Please note: This archive was last updated in 2005.

RHO archives : Topics : Information and Communication Tech.


Updated December 12, 2004

The annotated links on this page are organized into the following categories:

For a list of ICT applications that can benefit reproductive health activities (including examples), see Table 1. For general reproductive health links, go to the RH Resources page.

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If you know of a resource to be included in this list, please send the URL (web address) and a description to: [email protected].


Advocacy Project
The Advocacy Project provides eRiders to project partners. They provide consulting and assistance with technology strategy development, make multiple visits to the organizations they serve, and provide advice and information by telephone and email. They can serve regional constituencies by traveling from a central location. Riders may even "cross-pollinate" the groups they service, by transmitting insights, tools, and tips as they travel throughout the sector.

The Advocacy Project was formed in 1998 to serve the needs of civil societyparticularly community-based advocates for peace and human rights. They give special attention to helping new networks become self-sufficient in the use of information and communications technologies (ICTs). A nonprofit organization, the Advocacy Project is based in Washington, DC is an international nonprofit organization with a mission to help people in developing countries use ICT to improve their lives. They promote real access to ICT by researching, testing, and promoting best practices for sustainable, empowering technology use. Their projects represent a comprehensive approach to the range of problems of the digital divide. They publish a free IT guide and other reports on information technology issues in developing countries.

Communication Initiative
The Communication Initiative is committed to a form of horizontal support that allows each person and organization accessing this online resource to highlight and link to the opportunities and people that might be helpful to them. This rich and varied website includes news, program reports, summaries of international trend data, overviews of change theory, online conversations, and surveys. The iniative also produces the Drum Beat (, a weekly email newsletter providing communication, social change, development, and health news.

Digital Dividend Clearinghouse
The Digital Dividend Clearinghouse contains almost 800 digital or digitally-enabled projects providing access, services, or enabling tools to underserved populations in developing countries. The organizations twin goals are to serve as a knowledge base for those interested in developing sustainable business models to bridge the global digital divide, and to facilitate networking among those stakeholders. The website collects project descriptions and interactive lists of ideas. Publications include analysis of the use of ICTs in activities such as e-commerce, NGO capacity building, and women's empowerment. They also publish the Digital Dividend Digest.

The Digital Opportunity Task Force (Dot Force)
DOT Force investigated activities that could address the digital divide, as mandated by the Okinawa Charter on the Global Information Society, which was adopted by leaders at the G8 Kyushu-Okinawa Summit in July 2000. DOT Force presented the conclusions of its work in a report and proposed a nine-point action planthe Genoa Plan of Actionboth of which were fully endorsed by G8 leaders at their 2001 Genoa Summit. The DOT Force original membership includes stakeholders from G8 and developing-country governments, private and not-for-profit sectors, and international organizations.

Exchange is an innovative networking and learning program on health communication supported by the U.K. Department for International Development. They promote learning and encourage sharing of information about effective health communication, undertake advocacy to engender a more favorable climate in which health communication activities can flourish, and maintain a brokerage role to help match health communication needs to available resources. They focus on learning and the process of communication rather than simply focusing on outcomes. They have published the several "lunch time discussions on ICT use with developing-country participants. Publications on their site include an evaluation of the Healthlink Worldwide program (formerly Ahrtag).

HealthLink, a program of the NGO Health Systems Trust (HST) in South Africa, uses the Internet to promote equitable and comprehensive health care in South Africa. HealthLink furnishes information and support to all levels of the health system. It disseminates health and health systems information through its website, supports the websites of other health NGOs and research institutions, provides basic communication to remote areas through an offline email network, trains workers to use the email system, and runs email discussion groups on a variety of pressing health issues confronting the country.

Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative (HINARI)
HINARI, a World Health Organization (WHO) initiative, provides free or nearly free access to more than 2,000 scientific publications in biomedical and related social sciences to public institutions in developing countries. The Health InterNetwork has brought together public and private partners under the principle of ensuring equitable access to health information. The core elements of the project are content, Internet connectivity, and capacity building. This collection of journals is available through the efforts of WHO together with the six biggest biomedical publishers: Blackwell, Elsevier Science, the Harcourt Worldwide STM Group, Wolters Kluwer International Health & Science, Springer Verlag, and John Wiley. Public institutions in two groups of countries can sign up for this initiative. The country lists are based on gross national product (GNP) per capita. Institutions in countries with GNP per capita below US$1,000 are eligible for free access to the literature. Institutions in countries with GNP per capita between US$1,000 and $3,000 are eligible for access at reduced prices. Within these countries, HINARI will benefit bona fide academic, research, and government institutions. Schools of medicine, nursing, public health, and pharmacy; universities; health and medical research institutes; government offices working in the health sector; and medical libraries are all eligible.

INASP-Health is an innovative cooperative network based in Oxford, United Kingdom, with a membership of more than 1,000 organizations and individuals worldwide. They work to improve access to relevant, reliable information for health professionals in developing and emerging countries. They offer workshops through their Health Information Forum (HIF) series of thematic workshops, the "HIF-net at WHO" electronic discussion group, a directory of health care professionals working to improve access to health information, and numerous publications. They also facilitate one-to-one partnerships between libraries in developed and developing countries.

The INFO Project expands on the work of its predecessor, the Population Information Program (PIP). The INFO family of products and services includes POPLINE, Population Reports, Essentials of Contraceptive Technology, International Family Planning Perspectives, and Photoshare, a database of photos available for nonprofit use in development programs worldwide. Project staff also produce Your Family Health, a series of informative radio spots that deliver useful, factual family planning messages in engaging formats on popular radio. The Pop Reporter, a weekly e-zine, links to the latest research and news reports on reproductive health and related topics, and the Reproductive Health Gateway is a portal that allows users to search more than 65 specially selected websites with a reproductive health focus.

