The INIT was approached by Department of International Development (DFID), Pakistan in pursuit of developing a five-year Country Development Strategy for Pakistan. The aim was to conduct a diagnostic looking at Pakistan’s current digital priorities and future. The INIT team comprising of Mr. Tahir Naeem and Dr. Akber Gardezi visited the DFID Pakistan office and briefed the executive management of DFID on the digital priorities of Pakistan and the support required for the next five years.
The INIT team appreciated the DFID’s focus on technology as a way through which Pakistan’s development can be enhanced. The INIT further suggested an approach focusing primarily on some of the most marginalized groups i.e. people with disabilities, women and girls, those living in rural areas, and refugees. As in many countries there have been ICT initiatives that focused on education or health, but rarely an integrated and holistic approach was adopted for the needs of the marginalized communities. Hence, it was suggested to focus on a holistic digital approach for the needs of these communities as being part of the upcoming strategy.
Whilst discussions entailed, it was also suggested that DFID could make a significant impact in Pakistan in helping the government address the needs of vast numbers of people with disabilities in the country through the use of digital technologies.
INIT also expressed concerns about many of the ways in which ICTs have been used in development issues on the past in the field of education. One of the concerns discussed in detail was the lack of credible data and it was proposed that the new DFID’s ICT-education hub could be used to gather evidence. As the real concern about the lack of reliable evidence about what works in ICT for development leads to downgrading the quality of Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) in the sector.
The remarks by INIT were appreciated by the attending members of the DFID team and triggered an interactive Question and Answer session at the end.