As we do annually, it is time for the Top 10 Posts of 2022. What a year! A bit of a return to normalcy after the hardships of 2021, with a welcome return to childcare (not joking), in-person meetings, and travel to connect with colleagues and do technical work globally. In the digital development world, a continued reckoning with the complex challenges of advanced technologies and the multitude of benefits—and risks—of widespread digital transformation.

Happily, it seems our predictions for what we’re thinking about in 2022 were largely correct. Through Digital@DAI, we covered topics as varied as ethical artificial intelligence (AI) and its importance in international development, a robust series on digital literacy, and the disability divide in ICT. Interestingly, the top two most-read posts published in 2022 were climate tech-focused. Climate tech has been called the “new frontier for innovation and growth” and investments in the sector are at an all-time high. Our readers’ engagement with these posts aligns with the expanding focus on this area in digital development.

Screen Shot 2022-11-30 at 1.31.17 PM.png

We’ll be taking a brief break over the holiday period to do some much-needed site maintenance. Below, for your reading enjoyment, we feature the top 10 most-read blogs published in 2022. Happy holidays and see you in 2023!

  1. Drone Mapping Reflects Solid Waste and Ocean Plastic Impact of the Durban Floods Heavy downpours over only two days in April caused South Africa’s worst and most deadly natural disaster to date: a flash flood so rare and devastating it has a one in the 300-year probability of recurring. DAI led drone flight operations in Durban to assess the damaged the floods caused to better understand what risks damage to waste management sites pose to the public, the environment, and service delivery.

  2. Let’s Talk Fashion: How Digital Technology Can Support the Circular Economy The fashion industry drives a significant part of the global economy. The sector responsible for employing more than 300 million people worldwide—many of whom are women—and providing goods indispensable to human welfare is also responsible for around 8 to 10 percent of carbon emissions, nearly 20 percent of global  wastewater production, and about 9 percent of microplastic losses to the ocean annually. This blog explores how fashion retailers can use digital technologies to offer innovative solutions to tackling climate change.

  3. Technology and Displacement: The Role of Digital Tools Among Displaced Persons The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Global Trends Forced Displacement in 2020 Report estimates that 82.4 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide by 2020. This blog explores digital usage among refugees and displaced people and significant barriers and challenges this community faces.

  4. CDA Insights 2022: Toward Ethical Artificial Intelligence in International Development Our CDA Insights paper explores where the development community currently stands with AI and what steps we need to take to ensure the safe and responsible use of these tools. At the heart of the paper is an adage that continues to echo throughout the development community—locally led and locally run solutions will result in better, more sustainable, and safer outcomes. The paper introduces how we can do this when considering AI tools for development. This post is a snapshot of our recommendations.

  5. Looking Ahead: What We’re Thinking About in 2022 Coming off the heels of two years of the global pandemic, this post predicts the five themes and trends to impact digital development in 2022. Check out our predictions to see if we were right.

  6. Shaping History Series: Innovative Leaders Driving Digital Transformation Dr. Joy Buolamwini Computer scientist and activist Buolamwini is one of the world’s leading voices examining algorithmic harms and biases, with a particular focus on racial and gender bias in AI. This blog spotlights Buolamwini’s work and its potential applications and implications for ICT4D.

  7. Realizing Inclusive Digital Development Through Boosting the Digital Skills of People Living with Disabilities Twenty-five percent of the nearly 1 billion people living with disabilities around the world live at or below the poverty line. Digital technologies offer the potential to expand employment opportunities for people living with disabilities, allowing them to expand their networks, and increase their mobility through digital accessibility. This blog dives into the work DAI grantee organizations, consultants, and partners are doing to make significant steps toward digital inclusion.

  8. The Path to a Sustained Network for Women Entrepreneurs in South Asia: Insights from the SARDI Strengthening Women in Tech Symposium This year, the South Asia Regional Digital Initiative (SARDI) Strengthening Symposium hosted a series of conversations about the most pressing barriers to investment in women-owned enterprises. This blog summarizes the outcomes of the event, stories from women entrepreneurs, and how the Initiative will leverage their network to address the gender digital divide in the tech sector.

  9. Digital Literacy Series: Closing the Gap for Semi-Literate and Illiterate Populations While it may be tempting to think of digital literacy in international development purely as an exercise in developing targeted training and instruments to measure progress over time, it is just as important to ensure that user groups have access to tools and services that they can use with ease and that allow them to build confidence over time. This blog provides suggestions to help inform any digital development projects that hope to include semi-literate and illiterate populations.

  10. Improving Digital Literacy and Security Training In Cambodia: Suggestions for Funders, Training Providers, and Content Creators Master’s students from John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies worked with DAI on the Innovations for Social Accountability in Cambodia project. The team conducted a landscape assessment of digital literacy, security education, and training initiatives. The team also interviewed digital security consultants and content and industry experts in Cambodia.