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BRIEF October 9, 2018

BBL: ICT for Governance and Accountability in Education Lessons from a Mobile Platform in the DRC

ICT for Governance and Accountability in Education:
Lessons from a Mobile Platform “Allô, École!” in the DRC 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017  | 12:30 – 2:00pm (EST)
Venue:  J7-044 and WB5-00 (Kinshasa)

Mobile phones, which are increasingly ubiquitous even in very challenging, low-income operating environments, can provide a cost-effective means to enhance oversight over education sector. That said, the usability, scalability, and sustainability of ICT tools depends on the institutional fit with the governance and incentive structure created within the sector in each national context.

This BBL will explore the challenges, achievements and lessons of the voice-activated (IVR) accountability platform “Allô, Ecole!”, which is being used to enhance governance in the education sector of the DRC by collecting and sharing data quickly and easily with a variety of stakeholder groups. It utilizes mobile phones to involve parents – including those with low levels of literacy – in the oversight of education provision, creating channels and space for targeted redress. The platform has been built together with the MOE to address specific needs in the DRC, with full participation of local NGOs and communities.  

The team will share very practical insights from the development and utilization of this platform over the past two years, and offer advice for TTLs on how to best take advantage of emerging ICT solutions in challenging operating contexts in ways that are effective, low cost and practical. Experience from “Allô, École!” in the DRC demonstrates the importance of both context-appropriate human-centered design and of aligning administrative incentives to facilitate post-project organic development of the platform. While choosing the right digital technologies is important, there are no shortcuts to the painstaking analog work with people and institutions required to trigger the potentially transformative powers, and to sustain them over time.

Questions to be explored:

  • How did the team introduce and sustain the “Allô, École!”, the Education Governance Platform in the DRC – and what did they learn along the way?
  • What are some of the most important, appropriate models and techniques of successfully transplanting and routinizing ICT practices in the top-down, historically non-transparent context of a traditional sectoral ministry in a low-income country?
  • In low literate operating contexts, how can Interactive Voice Response (IVR) be utilized as a powerful pro-poor mobile technology for public service delivery in Sub-Saharan Africa, provided it is carefully combined with institutional adjustments at the analog levels.

Related links:

About the Presenters: 

Jim Brumby is a Director of the Governance Global Practice, and leads the department that focuses on public sector reform. He has been engaged on public management and economic reform at state, national and international levels for more than thirty years, having worked for the Treasury of the state of Victoria in Australia, the Treasury of New Zealand, the OECD, the IMF and currently since 2007, at the World Bank. He returned to World Bank headquarters in Washington DC in 2015 after a period in Indonesia as Lead Economist and Sector Manager. He holds an MPA from Harvard University. 

Dr. Chiara Bronchi is a Practice Manager for the Public Sector and Institutions and Financial Accountability and Reporting group in the Governance Global Practice of the World Bank. She leads a team of experts that provides technical and analytical assistance to the governments of Western, Central and South Africa on Public Sector Management, Public Administration, Public Finance and Fiscal Policy and Judiciary reforms as well as e-Government and Open government reforms. Dr. Bronchi has over twenty years professional experience in economic policy analysis, including macroeconomics and fiscal policy, public expenditure management and associated research with the British Government, the OECD, the IMF and the World Bank. Over 10 year field-based management experience in leading innovative operations to support economic development in poor countries with fragile and post-conflict settings in the Balkans, Central Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Dr. Bronchi holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Bologna, and an MA in economics from University College of London. She is the author of publication on fiscal and public expenditure policies.

Maria Amelina is a Senior Governance Specialist. She currently works on countries in Central and Eastern Africa concentrating on sector governance particularly in fragile settings. In her World Bank career Maria Amelina has focused on issues of decentralization, local development, demand-driven governance and accountability. She has led operational and analytical engagements in East-Central Europe developing innovative operations expanding civic engagement and participatory budgeting. Most recently she has concentrated on the analytical and operational aspects of the use of ICTs for enhanced transparency and accountability of service delivery. Maria Amelina holds a Ph.D. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, jointly administered by Harvard and Tufts Universities.

Samuel Mwimba Asumani is a Platform Engineer of VOTO Mobile Inc. based in Kinshasa, the DRC. Before joining VOTO, Samuel worked as a VSAT Engineer at Sattel International, Manager at Startimes RDC, Project and Production Manager at Vodacom DRC. He speaks French, Lingala, Swahili, English, and Spanish.

Levi Goertz is COO of VOTO Mobile, a fast growing social enterprise with offices in Canada, India, Kenya, Senegal, Ghana the US, and Zimbabwe specializing in interactive voice calls (IVR) and SMS in local languages, instantly reaching across distance and literacy barriers. In this capacity Levi oversees the implementation of all VOTO's projects including those on data collection, behaviour change communication and citizen participation. Before joining VOTO, Levi was Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company, and Director of Canadian Programs at Engineers without Borders. He holds an MBA from University of California, Berkeley and a Bachelor in Engineering from University of Saskatchewan.

Tim Kelly is a Lead ICT Policy Specialist with the World Bank’s ICT sector department and infoDev. He led programs on Creating Sustainable Businesses for the Knowledge Economy and eTransform Africa. He was formerly Head of the Strategy and Policy Unit of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and previously worked with the OECD and Logica Consultancy Ltd. He has written or co-authored more than 30 books on the subject of economics of information and communication technologies including the World Bank’s "Building Broadband", ITU’s "Internet Reports" and "World Telecommunication Development Report" and OECD’s "Communications Outlook". He has an MA (Hons) degree in geography and a PhD in industrial economics from Cambridge University.

Toby Linden has worked for the World Bank since 1998 and is a Lead Education Specialist. He currently works on countries in Southern and Eastern Africa, but also heads up a regional program in mathematics and science education. In his Bank career he has focused on the countries of South East and Central Europe as well as India. He also was on secondment from the Bank to serve as Director of the Roma Education Fund, an international NGO working to improve the educational outcomes Roma (Gypsies), the poorest minority in Europe.

Ornella Nsoki, Education Consultant and ICT for Accountability in Education Technical Assistance Coordinator, Governance GP. Other than being a core member to the project, Ornella Nsoki is also a Founder and Executive Director of NZOLANI NGO, a non-profit organisation that aims to empower underprivileged youth, women and children through providing quality education. For her achievements Ornella won a Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leadership, thus becoming a YALI Fellow.