Welcoming the 200th Endorser to the Principles for Digital Development Community!

When the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) was named steward of the Principles for Digital Development in 2016, the team was tasked with helping digital development practitioners learn about and implement the Digital Principles successfully. Today, after three years of stewardship, DIAL is thrilled to welcome the 200th endorser, Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC), to the community! BNNRC’s approach to media development is both knowledge-driven and context-sensitive. It accounts for challenges and opportunities created by the rapidly changing media environment in Bangladesh, including community radio development to give voices to the underserved. 

“BNNRC is a pro-people organization working to promote communication rights through ICT and community broadcasting system,” BNNRC’s CEO, Bazlur Rahman, explained. “We are working to empower people by increasing effective participation. We work for community participation in digital development through all our activities and collaborate with the values and culture of the people.”  

DIAL welcomed its 100th endorser, DFID, in 2018.

This is a huge milestone for the Digital Principles, as the community has grown dramatically, not just in number, but in global reach as well. When the Digital Principles launched in 2015, the community was made up of 54 endorsing organizations based in the Global North. Now at 200, the Digital Principles has greater representation by communities most impacted by development programming and spans over 30 countries* across six continents. 

“To have our 200th endorser come from Bangladesh demonstrates how the Digital Principles community has grown to be more global and diverse over the past five years,” said Digital Principles Senior Manager, Allana Nelson. “In the early days of the Principles for Digital Development Working Group, representatives were primarily from Global North organizations. They were technologists by trade, fighting hard to create a more thoughtful approach to leveraging emerging tools of a digital world. When DIAL took on the role of steward, we made it a priority to bring the Digital Principles to the communities and practitioners that were most impacted by them.” 

BNNRC helps raise local voices through Community Radio. (Photo credit: BNNRC Facebook)

Although the number of endorsers does not necessarily reflect the level of adoption or integration of the Digital Principles into projects and programs, it does demonstrate the widespread awareness of the Digital Principles around the globe. Furthermore, it points to the large network of stakeholders within the digital development sector that stand behind improving digital development with established best practices. 

Under DIAL’s stewardship, the Digital Principles have achieved many successes such as developing numerous tools, guides, and case studies highlighting the work of endorsers, establishing the first-ever Digital Principles Advisory Council, revamping the Digital Principles website, and launching an interactive Digital Principles Forum and Twitter account. The team is thrilled to have grown the community, connect organizations to one another, and produce content to support stakeholders’ understanding and integration of the Digital Principles into their work. 

“Before the Principles for Digital Development, donor agencies and multilateral organizations had been discussing how to spread best practices in the use of ICT tools as part of development programming for at least a decade,” explained Laura Walker McDonald, Senior Director at DIAL. Many DIAL staff were involved in these original conversations, which led to UNICEF Innovation Principles of 2009, the Greentree Principles of 2010 and the U.K. Design Principles. “It took a year-long, consultative process with 500 individuals representing more than 100 organizations to create the Digital Principles. It’s been amazing to see not only how they’ve been refined and evolved, but how the digital development community has really embraced them.”

Working closely with the practitioner community, the Digital Principles team recognizes that action is just as important as words. The team is excited to have grown the community, but will continue to develop the program’s next five-year strategy to include mechanisms that will encourage the community to put these guidelines into practice.  

This is especially important as the use of technology for development increases over time. The Digital Principles will be critical to designing impactful solutions, and its endorsers and advocates will continue to be, and will become more, integral in enabling successful development programs. By sharing experiences so that others may learn how to better design and implement digital solutions for development, we all play a key role in ensuring that the Principles are still relevant and useful. 

“Today, the Digital Principles are championed the world over by policy makers, students, program managers, educators, community workers, and yes, still technologists,” said Nelson. “I am proud of our small team to have helped make that happen.” 

To learn more about how other practitioners are implementing the Digital Principles, or to join the discussion, please visit our Community page or follow us on Twitter. 

For more information, or to learn about options for active endorsement, contact PrinciplesAdmin@digitalimpactalliance.org. 

*This number is reflective of office headquarters rather than field offices.