On Tuesday, we talked a lot about why ICT4D projects fail. We even attempted to watch a YouTube video that detailed the main reasons why ICT4D projects fail but the video failed to load. Hopefully that was just a coincidence.
Failure is not a new thing and it certainly won’t go away anytime soon. But all this talk of failure made me think about what these innovators and social entrepreneurs are doing to combat ICT4D projects that fail. What are they doing to overcome them and how is this impacting development? We are often measured in life in our ability to succeed and overcome failures and the ICT sector is no different. ICT4D projects and the innovators that spearhead these ideas are ambitious and risk takers so it is only natural that failure will come for some if not all. What donors and outsiders looking in need to know about failure in ICT4D projects is that these ventures will not give an immediate return on private investment. But sometimes these development projects are not given the chance to succeed and as a result the social entrepreneurs are forced to omit aspects of their idea and they are not allowed to be as wild and as innovative as they need to be.
I came across the organization Global Fund, a non-profit organization that utilizes a “21st century approach” to combat AIDS, TB and Malaria. The organization has grown immensely since its inception in 2002, currently providing ARV therapy to 6.1 million HIV positive people, they have treated over 11.2 million people with TB and distributed over 360 million insecticide-treated nets. But the organization has not always been a success. In 2011, Global Fund announced that it had mismanaged grant monies and donor funds leading to some countries retracting their support for the organization. But this negative turned to a positive because of the transparency of the organization and their decision to admit the failure. This honesty led to renewed support for the organization as it showed they were willing to admit failure and work to address the problem. Thus, this admission of guilt allow Global Fund to continue to be innovative as support for them increased, which is a win-win for everyone because the social world needs more programs like this to reach their full potential and make a difference in health and medicine.
Lastly, I came across a great site to read individual stories about development failure. The site is a great resource to help us (international development students or people interested in creating development projects) understand why failure is important and what we can learn from others to overcome that failure and succeed: http://www.admittingfailure.com/.