Tag Archives: capacity building

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 unicef.skillport.com):

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: http://www.unicefinnovationlabs.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/TOR-Annex.pdf

For more information:


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.

T4D Capacity Building Workshop – Nairobi, Kenya

Between October 22 and October 25 the Eastern and Southern African Regional Office facilitated a T4D capacity building workshop in Nairobi, Kenya. Participants came from 19 countries in the region as well as the Western and Central African Region and ICT Headquarters, representing a mix of both programme and ICT specialists. Over four days we learned about the essentials of the T4D toolbox, challenges that arise when integrating technology into programmes, and moreover, how we can advance T4D across the region, and ultimately, better achieve programme aims and meet beneficiaries’ need.

Common themes that emerged throughout the workshop and were discussed frequently: the need for cross-section and cross-country collaboration, thinking about scale from the beginning, sound project management, leadership, local and government ownership of initiatives, evidence-based approach, and technology choice.

Below you can find a brief overview of what was discussed each day and some key take away points.

Day 1: Setting Context and Sharing Experiences

The first day of the workshop was used to set the scene about T4D and Innovation initiatives throughout the region. We spent a lot of the day exploring the challenges surrounding T4D through case studies on specific projects that “failed.” Through a variety of sessions and activities we began to better understand why projects fail, and moreover, what lessons we can take away from the mistakes to help develop successful initiatives in the future.

Day 2: Opportunities for Integrating T4D in Programmes

After sketching the T4D landscape through learning about the challenges that arise when trying to integrate T4D into programme delivery, we spent the day talking about the bigger picture of how T4D can complement and not hinder programme delivery. The day’s sessions focused on some of the basic nuts and bolts of T4D in programmes by looking at the processes behind T4D. Take away from the day? Progamme comes first. Only after the programme section knows their needs, can one think about integrating the tech.

Day 3:  Working with External Partners and Vendors

During the third day we got down to the nitty gritty and really began looking at the basic roles and techniques used in business analysis and software development. We learned that the most successful projects have well-defined programme objectives and a clear project management plan. There are a host of external partners and vendors in the T4D spaces, and choosing tools and technology must be based on context. Learning about the various internal and external tools and technologies is crucial when designing a project, and can be the difference between a project that is successful and one from which we can learn lessons.

Day 4: Alternative Solutions

On the last day we looked beyond the traditional T4D initiatives and widened our horizons about T4D potential. The Intro to Human Centred Design was an excellent closing session for us to reflect back on what T4D can help programme sections accomplish. Lesson learned: programmes should be designed around the end-users. We closed the workshop with looking at the Regional Office next steps and received feedback on how we can best support T4D within country offices.

We hope everyone had a great week and a huge thank you to our facilitators and participants!

Welcome to T4D and Innovation in UNICEF ESAR

Over the last few months the Eastern and Southern Regional Office has recognized the growing trend of Technology for Development (T4D) and Innovation projects across the region. Since T4D and Innovation are cross-cutting and cross-sectorial, which is challenging the traditional programme landscape within UNICEF, the Regional Office is striving to tackle this emerging challenge. Specifically, the Regional Office has identified three areas to support T4D:

  • To assist the country offices with the identification, assessment, and integration of ICT into UNICEF programming
  • To strengthen internal capacity to lead and support T4D related projects
  • To maximize potential for T4D scale-up and roll out and increase portability from one country to another

To address the rising need in the region for T4D support and advancement we are raising awareness, formalizing processes, and creating best practices. We recently completed a survey in the region and collected information on over 60 T4D/Innovation initiatives in 18 countries across Eastern and Southern Africa. We have found that programme sections are using mobile phones (both smart and basic) to collect data, send reminders to pregnant mothers for prenatal care, deliver results of Early Infant Diagnosis HIV testing, and include youths in opinion polls.

Over the next couple of months this blog will be a repository for information. The idea is to include links to informative videos and sites and report what is happening throughout the region.

To begin here is a link to a great video that sets the scene about the opportunities and challenges within the T4D space: