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BarefootLawyers International is a global capacity building organization dedicated to innovative solutions for the legal empowerment of all. We focus especially on poor and vulnerable populations in developing countries, and in finding relevant, local and smart solutions at the intersection of law, innovation and technology.

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Designing for Participation (Part 2)

By Eric Zan

In Part 1 I discussed the value of participation in international development and how it can be problematic.Can leveraging the value of openness in technology create solutions to allow participation to be done in the right way? Perhaps these networking tools that foste rparticipation somehow allow for greater inclusiveness. Well, evidence suggests the same pitfalls of participation in development can be found in a virtually networked community. Online communities become a reflection of the offline society of which it belongs. Tools that facilitate openness and collaboration are subject to reflectingexisting authorityhierarchies that affect who participates and the type of information that is shared.

ICTD in Education – The EcoSchools and EcoZero Model

By Chalenge Masekera

Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” The value of quality education to society can never be underestimated and as long as less developed communities continue receive education that is not at par with their peers, their communities will suffer stunted development. A lot of ICTD in education initiatives have cropped up but a lot implemented solutions that required having computers in a lab. This has often proved expensive to start, run and maintain. The current trends are seeing a shift from this e-learning model that utilizes labs to m-learning (mobile-learning) models without restrictions of location.

Gathering Dust on the Web


By Laurent Arribe

How do worthy report findings transition from a shelf or inbox into actionable projects and meaningful change? Speaking with academics and practitioners alike, I have come across this question in diverse settings over the past year, where a seemingly good idea or technology is suggested through a feasible and well thought-out proposal yet never manages to lift off and help those it was made for. While I cannot enumerate all the potential reasons a good idea might fail to be implemented, a couple major themes have risen over the past semester: identifying and engaging with all stakeholders, reaching out and disseminating findings, and maintaining communications are all vital activities for project implementation. However, a frustration continues to build as I listen to my peers make yet another project recommendation: how many recommendations and findings will be implemented or used to stimulate change?

Hospital OS: An Open Source EMR System based in Thailand


As hospitals and clinics around the world seek to stay abreast of new technologies, some health centers are deprived of even the most basic ICT systems. In rural Thailand, this is especially the case. With their high licensing fees andskilled labor requirements, electronic medical record (EMR) systems are out of reach for many Thai health providers, resulting in less-than-efficient health services and poor interoperability between hospitals and clinics. EMR systems are essential to allowing health centers to store, retrieve, manage, and share patient medical records.

Social Media and Development

By Crysta Highfield

Social media, defined by its interactive nature and user-generated content, has largely been a tool and a toy for the wealthy and bored.  Blogs, photo sharing sites, and online social networking sites have allowed peers (and increasingly organizations and companies) to share thoughts, messages, information, images, and videos.
Development agencies have been utilizing social media for years, using blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms to publicize their vision, purpose, and activities; spread news; build support; attract volunteers and donors; and engage with interested segments of the population.  Of humanitarian agencies, UNICEF is the most ‘liked’ on Facebook (1.2  million+) and the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, is the most ‘followed’ on Twitter (1.2 million+) with the American Red Cross, Doctors without Borders, and the World Food Program among others also having substantial social media followings.

ICTD and Behavioral Economics


By Seema Hari

I really enjoyed writing my last blog post about the intersection of ICTD and the Lean Startup model and combining the learnings from the two classes that I am taking at UC Berkeley. Continuing with that theme, I decided to explore the synergies between ICTD and Behavioral Economics

Aadhar Cards - Good Idea, Failed Execution


By Ruchita Rathi

The government of India initiated Aadhar card (UID project to uniquely & digitally identify people with the prime motive of tracking the social security of an individual. The project is inspired by the Social Security Number (SSN) issued in the USA. The goal of Aadhar project was to disseminate education, health, employment to all the stratas of Indian society.

What is Development?

By Sidee Dlamini

After a year of taking graduate level classes in development, I still have not found the answer to what development is. This is not disappointing to me, but it is rather encouraging. The fact that there is no straight answer to this question confirms that we actually do not know what development is and because we do not know we will keep searching. On the other hand, we could say development is not one simple thing and therefore there are many definitions for it. The latter response also implies that individuals will choose what development means to them and resort to approaching development that way. I will admit that I am not too fond of the second option because it takes away the need to keep learning and exploring alternative definitions.