Media CenterConnectivity and Ultra-Low Cost Smartphones Score As Top Trends, Data Security Biggest Risk, in ICT International Survey

Photo by Katie Price/CRS

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Tom Price
Catholic Relief Services
[email protected]
(443) 951-7245


Full Results Announced At ICT4D Conference 2018, May 8-10, Lusaka, Zambia

LUSAKA, Zambia, May 8, 2018 – A major international survey of the humanitarian relief and development sector has tagged connectivity and ultra-low cost smartphones as the leading trends in information and communications technology for development (ICT4D) in 2018. Data analytics also scored highly and was closely followed by geospatial analysis/mapping.

“I was encouraged by the popularity of connectivity and super-budget smartphones,” said Michele Broemmelsiek, Vice-President for Overseas Operations with Catholic Relief Services (CRS).  “This means getting the internet and devices with browsers to currently disconnected communities who could benefit hugely from information on everything from severe weather warnings to education on health and agriculture.”

The biggest concern when using ICT4D was information security/data privacy, followed by the retention of skilled staff. The leading driver or enabler of ICT use in the relief and development sector was seen as the need for easier tools for data collection and analysis in programs.

The survey was carried out by Devex in April 2018, and was compiled from 619 responses from senior development professionals in donor agencies, government, development consulting firms, NGOs, foundations and corporations. Read a summary of the results.

“As ICT professionals who rely on data to inform our decisions, we have a real lack of data of how our sector as a whole sees and uses ICT4D,” said Broemmelsiek. “This survey is a start to remedying that and will be a great resource for everyone at the ICT4D Conference and beyond.”

The survey also identified a gulf between those who commonly use ICT and those who use it rarely. ICT use was split between those who use it in more than half of their programs – 36% of respondents – and those who use it in less than half – 64% of respondents.

Other results include:

  • The biggest benefits of ICT4D were seen as timely data and higher quality data.
  • Over half of respondents (51%) either had a centralized ICT4D unit or were working towards this.
  • Forty-four percent of those surveyed use different software and devices across the organization and make decisions as they see fit, while 28% chose from a central set of tools that are supported by the organization and do not have the liberty to choose other tools.
  • Just 13% of respondents do not follow the Principles for Digital Development. All other respondents either endorsed the principles (17%), promote and try to follow (20%), promote and proactively follow (23%), or take a best effort approach to adhere (27%).

Eighty-five percent of survey respondents were senior or executive level development professionals.

The ICT4D Conference is the largest event of its kind for the humanitarian development sector and in 2018 it takes place in Lusaka, Zambia, May 8-10. This 10th ICT4D conference brings together over 600 ICT experts, program managers and senior executives from 80 countries, from NGO staff to academics, technology business leaders, governments and UN agencies. For more information go to, and follow #ICT4D2018 on Twitter.  

Read a summary of the results. For full survey results and interviews please contact Tom Price in Lusaka, Zambia: [email protected], +1 443 951 7245.


Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding. For more information, please visit or and follow CRS on social media: Facebook, @CatholicRelief@CRSnewsYouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.

Tags: ICT4D
CRS Staff
May 7, 2018