Using ICTs to Integrate Frontline Views into Strategic Planning for Climate Change
Saturday, 07 April 2012 19:40
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Influencing Policy
Gamos has contributed to a repository of new research and case studies concerning climate change and ICTs in the development context. Coordinated by The University of Manchester's Centre for Development Informatics and funded by Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC), this project is interested in the intersection of two developing trends: Changing climate and the increased frequency and intensity of weather events and; the increasing penetration of ICTs in developing regions.

The project selected for Gamos and its partners to contribute to this was the second phase of Views From the Frontline (VFL), an innovative data gathering and policy influencing exercise completed in 2011. VFL involved over 500 organisations conducting over 20,000 face to face interviews concerning perceptions of local disaster risk governance. This number included local government officials, civil society organisations and community representatives across 48 countries.

The main purpose of the project was to ensure that the voices of local communities are heard in the global climate debate. However, of further interest is the innovative and highly effective use made of ICTs in achieving the project aims. These included:

  • Computers – A simple data entry tool was developed using Excel allowing the different national coordinating organisations to efficiently input the data into a structured database for analysis.
  • Email/Internet – Email was used to distribute and return questionnaires and relevant information and for discussion lists. Members also participated in blogs, online discussions and streamed presentations.
  • SMS – In collaboration with the telecommunications company Jana an experimental e-survey was developed and an invitation sent via SMS inviting respondents to complete the survey using a webpage or through multiple SMS messages. This was made possible by a compensation platform developed by Jana that has been integrated into the billing systems of 220 mobile companies. 36,000 respondents completed the eSurvey.

The VFL process has proved successful in gathering frontline views and in changing policy, both at the international and local level. The eSurvey was a partial success. Crucially, this project proves that the technology works and it demonstrated its reach and cost benefits. However, it was observed that most participants chose to complete the survey via the internet rather than from their mobile reinforcing concerns that lack of airtime credit will affect participation, particularly amongst low income groups.

Read the full case study and analysis here

Visit the Nexus for ICTs, Climate Change and Development portal here