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The Building Communications Opportunities (BCO) alliance is a loose network of experienced organisations in information and communications for development (ICT4D). These groups have made a commitment to learning and collaboration. BCO members, or “partners” as they are referred to, include donor agencies from Canada, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the UK and international non-governmental organisations.

The goals of the BCO alliance are to integrate ICT4D in development sectors such as health, agriculture and education; strengthen the voice of poor and excluded communities and facilitate debate and dialogue through the use of ICTs; and demonstrate the impact of ICT4D on poverty. A cornerstone of the partnership is peer learning and knowledge sharing on how ICTs can be used as a strategic tool for sustainable development and poverty alleviation.

BCO partners are actively committed to the belief that access to and use of ICTs assist people and communities to have greater choice in determining and improving their lives and their standard of living, for example, through engaging governments around ICT policy or poverty reduction strategies; advocating how ICTs can support health, education, agricultural and food programmes; raising awareness of how ICTs can promote debate and activism on culture, human rights, gender equality, HIV/AIDS, trade and aid, conflict prevention, and media; and networking with civil society and other development actors to promote cheaper alternative technologies.

BCO partners’ work includes a wide range of information, communications and development interventions – from media and advocacy, to policy development and capacity building. BCO offers opportunities for rich reciprocal learning that, because each partner participates in other broader networks, contribute to the ICT4D sector as a whole.