The Digital Public Goods Alliance Promotes digital public goods to create a more equitable world.
Digital Public Goods
In 2021, the Digital Public Goods Alliance launched a 5-year strategy. The corresponding 2021 Roadmap details progress against the DPGA’s strategic objectives.
The Digital Public Goods Alliance also maintains the DPG Standard and Registry, convenes expert communities of practice and oversees digital public goods pathfinding pilots. Read more about each of these core functions below.
Communities of Practice
Communities of Practice (CoPs) are groups of experts who convene to support the discovery, assessment, and advancement of digital public goods with high potential for addressing critical development needs.
CoPs are a means of leveraging years of experience from individuals operating in relevant sectors that have gained invaluable insights into implementation processes and development needs, who can collectively accelerate the achievement of the sustainable development goals.
Each CoP scopes and defines a particular focus area by considering the relevance and potential impact of DPGs. CoPs then source a large number of potentially relevant DPGs. Members define sector-specific assessment criteria that could be applied. Based on input and feedback from the members, the DPGA releases a list of projects that meet the DPG Standard and have high impact potential for the area of scope.
The following is an overview of the DPGA’s CoPs:
|Early Grade Reading||Foundational Literacy||Complete|
|Financial Inclusion||Foundational Technologies||Complete|
|Health||Immunization Delivery Management||Complete|
|Climate Change Adaptation||Climate & Weather Services||In Progress|
Who are pathfinders?
The Digital Public Goods Alliance works with partners and government entities in low- and middle-income countries to pilot new ways to change the power balance around technology solutions. We call these “pathfinders”. Through their experience implementing digital public goods, pathfinders help define use cases, identify needs, inform adaptations, and enable policy frameworks. Through pilots, they share learnings for both the creation of new DPGs from different approaches for building local capacity, and for existing DPGs that are locally managed through adaptation and implementation.
Current pathfinding pilots
2021 will focus on country engagement and pathfinding activities, including:
- Global Digital Library: Announced on 2 March, 2021, this pathfinding pilot will be coordinated jointly by Norad and the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA). It focuses on how to enable governments to translate openly licensed early grade reading books from the Global Digital Library into national languages.
Rwanda has paved the way for this pilot by translating and providing government approval through the Ministry of Education for 50 books from English to Kinyarwanda. The launch of these books was used to announce the pathfinding pilot, and the results of Rwanda’s pilot will be used to help onboard additional pathfinders from up to nine African countries looking to improve access to quality learning resources for enhancing reading skills in their local languages. To learn more about this pathfinding pilot, please see this briefing note.
In September 2021, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission announced, in partnership with UNICEF, the Global Digital Library as its first digital public good for education. This is part of the OECS Commission’s strategic objective to develop a digital learning ecosystem by creating a hub for K-12 learning resources that also assists with teacher capacity development, knowledge management, and professional training.
- DHIS2 for Education: District Health Information Software 2 (DHIS2) is an open source, web-based platform that aggregates and layers sector-specific health data. Doing so allows health professionals and governments alike to make data-informed decisions. Today, approximately 2.4 billion people (30% of the world’s population) live in countries where DHIS2 is used.
DHIS2 for Education extends the DHIS2 platform from the health sector to the education sector which facilitates tracking valuable information such as school attendance, grades, distances traveled and human resources information.
Building off of these successes, DHIS2 will begin piloting additional programming in countries that have already adopted DHIS2 for Education. For example:
In The Gambia, DHIS2 will be deployed as a general information management system to report national progress on the SDGs.
In Uganda, the pilot will look to deepen the relationship between the education and health sector by connecting previously siloed data like student enrollment rates, grades, and infrastructure allocation.
The Eswatini pilot will provide learnings on how regional capacity building efforts can support the deployment of DPGs in different countries and in varying contexts. Here, DHIS2 for health has not been deployed, so experts from Uganda and Mozambique will support Eswatini in piloting DHIS2 for Education directly guided by lessons learned through their own implementation and deployment efforts.
In Sri Lanka, implementation of DHIS2 in the health sector has facilitated innovation and new opportunities in other sectors, such as education. This pilot will draw upon the capacity and experience the community of practice has built up in the health sector, be customized with the resources available through the Ministry of Education, and will include setting up the first-ever DHIS2 for EMIS academy which will be managed by the Sri Lanka HISP group.
- DHIS2 for COVID-19 Response: Over the last year, responding to the COVID-19 pandemic has been central to country-level health strategies. In Sri Lanka, the first suspected case of the novel coronavirus was registered on 27 January 2020. Within just two days, HISP Sri Lanka created a new DHIS2 Tracker instance specifically for COVID-19.
Crucially, the tracker was able to aggregate data for the purposes of national-level reporting, while still protecting the privacy and security of individuals whose data is stored in the system.
Sri Lanka shared their user guides with the global DHIS2 COVID-19 response team, which is now integrated into training material available for worldwide use. Additionally, DHIS2 core developers and HISP Sri Lanka worked together to produce a version of the app that could be released for global adoption.
This pilot will focus on how local learnings and innovations can be rapidly shared, adapted to new contexts, and integrated into the DHIS2 core platform through the collaboration of partners and experts across different government agencies and within the DHIS2 community.
Click here for more on the DHIS2 pilots.
- Education: UNICEF is launching a pilot in Vietnam with the objective of leveraging digital public goods to strengthen their efforts to digitalize education inclusively and sustainably. As part of the pilot, UNICEF Vietnam is engaging local and international stakeholders in supporting the government to create engaging, effective, and safe digital content, and platforms to distribute it especially to girls, minority children, and children with disabilities. The lessons learned from the pilot will be shared with other countries to help accelerate similar efforts.
- Innovation: UNICEF is running a few pilots focusing on innovation. In Kazakhstan the pilot will engage the innovation ecosystem in creating and implementing digital public goods addressing national priorities in education and inclusion aligned with international standards. UNICEF Kazakhstan is working with private and public sector partners and the government to strengthen local capacity to build, maintain and contribute to DPGs. In Ghana the pilot will engage Ghanaian startups in the innovation sector in creating and implementing the most relevant DPGs. Through the Start Up Lab, UNICEF Ghana will be supporting teams that are innovating for public good by building technology solutions that are aligned with both national priorities and the DPG Standard.
- Youth: The pilot in Jordan will create and implement digital public goods that address national priorities in youth skills and employability. UNICEF in Jordan is working with private and public sector partners to strengthen local capacity to build, maintain, and contribute to DPGs. UNICEF supports vulnerable adolescents and youth in Jordan to safely transition to adulthood and employment.