ICT Roundtable processes
Part 1: The Roundtable workshop
Roundtable workshops are organised on request, and in collaboration with a local host organisation. In the ongoing processes, the host organisation and IICD jointly develop all activities. The host organisation selects around 40 participants, representing major stakeholders from the country or sector, including from the government, NGOs or private organisations. Together, the host organisation and IICD develop a 2 to 4 day workshop programme. IICD’s takes on the role of facilitator in the workshop.
Briefly, a Roundtable workshop:
creates awareness on ICT for development in the chosen country or sector
is a starting point for the development of a sector ICT policy and strategy
produces annotated ICT project ideas and identifies project owners
Starting with a presentation on the current state of national policies, ICT policies and projects, IICD ensures that all participants start with the same level of knowledge. Working in groups, participants develop future scenarios, and discuss hopes and fears for the development of the country or sector. They seek key forces that will drive the country's or the sector's development in the coming 10 to 20 years. The driving forces set the stage for the development of a series of scenarios.
The scenarios provide a context for a more focused discussion on priority areas where ICTs could provide most development impact in the country or sector. A series of ICT opportunities are formulated for each priority area, and from these project ideas are selected that are both relevant for development, and feasible for implementation within one year.
In the last phase of the workshop, the participants produce 4 to 6 annotated project ideas. These ideas identify the key objectives and a project owner who will be responsible for further development of the project proposal. These project owners will go forward into the second part of the roundtable process – project formulation and input to policy processes.
Part 2 - Project formulation and input to policy processes
At this point project owners develop 5-year project proposals, and look at how these can be used to influence national and sector ICT policies. Working with a project formulation team (usually consisting of one of the workshop participants and staff members from the organisation), project owners develop a feasibility study using an IICD-developed project format. To ensure full local ownership the team is asked to prepare a first draft proposal.
Once presented with a first draft of the project proposal, IICD staff and local consultants offer active technical support. IICD focuses on facilitating the formulation process, whilst local consultants provide advice on technical and financial issues. The proposals pay explicit attention to the relevance for development and the institutional capacity required for implementation. Technical feasibility, based on local human resources and infrastructure conditions, is also a key element.
Finally, extensive attention is paid to the financial sustainability of the projects, and during the formulation phase fundraising activities are initiated. The hosting organisation, project partners and IICD jointly inform interested potential financiers, including the national government, development banks and funding agencies.
Capacity development during this phase of the Roundtable process includes a one-week ‘Life-Long-Learning’ training for all project partners. This course is organised by IICD and a local training partner. The key objective is to bring the project partners up to a similar basic ICT level (terminology, basic skills, etc.). They also develop an ICT prototype directly relevant for the policy or project to be developed.
Briefly, the outputs of the policy and project formulation phase are:
- Enhanced institutional capacity to develop project proposals
- 5-year sustainable project proposals in terms of institutional capacity, technology and finance
Part 3 - Project implementation and participation in policy processes
In the last phase of the Roundtable process, project partners take full ownership of the projects and activities in terms of operations, strategic development and management. In principle, projects, and the process of formulating and setting up ICT-policies with governments, have a lifetime of 5 years. A number of different activities are carried out during this time, under the umbrella of the country programmes.
During the implementation phase, local training partners provide hands-on ICT skills training to the project partners in specific areas (such as policy development, web development, database development). The capacity development activities shift to institutional and technical assistance of the training partners so they can provide the required training to the project partners.
Knowledge and skills sharing
In this phase, knowledge and skills sharing are an important aspect of the Roundtable process. A national ICT for Development network is formed by local partners to devise ways to maximise the development impact of ICTs. The aim is to share results, best practices, methodologies and lessons learned in the process of using ICTs for development. Alongside face-to-face network meetings, the national ICT for development networks are developing their own local ICT websites, documenting project results and experiences, and producing local newsletters.
Monitoring and Evaluation
Throughout the process, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) takes place. A local M&E partner and IICD are together jointly responsible for this activity. The jointly developed M&E system consists of a questionnaire and focus group sessions. This system is used to gain insight into the effectiveness of country programmes by identifying valuable lessons learned, and to ensure accountability. The evaluation results help IICD and its local partners to improve their performance, foster synergy and enhance overall efficiency.
View a list of IICD Roundtable Processes from 1997-2009.
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