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The evaluation of "Digital for Development" (D4D) was complemented by a study that examined the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the D4D projects and strategy. The aim was to draw lessons from experiences in this particular context. The study thus provides a better understanding of the impact of the crisis on digitalisation strategies and their implementation in partner countries. The report is available in French.
This study examined the impact Covid-19 had on D4D interventions. For example, projects were delayed or postponed. Some activities reinvented themselves in a creative way. The digital was therefore crucial in responding to the health crisis. However, this trend brings with it risks linked to social inequalities. For example, not everyone has a computer to take online classes.
During the Covid-19 period, the cross-cutting issues remain important, such as the digital divide (Leave No One Behind) and the related gender dimension or the environmental impact of the increasing use of D4D.
Response to the crisis
The study also examined how the Belgian Development Cooperation took into account the digital in its strategic response to the Covid-19 crisis. For example, Enabel wrote a specific note 'Digital for Development Covid response Enabel' in May 2020.
This evaluation also observed which D4D interventions were used in the response to the crisis. In most of the cases and sectors studied, these digital tools and activities seem to be designed to last beyond the health crisis. These digital actions can also support the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a strong focus on the health sector.
The evaluation makes a number of recommendations to the Cabinet of the Minister of Development Cooperation, to the DGD, Enabel and the actors of non-governmental cooperation to deal with a health crisis in partner countries, now and in the future.