Digital solutions for international cooperation

Digitalization is playing an important role in our business and personal everyday life. But "digital" does not only change the way we live in Europe. The digital revolution also offers numerous new opportunities and challenges for development cooperation. Whether health, education, agriculture or public administration: the possibilities of digital applications are versatile.

Despite technological solutions, the collaboration is still an important aspect for projects and innovations. In our global world, people are able to exchange information about digital applications and benefit from knowledge and experience of others.

In order to further this exchange within the organization, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) has conducted an internal competition for its employees.

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The result are various ideas how GIZ projects can achieve their development policy effects better or more innovatively through the use of digital approaches. The competition identified six teams from all over the world who are now included in an Accelerator program at GIZ. At the start of this program, the teams met in Berlin and at re:publica 2017 to present their ideas to international representatives of the Global Innovation Gatherings (GIG)

Instead of taking the form of lectures, the GIZ and the GIG chose an interactive format: the GIZ teams presented their ideas in three-minute short pitches.

Afterwards a direct exchange via speed-dating took place: the GIZ teams gathered at individual tables, the GIG representatives formed teams and discussed their ideas and proposals directly with the team representatives.

After ten minutes, the GIG teams switched, so each GIZ team received different input from different nations.

The ideas:

  • Grooots – the grass-roots data aggregator
    Field experts in our partner countries dispose of abundant information. We simply need the missing link: an innovative, bottom-up designed mobile app interface, sourcing from the swarm of partners abroad and reframing the information in a clean and handy way. It shall combine publicly available data with grass-roots inputs delivered by field experts. Filters will provide maximum flexibility.


  • "TheIntegrityAPP" TIA
    We seek to leverage the opportunities that digitalization provides by developing a mobile phone application that assists companies in implementing anti-corruption measures in Latin-America. The app would be a unique way to upscale its approaches to corruption-prevention and give support to a large number of companies in urban and rural areas in a resource efficient manner.


  • YouthActs – A digital platform for informing, activating and connecting young volunteers for positive community action
    Many young people want to make a positive contribution to their community. In order to make the most of the commitment of these young volunteers, the digital platform YouthActs is planned. Young people are not only able to network, they also find information and support from the YouthActs community. This includes, for example, gathering of ideas for actions, recordings of past actions and the possibility to get in contact with relevant stakeholders. At the same time, knowledge on social issues is to be conveyed. The information are modular and can be adapted to different contexts/themes. A first test of YouthActs is to be carried out in South Africa on violence prevention and subsequently replicated in the Kingdom of Lesotho on civil society education.


  • Igniting Citizen Engagement – A mobile application for better public services solution 
    Igniting citizen engagement via an app. Citizens flag issues, upload photos of public service problems (e.g. potholes); geo-locate them. Flagged issues are reported to local government and audit institutions. Citizens prioritise problems and rate solutions. Data analysis recommends areas for auditing. Unique: the app collects, bundles, prioritises and rates citizen’s feedback.


  • Bringing the water to the people in rural Jordan
    We shorten the distance between demand and supply: Households order water on their mobile phones (text message/app). Via the utility's computer system, a tanker truck is automatically assigned to the task - and can ideally serve several households nearby in one tour. The utility gains operational efficiency and increases transparency - and the people finally get their drinking water on time.


  • Xtra Pay - voluntary bonus payments for producers in developing countries
    Consumers can directly pay a bonus to the smallholder farmers who have made the product. They will find their contact details on the product and can transfer the money directly to the farmer (via blockchain) without any major effort from their part. Upon scanning the code to arrange for the payment, consumers will also find information about the origin of the product and how it has been made.


By end of the year, the six teams will continue to develop their ideas with user-centered design methods. Then the most promising ideas will be distinguished and implemented. 

Photo credit: re:publica/Gregor Fischer (CC BY-SA 2.0)