Monthly Archives: December 2013

IT Skills Building for T4D

These resources are ideal for IT Staff looking to learn more about software development, IT project management, and working with external vendors

The IT skills needed for supporting T4D initiatives will be dependent on which technical aspects Country Offices choose to keep in-house versus those they outsource to external vendors.   Some familiarity with commonly used tools and their technical components solutions will be essential regardless of whether or not T4D solutions are being produced within UNICEF.  Skills for the managing software development process and dealing with external vendors should be considered as key competencies.

Recommendations for building IT skills for T4D:

  1. IT departments should begin to evolve the required competencies to include T4D and these  should be included in the generic ICT Terms of Reference (e.g., familiarity with common tools, open source solutions, etc.)
  2. Country Office IT should partner with Programmes to improve awareness of programme goals and identify areas where T4D components could assist programme functions or improve outcomes. This will include involving IT staff beginning in the conceptual and planning phases for projects which include T4D components, and seeing projects through implementation and scale.
  3. The IT department should become a partner to Programme staff when negotiating with external partners and vendors who may be building or implementing T4D components. This will require IT staff to have a strong understanding and participate in
  • Project management approaches for software development
  • Business analysis and requirement definition

UNICEF-Supported Trainings (accessed via

Provider Title Description
UNICEF Skillport IT Project Management Essentials 1 hour Online Course: Planning, monitoring, managing risks, testing deliverables
UNICEF Skillport Managing Software Outsourcing 1 hour Online Course:  Vendor contracts, managing vendors, dealing with risks
UNICEF Skillport PMI/ScrumMaster Agile Practioner Online Course:  Agile essentials, requirement planning
UNICEF Skillport Linux Professional Institute: Beginner Online Course: Linux programming
UNICEF Skillport Linux Professional Institute: Advanced Online Course:  Linux programming

External Trainings:

Provider Title Description
Mountain Goat Software Agile and Scrum Certification Workshop/training: Agile, Scrum, User stories, $1,200.00
ThoughtWorks Agile Fundamentals 2 Day Workshop: Agile basics, $11,500.00
Carnegie Mellon (Rwanda) Masters in Information Technology Graduate Program: ICT, such as mobile applications, information security and networking, and software management, as well as critical business areas such as finance, operations and entrepreneurship, $40,000.00
UN University, Intl. Institute for Software Technology PhD in ICT for Sustainable Development PhD Program: ICT4D, $35,000.00
University of Manchester MSc in Information Systems: Change and Development (Distance Learning)  Graduate Program: Training of “hybrid managers” for the implementation of new information management systems in organizations, $20,000.00
Enhancement Centre GIS Capacity Building 3 Day Workshop: Introduction for project management Custom


Tools and Resources:

Provider Title Description
Tech Republic Various Resources including white papers, webinars, case studies Various Resources:  New technologies and skill sets, Free
Cutter Consortium IT governance and management, Agile approaches Webinars, Trainings, Workshops, & Free newsletter: Business Analysis, Agile, etc., Membership required
Mountain Goat Software Agile and Scrum Overview Key terms/Guides: Agile and scrum methodologies, Free
TechChange Standards and Interoperability Informational Video: Standards and Interoperability, Free

Sample Terms of Reference:

UNICEF Global Innovations has created sample ToRs for Innovation Lab staff. The following could be useful for IT-related positions:

  • Production Coordinator
  • Software Developer
  • Engineering Lead

See the sample ToRs here:

For more information:


Business Skills Building for T4D

These resources are intended for either IT or Programme Staff looking to learn more about project management, business analysis, and project planning.

The nature of T4D and innovation projects means that staff must often develop a business case, oversee consultants, and participate in a business analysis. Identifying and implementing a technology solution within a UNICEF programme should be as rigorous as it is for any private business. It is not expected that UNICEF staff undertake the entire business analysis themselves– this process can be outsourced to consultants and vendors. Therefore it becomes essential that staff understand the steps and reasoning involved in the business processes and develop project management skills that include an understanding of common software development approaches.

Recommendations for building business skills for T4D:

  • Country Offices should conduct an assessment of current staff capacities and identify which aspects of business analysis and project management can be handled in-house vs. outsourced to external vendors.
  • While Country Office staff may not find it necessary to achieve certification in specific project management skill sets, understanding the basics of approaches such as Agile and Scrum methodologies will improve work with external partners.
  • There are a number of project management and business planning resources and certifications already available through UNICEF Skillport.  Staff should be encouraged to include these courses in their personal Learning Plans in order to access UNICEF resources for professional development.

