Shifting the Needle

by | Nov 1, 2019 | ICT4D |

A few days ago I wrote about the opportunity to go beyond compliance when thinking about consent. I wanted to explore more about what a different approach might look like and what might be holding us back. What would our approach look like if consent was something we sought after, that was desirable? What would we be shifting to?

Perhaps we would be monitoring whether or not people understood how we were using their data. And when our monitoring revealed some people did not, we’d go back and try again. Perhaps we’d take an educational approach. And we’d grade ourselves not them.

Maybe our glorious logframes should have an objective about what level of understanding those we work have. And another regarding the access they have to the data we collect about them. An indicator can be how often they ask to see their data trail or asked to be ‘forgotten’. And maybe even another objective can be about our ability to offer alternatives to digital registration and activity capture.

In the end, it seems to be about trust, about relationships, about being human. Going digital should not strip out our humanity. Going digital should reduce the mundane tasks so that we can be more human. So that our frontline staff have more time to connect, to empathise, to be human with those affected.

Figuring out how to shift from our legacy systems and our need to comply with donor requirements is hard work. And yes to change how we interact with those we seek to serve requires time and money. Implementing projects is all about trade offs.

So perhaps it helps if we ask, “what are we choosing to spend our time and money instead of this?” And then go deeper by asking ‘why have we made that choice?’ And keeping asking ‘why’ a few times. But then we also need to test or check our assumptions because our answers will be full of them.

The easy answer will be to blame the donor. But have we asked the donor if she would fund this approach? Have we discussed it with her?

The choice is up to you.

Photo by Kai Dahms


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