The Development Gateway Foundation is a not-for-profit organization based initially in Washington DC. Its core objectives are to reduce poverty and support sustainable development through the use of information and communication technologies (ICT).
The core mission of the Development Gateway Foundation is to reduce poverty and support sustainable development through the use of information and communication technologies (ICT). The Foundation will follow three guiding principles in working toward its goals:
Creating partnerships to support ICT capacity with the broad community of stakeholders involved in sustainable development and poverty reduction, including governments, donors, foundations, civil society, and the private and public sectors.
Taking an action-orientated approach to ICT to move ideas and innovations into prototypes and applications that will be tested in the field.
Bringing the benefits of the ICT revolution to the poorest communities, to those most affected by the digital divide.
To achieve its mission, the Development Gateway Foundation will take an incremental approach, allowing it to learn and grow through experience while making careful use of donor resources. The Foundation's four key programs - Development Gateway portal, Grants and Investments, ICT Development Forum, Research and Training Network - will be phased in with continuing testing, learning, and refinement.
Development Gateway Portal
The Development Gateway portal is a central program of the Foundation. Its objectives are to support sustainable development and poverty reduction through an Internet portal for sharing knowledge, tools, and resources for development practitioners. It includes a searchable database on development projects; economic data and statistics from more than 150 countries; practical tools for e-procurement, e-government, and e-learning; research papers; and policy statements. The portal is envisioned as a forum for people interested in development to share experiences and knowledge, reduce duplication of efforts, and foster greater transparency.
To encourage broad local and regional participation and content, the portal is networked with country-level portals called Country Gateways, which are locally owned and managed. Already, approximately 50 countries have either formally initiated the process of establishing Country Gateways or have expressed a strong interest to do so.
ICT Development Forum
An information and communication technologies (ICT) Development Forum will monitor, catalogue, and organize initiatives intended to diminish the digital divide. The Forum will also provide a space for discussions between civil society and the public and private sectors on key ICT issues. Symposia to exchange ideas around topical digital divide matters will be organized to coincide with meetings of the Foundation's Board of Directors. These meetings will bring together the heads of companies and governments, as well as people from civil society, to review past experiences and prospects for the future. The Secretariat of the Foundation will provide regular reports to its donors, analyzing new initiatives and existing programs dedicated to reducing the digital divide. The Foundation will also establish a network of experts that focus on ICT for development, training staff from partner organizations who will then transfer their skills and expertise back into their organizations, communities, and countries.
Research and Training Network
The Foundation will establish a network of research and training centers in developing countries, where ideas can be exchanged and programs tested on the ground. This responds to the enormous need for improved knowledge about the role of information and communication technologies (ICT) in development, and for best practices to increase access to ICT and build the capacity of the developing world to benefit from them. The Research and Training Network will be guided by the philosophy that public goods are most likely to be developed when research is carried out in a problem-solving context involving significant interaction among specialists, users, and funders.
Initially, this research activity will focus on testing existing infrastructures, devices, and applications to identify the best products that will enable the poor to gain access to the knowledge and services provided over the Internet. As the network matures and attracts more funding it will enlarge the scope and reach of its activities. The Research and Training Network will endeavor to attract eminent technology professionals, fostering the development or testing of tools and applications that are uniquely suited to developing countries. Examples include low-cost computers, high-bandwidth wireless networks, culturally specific user interfaces, and improved language translation software.
The Research and Training Network¡¯s training activities will be directed primarily to the training of trainers who will then play a catalytic role in bringing the skill levels of ICT users in poor communities to a point where self-directed learning and user innovation can occur.
Several organizational models for the Research and Training Network will be tested and developed over time. As a point of departure, a core Center - hosted by one country, but networked to other institutions to ensure broad input and shared learnings - is expected to be established.
Grants and Investments
The Foundation will have a funding capacity to support information and communication technology initiatives at the local, national, regional, and global levels for projects that are aimed at reducing the digital divide through the use of ICT. The Foundation will favor projects that bring access, applications, and technology to the people and communities with the greatest need. Recipients of funding can include local and national governments, civil society organizations, research institutions, multilateral and bilateral donors, and private enterprises. The Foundation in some cases may take an active role in directing the projects it funds.
The Foundation may also fund projects in partnership with infoDev (Information for Development, a multi-agency global program hosted by the World Bank Group and established in 1995 to promote innovation in the use of information and communication technologies for development). In addition, the Foundation may outsource (on a fee-for-service basis) technical services for project evaluation and supervision to organizations such as infoDev, which have accumulated substantial experience and have well-established procedures and criteria for assessing project proposals in the digital area. While infoDev or similar organizations may recommend projects to the Foundation, final approval for any project to be funded will rest with the Foundation.
(From the website of the Development Gateway)