Interactive Voice Response and Radio for Peacebuilding: A Macro View of the Literature and Experiences from the Field

Source
Annenberg School of Communication

This report provides a broad overview and assessment of how interactive voice response (IVR) systems are being implemented in international development work with an emphasis on the particular role IVR can play in peacebuilding work in post-conflict contexts. In order to narrow the scope of research, this study focuses primarily on the usage of IVR in conjunction with radio for development projects in different crisis and post-crisis zones in Africa and India, as operationalized within the larger international development contexts. 

This report offers a review of the existing literature about IVR applications in non-Western contexts, supplemented by primary research based on interviews with practitioners who are using or designing IVR systems in the field. Many of the individuals interviewed work at organizations that have conducted their own impact evaluations of the new technologies they are using. This study aggregates these assessments.

The report concludes by summarizing expert insights about the future of IVR technologies in development work, with a particular emphasis on the implications for peacebuilding work in post-conflict contexts. These range from improvements in the usability and automation of IVR that could make it more efficient and responsive to its possible wholesale replacement by technologies like mobile applications in contexts where smart phones are becoming more popular or where internet infrastructure is becoming more established.