Digital Development Awards

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From 2013-2017, el Centro de Información y Educación para la Prevención del Abuso de Drogas (CEDRO) built 38 technology centers (telecenters) in the regions of San Martín, Huánuco and Ucayali. / Jack Gordon, USAID
Photo: Jack Gordon / USAID

USAID is working toward a future where digital technology empowers all, especially the most vulnerable. In an effort to recognize USAID Missions, Bureaus and implementing partners helping countries on their Journey to Self-Reliance through the use of digital technologies, the U.S. Global Development Lab launched the 2020 Digital Development Awards (The Digis). 

2020 Digital Development Awards

The Digis recognize and celebrate USAID-funded projects and activities that use digital technology to sustain open, secure, and inclusive digital ecosystems that improve measurable development and humanitarian-assistance outcomes. 

Digital ecosystems—the stakeholders, systems, and enabling environment that together empower people and communities to use digital technology to access services, engage with each other, or pursue economic opportunities—hold immense potential to help people live more free and prosperous lives. 

These ecosystems can help drive economic empowerment and financial inclusion, advance national security, support accountability and transparency in governance, and make development and humanitarian assistance more efficient and effective. 

The application for the 2020 Digital Development Awards is now closed. Please check back for updates on the winners!

Who Is Eligible To Enter?

The Digis will be awarded to USAID-funded projects and activities. An individual from USAID or any USAID partner organization that has implemented or is currently implementing a USAID-funded project can submit an application on behalf of the project. Implementing partners submitting an application should consult with their appropriate USAID point of contact.  

All USAID staff and implementing partners working on a USAID-funded project are encouraged to apply, regardless of the size, region, or portfolio of the activity. Applications are open to USAID-funded projects and activities that have directly deployed a digital technology or suite of technologies and those that have provided support to digital ecosystem actors to extend digital technology access and/or uptake. Digital ecosystem actors include technology providers, financial service providers, government agencies, or other entities that are either deploying digital technology solutions or developing policies/regulations that enable increased access and uptake. USAID implementing partners, Foreign Service Nationals, Mission and Bureau staff, and U.S. Personal Services Contractors are strongly encouraged to submit applications. 

What Categories Can We Enter?

The Digital Development Awards (Digis) will recognize USAID-funded activities that focus on: 

  • Digital ecosystem support: A digital ecosystem comprises the stakeholders, systems, and enabling environment that together empower people and communities to use digital technology to access services, engage with each other, or pursue economic opportunities. 

  • Digital technology deployment: The term “digital technology” not only describes a type of technology but also refers to the platforms, processes, and range of technologies that underpin modern information and communications technologies (ICT), including the Internet and mobile phone platforms, as well as advanced data infrastructure and analytical approaches.

How Will The Applications Be Judged?

The applications will be judged based on four criteria: 

  • Criteria 1 - Integration: The digital technology or digital ecosystem deployment was integrated into the strategy, design and implementation of a USAID activity which contributes in a measurable way toward achieving the development objective(s). 
  • Criteria 2 - Principles for Digital Development: The activity aligns with the Principles for Digital Development in strategy, design, and implementation. 
  • Criteria 3 - Impact & Sustainability: The activity has demonstrated significant impact and sustainability after USAID support ends.  
  • Criteria 4 - Inclusive Development: If the activity is entered into the digital ecosystem support category, the activity should show significant action to increase equitable use of digital technologies and ensure communities and organizations are using the digital technology securely and responsibly. If the activity is entered into the digital technology deployment category, the activity should show significant effort to strengthen and/or support private sector-led engagement in the digital economy and support public institutions' capacity or efforts to strengthen the digital economy.

What Are Some Example Projects?

The following examples are intended to provide potential applicants for the 2020 Digital Development Awards with an understanding of how other USAID projects, including several past winners, fit within this year’s two categories: digital ecosystem support and digital technology deployment. These examples are meant to be illustrative and do not reflect the breadth of all types of projects and activities that fit within this year’s focus. In addition, it is important to note that past Digital Development Awards did not use the same criteria as this year’s awards.

What Recognition Will The Winners Receive?

Winners will receive Agency recognition and public visibility for their groundbreaking work. This could include the following: 

  • Profile in “Digital Development at USAID” publication;

  • An invitation for one representative to attend a Digital Development Training; or 

  • Award or Certificate of Appreciation

  • Blog post featuring the winners’ work.

More Questions?

Last updated: June 24, 2020

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