Open development and social impact bonds: rethinking healthcare delivery
Friday, August 2, 2013
Delivering effective services with limited resources to underserved parts of Africa have always presented development organisations with a challenge. Organisations have to work hard to gain local knowledge and insight regarding the needs in an area. Currently there are few incentives in place for citizens to start up enterprises that can support NGOs with service delivery – in other words, social enterprise. In addition there is not enough openly available data on the solutions relevant to any given community on any given problem. But by combining the concepts of open development and development impact bonds – a financing model based on payments-on-results – change becomes possible and can come from the grassroots.
Advances in information communication technology have led to the rise of open development, which encourages citizens and organisations to work together and share knowledge, figures, designs or code to deliver services and build things that are better. This approach enables organisations to address challenges such as ’how to get high quality health services to people in underserved areas?’ But as Nigerian social justice activist, Sokari Ekine, wrote in ’SMS Uprising’: “For social change to take place technology needs to be appropriate and rooted in local knowledge.”
So now the question is how to deliver innovative and appropriate solutions to social problems and ensure a high standard? How is this done when the end user is struggling to get by? How do we spark engagement from social entrepreneurs who understand the local context but are also driven by the need to earn a living and deliver the best service? How can services offered to the poorest consumers be monetised? Enter development impact bonds (DIBs).