Technology for change : How to use technology to improve governance

Technology, as a tool for positive change – Marietta Fall

Marieta Fall talks about a program which is situated within World Bank and which leads on the ITC which have for objective the improvement of performances of the government in particular regarding management of public projects. This project stimulates the engagement of citizens by bringing them to participate in the development of their localities. The delibarate objective of this is to make citizens become partners of the total governance and where votes count by creating a direct line between the user and the service provider public.

Even though it already exists in private sector, this concept is optimal when we associate it to media and the civil society because they play the relay for more transparency and legitimacy. So that these methods are more effective they should be institutionalized.

Mariette Fall au forum KWS Montreal


Although necessary investigations ask for more important financial mean and for human resources. The use of tools in which the largest number makes use as telephone which has a penetrative rate rise even in developing countries appears as a solution. The user make ITC appear as management tools revolution because they allow the interactive with population leaving a possibility of feedback but also to insure the reliability of the information resulting directly from the interlocutor: it’s a realtime information and it’s less expensive.

It’s a complementary tool because it wouldn’t remove the use made by some paper of which many people make use and consequently wouldn’t risk to be excluded in the ITC was used in a complete way.


The participative governance system by ITC allows:

-To insure the feedback with citizens ( especially in case of the participative project)

-To create a management with for example a runs number put at the proposal of citizens

-To insure the monitoring

– Mapping: help to display the realization of the project and their evolution

Mariette Fall


-The SMS which is less expensive and has a high impact

– The IRV: who are local database ( that become limited because difficult to include with automatic calls system

– The call centers who is expensive but offer a high rate answer.

– Internet which is not always easily accessible but if seems as effective as well.


One of the most striking examples in the context of this investigation is the one of South Kivu (DRC).In a context where the central government is regularly in conflict with local governments because there is no trust in the allocation of financial funds for projects, it was introduced that an operation consisting in making citizens decide on their state’s project : although deprived of electricity, they noticed that people that live in the south KIVU made kilometres to recharge their mobiles phones. On this observation, the investigation was realized by telephone mobile.

Finally, it was a success with investigated 250 miles and the main project turned to essential primary needs( borders, fountain, classroom,…)

The use of mapping tools and geo- references also seems to be a solution to local problems especially within the example of project. The example is the one of Ghana where in certain localities citizens having noticed a problem, indicates it by SMS, send a picture or capture by geo-localization. Once collected, the data are used to make a relationship which is used to call out the person in charge on the question.

A study is led to estimate the impact of these tools on the decision by basing itself on the use that we make, the culture, the representativeness to have a standard as regards their use and determine their capacity to influence the government in terms of reactivity and answer.

Mariette Fall of the world Bank on how to use technology for social change


1- Focus on the user

2- Understand the ecosystem: regarding legal rule. Because these practices are forbidden in certain countries

3- A large scale: thus have to go beyond the project

4- sustainable project

5- Direct by some information and able to receive information in real time to better measure the impact .

6- Open that means useful

7- Confidential ( to secure the user information)

8- interactive


About Marieta Fall

Mariéta Fall works on social accountability approaches and how ICTs and mobile technology in particular can be applied to empower citizens to demand better governance. Prior to joining the ICT4Gov team, she worked on a number of Bank projects associated with the implementation of the governance program in Africa and Haiti with a focus on participatory governance diagnostics. She is leveraging that background to explore how ICTs can be used as more effective and complementary tools of citizen engagement. Mariéta completed a Masters in Development Economics and International Political Economy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and also holds a certificate in International Development with a specialization in political and social change.