As countries move towards increasingly digital societies, technology offers an unprecedented opportunity to improve development outcomes across sectors. Yet, given the complexity of the challenges and the myriad actors involved, these developments require weighing benefits and risks of using technology and the data it produces. 

Collaborating with Agency leadership, USAID Missions, and partners in development and the private sector, the Technology Division’s Digital Societies and Governments team within the Bureau of Development, Democracy, Innovation works to advance robust, inclusive and resilient digital societies and governments through responsible data governance and digital government. The team does this by collaborating with stakeholders to build knowledge and address risks and opportunities, as well as providing technical support and resources with the end goal of empowering people to achieve better development outcomes through a more equitable, digitally-enabled world.


Data Governance

From reducing social inequalities to predicting climate change impacts, good data helps address the world’s biggest problems and challenges. Despite the opportunities, data can also be misused. Poorly handled data integrity, data transparency, and data use, can thwart the best development efforts. Investments in data collection, analysis and management are therefore critical not only to USAID’s goals as an agency, but to the success of our stakeholders and other actors. 

Responsible Data Governance provides a framework for approaching the data lifecycle through policies, systems and skills that work together to improve accountability and predictability for data subjects and fiduciaries. We support USAID’s organizational approach to data governance, as well as the national and programmatic data governance initiatives underpinning the digital transformation of our partner countries.

Digital Government Model

Digital technology has transformed most aspects of public and private life, including government. Digital tools and systems have transformed how governments manage daily operations, deliver services, and engage with stakeholders including individuals, businesses, and civil society. 

USAID and development partners are increasingly supporting countries in the process of adopting digital technologies as an integrated part of government strategies–broadly referred to as digital government–while mitigating and avoiding risks. The Digital Government Model provides a basis for establishing a shared understanding and language on the core components of digital government, also known as e-government, including the contextual considerations and foundational elements that influence the success of digital government investments.

Considerations for USAID Mission Staff for Programmatic Emergency Preparedness and Response 

This resource contains steps that can be taken to increase institutional readiness to prevent, detect, and respond to pandemics, and can be repurposed for other emergencies. Information is critical for emergencies ranging from pandemics to earthquakes. Responders and decision makers need detailed and timely data. Communities need access to truthful information to protect themselves and their loved ones. However, responding to an emergency requires a multitude of actors from line ministries, development institutions, emergency response, private sector, and humanitarian organizations, and can attract an influx of funding and new partners. 

Digital Principles How-to Note

What do USAID Activity Design Teams need to know about digital development? This How-to Note is a supplement to ADS 201 and helps design teams incorporate good practices that are most relevant to their activity. The checklist provides actionable guidance and shares resources to ensure that digital interventions are well-designed and effective.

Considerations for Using Data Responsibly at USAID

This document aims to provide USAID staff and local partners with a framework for identifying and understanding risks associated with development data. It is meant as a conversation starter—to highlight important concerns and provide actionable advice—to help those who use data in development programs maximize utility while also managing risk. By starting to have conversations around responsible data practices, staff and partners will begin to build competency in this area. USAID works to make “Progress Beyond Programs” by supporting countries to build their own technological capacity and readiness by taking ownership of their data and being held accountable that it is kept safe.

Real Time Data for Adaptive Management 

How can timely data be used to adaptively manage in changing and uncertain environments? What impact can it have in development? Learn some of the key findings and takeaways for policy makers and development practitioners in this series of resources.

Partnering to Create Sustainable Health Information Systems

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014 and 2015 highlighted the critical need for more effective, sustainable digital health information systems across the region to better track and use data to support healthier communities and stop future outbreaks. Working in partnership with the West African Health Organization, USAID’s Development Informatics practice helped launch the West Africa Health Informatics Team, a sustainable model for supporting these vital systems through locally hired software and informatics specialists