CodedinCountry.org promotes the use of in-country technical resources for international development projects. We do this through highlighting local resources, discussing broader CiC initiatives, analyzing individual CiC projects, and bringing together private companies, NGOs and research institutions that are pursing the CiC approach.
CiC is a software implementation approach where the technical needs of a project are met by local software developers who are involved in the design, development, and deployment of the solution.
CiC is primarily, though not exclusively, associated with international development, and is born out of the growing capacity of high-quality software developers found throughout low- and middle-income countries.
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are rapidly becoming important tools in a wide range of socioeconomic development activities in low- and middle-income countries. Over the last two decades, the majority of these ICT tools have been designed, developed and implemented by “foreign experts” from the United States and Europe. This reliance on expensive programmers trained in high-income countries was once the only option, as human resources in the technology sector simply didn’t exist in most parts of the developing world.
However, the new reality is quite different. Today there exists a growing pool of talented software developers throughout the developing world that permit a different approach. Instead of the problematic dependency issues of technology support coming from “outside” – often at prohibitively high initial design and implementation costs – a more sustainable approach is for local developers to meet the long-term needs for ICT design, development, maintenance and adaptation.
Build code and capacity
One of the most compelling reasons to pursue the Coded in Country approach is the potential to address the immediate problem (the specific project being undertaken) while at the same time investing in and promoting valuable skills among people living in the region.
Often eHealth, eGov, eLearning and related applications are implemented by software developers from the United States and other wealthy countries. With associated travel, high salaries, and ongoing maintenance costs, this is an expensive solution. Coded in Country has the undeniable potential of being less expensive, particularly when considering longer term costs.
Foreign-based implementers do not know a particular market as well as those who call it home. In some cases this may not be an issue; after all, Gmail is used throughout the world by people of different cultures and languages. Yet, in many cases, particularly when the viability of the project rests on the ability to appropriately understand local customs, culture, and language, foreign-based development can be a liability. In these cases, CiC offers a distinct advantage. When developers and implementers have innate knowledge of the local culture and language, they are better positioned to tailor applications to that particular market.