UNICEF-Supported Trainings:

Provider Title Description
UNICEF Skillport Business Planning Essentials 1 hour Online Course: Business plans, analyses, implementation prep, Free
UNICEF Skillport PMBOK Project Scope Management Online Course: Requirements, work breakdown, monitoring
UNICEF Skillport Prince2 2009 Project Management Foundations Online Course: General project management, Free
UNICEF Skillport Certified Business Analysis Professional Online Course: General business analysis, Free
UNICEF Skillport PMI Project Management Professional Online Course: General project management, Free
UNICEF Skillport PMI Agile Certified Practioner Online Course: Agile, Free
UNICEF Skillport Prince2 Certification Online Course: General project management, Free
UNICEF Skillport Certified ScrumMaster (Scrum Alliance) Online Course: Scrum, Free

External Trainings:

Provider Title Description
ThoughtWorks Studio Agile Project Management 3 Day Workshop: Agile project management, $16,500/workshop
ThoughtWorks Studio Agile Business Analysis 3 Day Workshop: Agile project management, $16,500/workshop
University of Manchester MSc ICTs for Development Graduate Program: Aims to create the ‘ICT4D champions’ who combine the necessary skills to see ICT4D projects through to sustainable delivery of development goals, $25,000

Tools and Resources:

Provider Title Description
ThoughtWorks Mingle (Agile App) Software Application: Agile project management, Free and paid versions available

Sample Terms of Reference:

UNICEF Global Innovations has compiled sample ToRs for Innovation Lab staff. The following could be useful for business-related competencies:

  • Lab Lead
  • Tech4Dev Coordinator
  • Production Coordinator

See the sample ToRs here:

For more information:

Subject Matter/Programme Skills Building for T4D

These resources are intended for either IT or Programme Staff looking to learn more about specific applications of technology for programme areas or methodologies for innovation.

In addition to the general project management skills for T4D, UNICEF staff may want to familiarize themselves with specific applications of technology or innovative design processes that could be useful for programme needs.  Real-time data collection, health care, emergency response, and citizen reporting include just a few fields where rapid advances in technology are being made. Keeping up with these trends is important in order to help UNICEF staff make good business decisions about potential vendors and to understand the challenges of implementing these solutions.  In addition to trainings and workshops, there are number of guides and frameworks that can be used for the conceptualization and planning of specific T4D and innovation projects.

Recommendations for building subject matter skills for T4D:

  • While there are multitude of exciting technologies and projects that exist, Country Offices should approach these resources with some caution.  It is essential that a technology is not chosen before thorough problem definition and business analysis. Projects should be programme need-driven, not technology solution-driven.
  • As UNICEF works to improve MoRES and especially Level 3 Monitoring, the benefits of real-time data collection should be carefully assessed to find the best way to integrate these into UNICEF’s M&E Operations.
  • It should be noted that Tech Change offers group rates for their online courses. Country Offices interested in specific trainings should contact the Regional Office in order to coordinate participation for these trainings.

External Trainings:

Provider Title Description
Stanford d.School Virtual Crash Course in Design Thinking 90 minute Webinar: Design thinking, Free
TechChange Introduction to Mobile Money 2 hour Webinar: Mobile money, cash transfer, Free
TechChange The Art of Advocacy Webinar: Social media, information campaigns, outreach, Free
TechChange Open Government Informational Video: Open government, Citizen reporting, Free
TechChange Digital Organizing and Open Government Informational Video: Open government, Citizen reporting, Free
TechChange TC109: Technology for Conflict Management and Peacebuilding Online Course: GIS, Participatory Mapping, conflict analysis, $445
TechChange TC103: Tech Tools and Skills for Emergency Management Online Course: Crisis mapping, crowd mapping, $445
TechChange TC309: mHealth- Mobile Phones for Public Health Online Course mHealth and Public Health, $445
TechChange TC110: Social Media for Social Change Online Course: Social media platforms, big data, strategy, $445
TechChange TC105: Mobiles for International Development Online Course: Data collection, banking, agriculture, surveys, $445
TechChange TC141: Mapping for International Development Online Course: GIS, Open data mapping, Ushaidi, $445
TechChange TC104: Digital Organizing and Open Government Online Course: Social Media analytics, big data, crowdhall, capacity building, $445
Keystone Theory of Change, Impact Assessment Consulting and Trainings: Theory of Change and designing impact assessments

Tools and Resources:

Provider Title Description
frog design Collective Action Toolkit Toolkit/worksheets: Participatory/Community planning, ideation, prototyping HCD Toolkit Toolkit/worksheets: Human Centred Design
UNICEF Child-Friendly Technology Framework Toolkit/worksheets: Project design and planning, concept notes
UNICEF mHealth Framework Planning Framework: mHealth project design, stakeholder mapping
Feedback Labs Citizen Reporting Research and blog: Open government, Citizen reporting
mHealth Alliance Various mHealth Research Research and Publications: mHealth applications
mHealth Alliance Health Unbound (HUB) Knowledge Sharing Platform Peer-to-Peer/Communities of Practice: Various mHealth topics
mHealth Alliance mHealth Expert Learning Program (mHELP) Consulting and Toolkits: Aimed at building the expertise and capacity of global health stakeholders using mobile technology for health by connecting them directly to consultations, tools and a network of highly qualified experts in the field.
MIT Comprehensive Initiative on Technology Evaluation M&E Tool:Measuring impact of technology tools.

Sample Terms of Reference:

UNICEF Global Innovations has compiled sample Terms of Reference for Innovation Lab staff. The following could be useful for subject matter-specific competencies:

  • Full Time Designer
  • Program Office for Youth Engagement
  • Ushaidi Mapping Deployment

See the sample ToRs here:

For more information:

Weekly T4D/Innovation Insights & Updates #6

Happy Friday! I’m pleased to share with you the featured conversation on the World Bank’s Striking Poverty website, “Ecosystems for Innovation and the Role of Innovation Labs.” The online discussion features UNICEF’s Chris Fabian, the Director of the World Bank Innovation Labs, Aleem Walji, and Maria May the Programme Manager for BRAC’s Social Innovation Lab talking about innovation and the value it brings in humanitarian work.

This is an ongoing conversation and so far the question posed to the discussants is “What is social innovation and why does it matter?”

Maria May: “Innovation should enable us to do more with less.”

  • “At its core, innovation is a form of problem solving. It can mean combining existing resources in a novel way (perhaps drawing from practices in another sector), adding a few new ingredients to a solution, or understanding a context in a way that others failed to. For organizations, it is best viewed as a process over time vs. an outcome, even though the outcome is what is most visible and tangibly useful.”

Aleem Alwaji: “Innovation is a muscle. It takes work to make it strong.”

  • “You can start experimenting, taking measured risks, and co-creating with clients in a way that gets you past the paradigm-changing moment. I think of it as the ‘disrupt or be disrupted’ moment. If you don’t reinvent yourself at these key moments, you guarantee your obsolescence. We need space and time to experiment and learn. We need accountability and opportunity. We need discipline and experimentation. We need to measure and we need to learn from failure. That’s the heart of innovation.

Chris Fabian: “Doing something new or different that adds concrete value.”

  • “In order for this new, different work to matter to an organization it needs to 1) be useful, 2) be recognized and 3) be counted/countable. The labs help us do these three things from the point of strength of the organization – which is, for UNICEF, its 135 country offices.”
  • Innovation Labs offer “A world of connected problem solvers, creating solutions in humanity’s most difficult operating environments, with the ability to scale successes and learn from failures is the only way that we will be able to solve the set of problems that many would have considered impossible only a few years ago.

This is an on-going discussion, so be sure to check out website for forthcoming questions and answering from the star discussants. Also, we heard form Aleem Alwaji and Chris Fabian a couple of weeks back on scaling innovation and how that can be done in large organizations.

Happy reading!

Themes from our Capacity Building Workshop

In October, the ESAR Office hosted a T4D Capacity Building workshop which brought together programme and ICT staff from 19 of our 21 country offices to discuss the both challenges and possible solutions for managing and scaling T4D and innovation projects. The workshop served as a good platform for information sharing and learning between country offices.

We are pleased to share the post-workshop report which serves as a summary of the sessions and discussions during the workshop. It offers a brief analysis of the common challenges met by Country Offices during T4D implementation, some practical examples and opportunities for integrating T4D into programmes, and a summary of the tools proposed to assist with T4D project management. Finally, it summarizes the key outcomes and offers a roadmap for future support from the Regional Office: ESARO T4D Capacity Building Workshop Report

To learn more about the individual sessions, check out the presentation put together by our facilitation partner for this workshop, ThoughtWorks, which highlights the main points of each session: T4D Synthesis-FINAL

We would like to thank all of our participants, especially those who shared case studies from their offices. Whether or not you attended the workshop, we hope this report will serve as a learning opportunity and spark discussion for those working on T4D and innovation initiatives.