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BCO Partners are actively committed to the belief, that access to and the use of ICTs assists people and communities to have greater choice in determining and improving their lives and their standard of living. Whether it be by engaging governments around ICT policy or Poverty Reduction Support Programmes; advocating how ICTs support sector development in health, education, environment and food security delivery; raising awareness of how ICTs can promote debate and activism around culture, human rights, gender equality, HIV/AIDS, trade and aid, conflict prevention, and media; or networking with civil society and other development actors around the promotion of cheaper alternative technologies.

The Building Communication Opportunities (BCO) Alliance is a partnership of eleven development agencies working on information, communications and development. BCO Alliance partners believe that information and communications are of crucial importance in poverty reduction – in enabling the poor to have their say and to get better access to knowledge and other resources.

Since March 2004, BCO Alliance partners have worked together to support new initiatives on information, communications and development around the world.

They pooled resources to undertake a major impact assessment – of their own work and of other information, communication and ICT initiatives around it. The study looked in depth at the impact that is being achieved on all aspects of poverty reduction, focusing on a number of individual countries and key themes.

The study was carried out by an international team of experts in the field and focused in particular on three issues which are crucial to the current ICD debate:

  • mainstreaming – the incorporation of information, communications and ICTs within mainstream development priorities;
  • voice – the ability of the poor to express their concerns and make their views heard by decision-makers;
  • and poverty impact – identifiable impact of information, communications and ICTs on the lives and livelihoods of the poor.

The full report of the impact assessment study was published in June 2008 and shared by BCO with others working in this crucial field of development. A sixteen-page briefing which looks at the main findings and makes recommendations to policy-makers and other key players is available in English, French and Spanish.