Let’s tap mobile technology to stimulate human development

May 8, 2013

Smart phones and other mobile technologies have become increasingly important channels through which innovative development solutions are being delivered

Nairobi - The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Motorola Solutions have joined forces to look at new ways in which mobile applications can be harnessed to tackle some of the world’s most pressing development needs.

The two organizations this week hosted a roundtable in Nairobi, Kenya, bringing together over 50 development practitioners, government officials, local social innovators, civil society actors and the private sector.

With mobile technology (such as mobile phones and tablets) now in the hands of at least 6 billion people - the majority of whom are in the developing world - participants recognized the time was opportune for such an initiative.

The two organizations will be working together to look at how successful initiatives can be replicated for maximum effect with a view to achieving development goals.

The UNDP and Motorola Solutions have also committed themselves to establishing an International Network of Social Innovators for Human Development (INSIHD).

This network will connect local innovators with policy and development experts and serve as a platform for programme design, implementation, innovation and sharing of information and ideas.

UNDP’s Kenya Country Director, Maria-Therease Keating, urged development agencies to take advantage of these new opportunities and support initiatives that will generate job opportunities for youth.

“We need to significantly increase the application of these innovative models to the needs of the people, investing in e-skilling people as the greatest resource and the most precious asset,” Ms. Keating said.

In his keynote address, the CEO of the Kenya ICT Board, Mr. Paul Kukubo, welcomed the initiative saying partnerships were needed between governments and development agencies, to ensure meaningful and lasting impact.
Panelists who participated in the event also explored how access to mobile technologies has given a voice to those who had none before and how this could enhance democratic governance through greater participation and inclusion.

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