I haven’t been able to find a list of open-source platforms and tools for ICT4D (information and communication technologies for development). But a list could be valuable.
Why create a list?
During the past few years, we’ve seen a proliferation of ICT4D software to support the international relief and development community. As ICT4D continues to mature, we’ll need to focus less on developing new software and more on improving existing solutions.
Ann Mei Chang, executive director of the US Global Development Lab, recently made this point. We need fewer hackathons, with their emphasis on invention, and more emphasis on innovation, which is about making new solutions work at scale.
Otherwise, we’re likely to reinvent the wheel—or, worse, reinvent the flat tire.
A list of open-source solutions could help NGOs and civil-society organizations to discover free platforms and tools, extend existing solutions, and avoid duplicating each other’s work. It could also help organizations avoid getting locked into long-term relationships with individual vendors.
Of course, open-source software has advantages and disadvantages. Practitioners should evaluate possible solutions on a case-by-base basis. But in the long run, almost everyone would benefit from helping to strengthen the open-source ICT4D community.
How to contribute to the list
I’ve started a list of open-source ICT4D platforms and tools on GitHub, which is like a wiki for code. Here’s where you can view the list and suggest additions, deletions, or corrections:
To get started, just follow these steps:
- Create a GitHub account.
- Go to the list and click the pencil icon (next to the trash can).
- Edit the list by adding, deleting, or correcting an item.
- Scroll to the bottom of the page. Briefly describe the change that you’ve made and click the button labeled “Propose file change.”
- On the next screen, click the button labeled “Create pull request.”
- On the discussion page that appears, click the button labeled “Create pull request.”
- Wait for the changes to be incorporated.
You can also propose an edit by going to the Issues section, clicking the “New issue” button, and describing the change that you’d like to make. Or if you don’t want to use GitHub at all, you can share your proposed change in the comments section at the end of this post and I’ll update the list.
Please note that this list does not in any way represent an endorsement of technologies, organizations, or approaches.
Know someone who should see this? Pass it on!
If you have colleagues who might want to view the list or contribute to it, please consider sharing it with them. Together, we can build a simple but powerful resource that benefits the entire ICT4D community.
Josh Tong is a content strategist and content marketer in Washington, DC. He helps colleagues create powerful content through research, strategy, and implementation.
Let’s Create a List of Open-Source Tools for ICT4D by Josh Tong is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.