoring and financial management tools, data-driven evaluations including collecting, transforming and analyzing data for improved decision-making as well as data science consulting.
We design and implement large data collection, management, and analysis projects. For instance, on behalf of 14 African countries and India we implemented baseline and midterm studies to assess and evaluate the impact of the Green Innovation Centers project on income, employment and food security.
In Ethiopia, we developed and piloted a digital monitoring tool for decentralized countrywide project activities within the Sustainable Land Management (SLM) project.
For the Ministry of Energy and Hydrocarbures of Madagascar (MEH), we developed and implemented an open-source based digital monitoring system to track changes in the energy sector (supply & demand, access for population and energy efficiency) and we enabled well-informed decisions for future investments. To map solar PV electrification initiatives for public institutions in Ethiopia, we developed and implemented a user-friendly digital mapping system for collecting information on existing and planned public institution electrification initiatives.
2. ICT policy
Public bodies all over the world are adjusting their strategies in order to capitalize on opportunities and curb the risks of digital transformation. We support governments as well as regional and international organizations in the development and implementation of ICT-related strategies and in developing policy and regulatory frameworks. This includes the implementation of subsequent changes, for instance creating or expanding digital service for citizens and the private sector.
On a global scale, we are preparing the ground for an international alliance for a human-centric approach to Artificial Intelligence which involves the implementation of an ethical framework to enable the growth of AI in accordance with universally recognized values.
On the African continent under the Policy and Regulation Initiative for Digital Africa (PRIDA), we support the harmonization of measurable ICT policy, legal and regulatory frameworks as well as the active participation of African stakeholders in the global internet governance debate.
On a national level, we support the government of Rwanda in the development of a strategy for national emerging technologies as well as drafting an AI blueprint under the Smart Africa Initiative.
In Eastern Europe under the EU4Digital program, we are supporting the development of technical and cooperation mechanisms that increase cyber security and preparedness against cyberattacks in EaP countries, in line with EU standards.
3. Online and digital learning
Capacity building is at the core of our services. This ranges from providing workshops, coaching, and short-term training courses, to the development of curricula for formal technical and vocational training as well as for higher education. Given that many of our projects target low connectivity and low digital literacy populations, we offer a wide range of digital solutions appropriately adapted to these contexts.
As part of a capacity development program for civil servants in Peru, we developed a demand-oriented training scheme for a decentralized training system. The first training phase was facilitated through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC). A second phase involved the training-of-trainers (ToT) scheme that we implemented while switching to a blended learning approach.
In another example, we developed a blended learning course hosted on Moodle for “Emergency Risk Communication and Coordination” which was rolled out to civil servants within the Regional Program Support to Pandemic Prevention (RPPP) in the ECOWAS region. In another project, we promote sexual and reproductive health through an m-health pilot initiative which uses text messages/mobile phones to inform adolescents about available health services and healthy behavior.
In Indonesia, we implemented a wide range of training workshops by using different formats (e-learning, on-the-job training, coaching, and lectures) for improving capacity within the State Electricity Company in strategic and sustainable planning as well as the development and implementation of hydropower projects.
On the research side, we jointly developed a “Toolkit on Education and Digitalization” with GIZ that addressed existing projects through using digital solutions for the purpose of education in the developing countries.
4. Digital transformation and innovation
The landscape of international development is rapidly changing both in terms of the WHAT and the HOW. Our Digital Innovation Unit supports international cooperation programs in developing and implementing digital strategies in all our business areas. Together with specialised technical partners, we provide greenfield solutions as well as upgrades to legacy systems for e-governance, e-extension, e-participation, m-health or mobile finance systems. This may also include support to ICT-sector development, for instance through supporting tech-startup clusters or innovation hubs.
We have supported a number of programs and projects for developing and implementing digital strategies, such as an Africa-wide ATVET program or the Swiss Better Gold initiative. In Togo, we implemented a mobile phone-based market and innovation information system for smallholder farmers, and digital agri-intelligence for policy making. To improve access to health services for poor women in Tanzania, we implemented a mobile phone-based patient registration system with automated health information and appointment reminders. To fight climate change in agriculture, we developed, piloted and implemented a mobile and GIS-based (online/offline) application for quick checks of agricultural loan applications, specifically aimed at remote regions in Peru.
Examples for the promotion of digital innovations include: the Regional Program Support to Pandemic Prevention in the ECOWAS region, where we organised ‘hackathons’ in which innovative teams were encouraged to develop their ideas into tangible products and prototypes, aiming towards strengthening healthcare systems and health risk communication among ECOWAS member states.
In Tunisia, within the program for the Promotion of Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development, we supported start-ups in the agriculture and food sector for integrating ICT-based services and innovative business models in the scope of the ICT4Ag project.
We also support the Namibian Start-up initiatives through incubation projects with a focus on tech-startups facilitated through hackathons and by a digital project management tool.
Furthermore, under the Special Initiative for Economic Stabilization and Youth Employment in Tunisia, we helped to develop a global vision for cyberparks to promote a digital economy in the region as well as reinforcing the capacities of three cyberparks.
We are currently supporting GIZ in the development of an assessment tool for digital pandemic response. The study encompasses an assessment methodology for identifying the need for digital tools that fit into the existing digital ecosystem and which can modernise partner countries’ overall pandemic preparedness.
We are interested in expanding our network of specialised technical partners to complement our services and to jointly develop and test innovations. We offer our expertise in international cooperation projects in all our business areas where proven digital technologies are scaled-up and new solutions can be piloted. Please contact us if you are a digital technology solution provider interested in partnering on joint projects as consortium member or subcontractor.
Are you interested in research or testing innovative approaches and new technologies? Contact us for discussing joint ventures.
Please contact us if you are an individual expert interested in short or long-term missions in our projects. We are always open to working with Digital for Development experts with international experience, specialized in one of our thematic areas.
- Opportunities in projects – Are you open to a position on one of our projects on a fixed-term basis or to be considered for short-term missions?
- In-house opportunities – Are you interested in working with us at our headquarters as a freelancer or permanent staff?
- Research opportunities – Are you a researcher or PhD student interested in piloting digital solutions or investigating their impact?