Software Development

Development Gateway designs software systems and web platforms that help clients to manage information. Solutions are comprehensive and tailored, accounting for the unique needs and priorities of each client. Development Gateway has built and operated interactive websites in a number of rapidly evolving technologies, and has considerable experience in integrating a wide variety of open source and proprietary components into complex, but readily usable solutions for challenging environments, such as post-conflict countries. The goal is to streamline information management so that system users can access and manipulate information quickly and efficiently.

 

[toggle]Mobile Application

With the recent convergence of web and mobile phone technologies, it is now possible to add mobile phone-based data collection features to existing or new management information systems. Development Gateway uses the open source mobile solutions of the Open Mobile Consortium, including JavaRosa, Mobilisr, Mesh4X, OpenDataKit, Rapid Android, RapidSMS and others. These have been extensively field-tested in more than twenty developing countries. Currently, Development Gateway is working with partners Ushahidi and UNICEF to test ideas for mobile phone-based data collection and "crowdsourcing."

Development Gateway has already developed mobile applications for two of its programs, the Aid Management Program and AidData. Mobile applications utilizing GIS mapping capabilities and geocoding are currently under development.

[toggle]Custom E-Government Solutions

Development Gateway works closely with clients to create custom e-government solutions for developing country governments and aid donors.  These have been implemented on a variety of different open-source technologies and platforms such as Drupal, Typo3 (PHP), Alfresco (Java) or OpenERP (Python). Each of these, in turn, relies on a large number of other open source projects as building blocks.

For example, dgMarket is an e-procurement solution that helps donors and developing countries connect on tenders for development-related activities. dgMarket helps level the playing field by aggregating tender opportunities from many of the largest providers of development-related requests for proposals and making them accessible in a central location. dgMarket has been customized for dozens of governments and agencies, including the Millennium Challenge Corporation and the World Bank.

[toggle]Project and Financial Management

Development Gateway helps promote aid effectiveness, good governance, and donor coordination through the implementation of e-government solutions for aid and financial management. The Aid Management Platform (AMP) is a web-based e-government solution that builds the management capacity and reporting capabilities of developing country governments. The AMP allows the government and donors to manage aid flows into the country as well as generate reports, develop visualizations, and conduct analyses. Quickly deployable, it supports a country’s national development framework, reduces administrative costs, and enables close coordination with donors.

The Aid Management Program satisfies a wide range of information management requirements. Recipient governments use AMP to collect information directly from donor agencies on their development aid projects so that they can monitor project implementation, coordinate with donors, and produce more accurate aid and budget reports. This requires open communication channels, databases with advanced security and permissions schemes, automated reporting modules, and key project management features. AMP integrates all of these functions into a central, web-accessible application hosted on a government’s own server, or in the cloud. Information is automatically integrated and standardized so that all relevant actors can access timely, comprehensive, and accurate information.

The Aid Management Platform can be used to manage projects in a variety of contexts, and can be adapted to meet the needs of donor agencies or NGOs that need a centralized way to track and collaborate on development activities. It can also be integrated with financial or statistical systems to provide a more holistic picture of resources, investments, and results.

[toggle]Content Management

Development Gateway has created a number of both custom and public content management systems based on Drupal, Typo3, and other open source platforms. A key example of this work is the free public site Zunia.org, which provides a collaborative online space for professionals working to reduce poverty and promote sustainable development worldwide. Zunia.org brings together over 50,000 members from around the globe to share knowledge, tools, and contacts. Over 80,000 information resource links are included, plus valuable member services (including groups of interests, member profiles, content ranking, email alerts, RSS feeds, etc.).

Development Gateway can provide similar platforms for other organizations interested in leveraging this approach.  Services include designing and developing the technical platform, as well as implementation, maintenance, training, and content management.  Organizations can also obtain content feeds on a  particular topic or theme in order to keep their own websites populated with current content.

[toggle]Collaboration and Knowledge Management

Development Gateway was initially intended to serve as a provider of online knowledge-sharing tools, and this remains one of its main business areas. Customized web portals, intranets, wikis and virtual discussion forums can be designed and hosted in order to facilitate information exchange and networking among members of different types of communities. Access can either be public or restricted.

The UN Teamworks is a recent example of a highly complex, but easy to use Web-based staff collaboration solution. Development Gateway delivered the highly complex, Facebook-like solution in 12 months.  It is now in use by UNDP, UNV, UN-ECA, UN-Energy, the MDG Fund and One UN, and will be expanded gradually to the entire UN system.

At the local level, through the AidData initiative, Development Gateway is working with partners UNICEF and Ushahidi to implement a pilot project to test the potential for “crowdsourcing” information about development activities. If successful, this would enable creation of feedback loops that connect stakeholders to donors and government in order to improve aid outcomes. This feedback is critical for developing effective solutions that fit community needs. Development Gateway has also partnered with Brigham Young University in order to conduct a Randomized-Controlled Trial (RCT) in Uganda to assess the incentives for stakeholders to provide feedback on development projects. The results of the RCT will help inform how to best involve citizens in the development process.

Custom Solution: UN-Energy Portal

In 2010, Development Gateway was contracted by UN-Energy to create an online tool to facilitate knowledge-sharing and collaboration among the 22 UN agencies working on energy issues. The Knowledge Network has explicit and discrete internal and external components. The UN-Energy external portal has been set up to serve as a one-stop-shop on member agencies’ work on energy, and provide a platform for exchanging ideas on current energy issues.

The portal contains a repository of publications and projects of member agencies, automated energy news and event feeds from external websites, an online forum, e-newsletter and links to social networking sites. It was designed to attract a diverse audience, from UN-Energy members to project managers, and from policymakers to the media. The Facebook-like internal features of UN-Energy are provided by a UN-Energy branded version of UN Teamworks to improve knowledge-sharing and collaboration among member agencies.