Meeting calls for local social innovators to be key actors in global and local development efforts

Mar 6, 2014

Berlin -- More than 20 participants from over 15 countries explored, during a three-day meeting, how mobile technologies are propelling innovation in the global South, enabling the generation of solutions that address local needs and promote human development.

The event showcased how mobile technologies, now in the hands of more than four billion people, can enhance basic service delivery, foster information access and create opportunities for improving livelihoods. Among the participants were government representatives, civil society, the private sector, academia and development practitioners.

Participants agreed that mobile innovations must be directly linked to overall development efforts undertaken by governments and development partners, and need to be effectively scaled up in the long term to have real impact on the ground. They also called for greater collaboration between innovators and policymakers, noting that innovative solutions must transcend the technology arena, and that policymakers need to be kept abreast of local innovation efforts that could help advance national development agendas.

Raul Zambrano, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Senior Policy Advisor for e-Governance and Access to Information, called the event “a significant opportunity for stakeholders to connect, discuss, and begin to work together towards common goals.” He added: “The Berlin gathering advances the innovation and development agenda that we launched last year with partners in Kenya, Tunisia and Rwanda. Indeed, we are establishing an international innovators network that can serve as a ready resource of solutions, and at the same time makes local social innovators key actors in global and local development efforts.”

Travis Heneveld, United Nations at Motorola Solutions, noted that his organization is “very proud to support UNDP in its important mission to foster sustainable development through mobile technologies.” He added: “Thanks to our longstanding involvement through the Motorola Solutions Foundation and our technology expertise, we can make a valuable contribution to UNDP’s initiative and look forward to good cooperation.”

Participants agreed that the potential to scale up mobile technologies for development is enormous and rallied behind the International Network of Social Innovators for Human Development (INSIHD). They also identified some of the core issues that the network should address: building an innovation and development ecosystem at the local level, building a multi-stakeholder international community, tackling development priorities with innovative solutions, and better linking innovations to development efforts at the policy and programme levels.

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For reports of workshops in Kenya, Tunisia and Rwanda, visit


Contact information

- M inerva Novero, UNDP,             

- Susanne Stier, Motorola Solutions,       

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