Nine “living” guidelines designed to help digital development practitioners integrate established best practices into technology-enabled programs.

This page continues below

The Principles

Design With the User

User-centered design starts with getting to know the people you are designing for through conversation, observation and co-creation.
Learn more >

Understand the Existing Ecosystem

Well-designed initiatives and digital tools consider the particular structures and needs that exist in each country, region and community.
Learn more >

Design for Scale

Achieving scale requires adoption beyond an initiatives pilot population and often necessitates securing funding or partners that take the initiative to new communities or regions.
Learn more >

Build for Sustainability

Building sustainable programs, platforms and digital tools is essential to maintain user and stakeholder support, as well as to maximize long-term impact.
Learn more >

Be Data Driven

When an initiative is data driven, quality information is available to the right people when they need it, and they are using those data to take action.
Learn more >

Use Open Standards, Open Data, Open Source, and Open Innovation

An open approach to digital development can help to increase collaboration in the digital development community and avoid duplicating work that has already been done.
Learn more >

Reuse and Improve

Reusing and improving is about taking the work of the global development community further than any organization or program can do alone.
Learn more >

Address Privacy & Security

Addressing privacy and security in digital development involves careful consideration of which data are collected and how data are acquired, used, stored and shared.
Learn more >

Be Collaborative

Being collaborative means sharing information, insights, strategies and resources across projects, organizations and sectors, leading to increased efficiency and impact.
Learn more >


The Digital Principles were created in a community-driven effort, the result of many lessons learned through the use of technology in development projects. They are part of an ongoing effort among development practitioners to share knowledge and support continuous learning.


Endorsing the Principles for Digital Development means that an organization, at the highest levels, agrees to put the Digital Principles into practice through its policies, processes and activities. Join more than 80 influential organizations in leading the digital development community.
“The Principles are pivotally different from the way development currently is being done. They are effectively building the rationale for a paradigm shift...”
~ Elie Losleben Calhoun, Code Innovation (‘From Principles to Practice’ report)