The infoDev program is managed by the World Bank. Its activities focus on creating and disseminating knowledge about ICT for development, notably through special initiatives in a limited number of areas of strategic importance for developing countries. Reports from health-related projects, symposium follow up, and e-readiness documents are available in the infoDev library.

Ninth Bridge
Ninth Bridge, a nonprofit program of EngenderHealth, offers strategic technology planning, systems development, and field support for international NGOs. Their eRider program provides dedicated service to a single NGO, or on a "roaming" basis to a group of agencies in a specific sector or region. Through sharing the cost of the eRider, an appropriate level of tech support is made affordable to a group of NGOs.

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Development Gateway
The Development Gateway is an independent not-for-profit organization initially developed in the World Bank. The Development Gateway website provides a space for communities to share experiences on multi-sector development efforts. It is an excellent website for building partnerships and networking and also for demonstrating the relationships and synergies between development topics.  It is possible to sign up for email notification of the new documents that are frequently added to the Topic pages and Country pages. Of particular interest:

  • ICT for Development
    The ICT for Development topic page is a major interactive resource that collects documents and program examples that relate to effective use and best practices for ICT access and capacity for all development sectors.
  • Population and Reproductive Health
    This section of the Development Gateway contains more than 2,700 documents on all aspects of population and reproductive health. ICT applications are found in the sections on Population-Related Discussion Lists, Listservs & e-Journals, and Technology, Research and Development.

HIF-net at WHO
HIF-net at WHO is an email discussion list for providers and users of health information in resource-poor settings. The list is moderated, focused, and text-only. The list has more than 1,000 subscribers worldwide, including health professionals, librarians, publishers, NGOs, and international agencies; more than 40 percent of subscribers are in developing and emerging countries.

Database of Global Knowledge for Development
The Global Knowledge for Development List (GKD) was established to facilitate broad discussion of the role and impact of knowledge, including information and communications technologies, for sustainable development. With more than 2,500 members from more than 100 countries, GKD offers a major forum for the exchange of experience and knowledge. GKD examines a range of themes related to the use of ICTs for development, and they have posted an archive of messages. GKD is a moderated email discussion group focusing how best to use information technology to improve education, health, and economic development.

SATELLIFE has specially designed a suite of electronic information service tools to help connect health workers with each other and with relevant, useful, and reliable sources of knowledge. These tools include a series of discussion groups on specific health topics, small publications featuring clinical and public health material, and an email tool called GetWeb that retrieves web content. They also have projects using handheld computers.

Women'sNet is a vibrant and innovative networking support program designed to enable South African women to use the Internet to find the people, issues, resources, and tools needed for women's social activism. Its mission is to empower South African women to use ICTs in advancing women's equality.

World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)
The World Summit on the Information Society has two phases. The first phase of WSIS, in December 2003, addressed the broad range of themes concerning the Information Society and adopted a Declaration of Principles ( and Plan of Action. The second phase will take place in Tunis November 16-18, 2005. The Summit addresses the challenges and opportunities of the information society on economic and social development and provides a vision for future development that will enable the majority of the world's people to enjoy the flow of information and ideas.


Digital Dividend Digest
The Digital Dividend Digest is a biweekly email newsletter, featuring new Digital Dividend Clearinghouse project highlights, clearinghouse data analysis and What Works studies, information about partners, and special opportunities from Digital Dividends and other organizations.

The Findings series aims to reflect experience, evidence, and analysis, and to generate dialogue. It does not aim to be comprehensive. Findings is published by Exchange, a networking and learning program on health communication, and is supported by the UK Department for International Development.

GlobetrottereRider Online Community Digest
A monthly highlight of projects and resources in the ICT/development community, Globetrotter is distributed by the Advocacy Project and funded by the Open Society Institutes ICTs for Civil Society Program.

iConnect is a monthly email digest of information about ways in which ICTs contribute to sustainable development. Issues are also available on the iConnect website.


DELIVER project
The DELIVER project at John Snow, Inc. has several software packages for managing contraceptive procurement.

Epi Info
With Epi Info 2002 and a personal computer, epidemiologists and other public health and medical professionals can rapidly develop a questionnaire or form, customize the data entry process, and enter and analyze data. Epidemiologic statistics, tables, graphs, and maps are produced with simple commands such as READ, FREQ, LIST, TABLES, GRAPH, and MAP. Epi Map 2002 displays geographic maps with data from Epi Info 2002.

Knowledge Asset Development System (pKADS)
Knowledge Asset Development System (pKADS), is open source software developed by UNFPA, the University College Cork Business Information Systems, the Government of Ireland and the Government of Jordan.

Stories, champions

Rowing Upstream
This inspirational reading of the early days of ICT development in Africa is highly recommended. As one of its chapter introductions states, Taken together, these stories give us a context for those far-off daysreally just about ten or eleven years agowhen ICT was beginning to take root on the continent. Not surprisingly, all of the authors stressed the importance of ICT in their lives, despite numerous obstacles that included lack of funding, bad telephone lines and pitifully slow modems. As these stories indicate, despite Africas poor infrastructure, email was immediately seen as an essential means of communication, a recognition that came more decisively than it did overseas, where mail does not take years to reach its destination.

ICT Stories Project
This site hosts more than 300 stories of ICT projects that capture the learning process that accompanies the introduction and implementation of ICTs in development. The project is a partnership of Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP), infoDev, and the International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD). The stories come from all sectors and regions of the world.

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