Countries across the globe have been divided into two categories; the developed countries and the developing countries. Countries that belong to the developed category are those who have a stable economy and well-built living standards, while countries that belong to the developing category are those who face natural disasters, have a struggling economy, and difficult living conditions.
Similar to people that require help from one another in a time of need, countries also require help from one another when a disaster strikes or if the economy of the county is shutting down. In order to keep the resources and the assistance flowing, there are many programs that have been created by various developed countries and international organizations to help the fellow countries in need.
One of the biggest problems that arise upon receiving foreign aid is how to manage it, since not every country is equipped with professionals who have the knowledge and expertise to manage the resources, and technical assistance. In such crucial times, individuals like Stephen Rintoul Davenport IV strive to make a difference and help the countries maintain stability.
Mr. Davenport is the Global Lead for Open Government and Citizen Engagement at the World Bank Group. With a focus on open government and international government transparency, Mr. Davenport, the international development professional, aims to help underdeveloped countries stand firmly on their own.
BEGINNING THE JOURNEY
Born on (April 21st, 1971, month, year) (Earth Day), in Murray, Kentucky, Stephen Rintoul Davenport IV is the child of Episcopalian Reverend Stephen R Davenport III and Marilyn Burdorf. Since Stephen’s father was a minister in Haiti, he spent most of his time there with his father each summer. While his father was busy with development work, Stephen would help him in building cisterns and schools for St. Etienne’s Episcopal Church and finding wells for drinking water in the mountain town of Buteau.
Stephen was not only interested in helping his father but also empathized with the people living in Haiti. He loved going to Haiti and used to call it ‘home away from home.’ Stephen was intrigued by the people and often used to think about how people living luxurious lives like his own took things for granted. Stephen came to the realization that he was privileged, and when he thought about the adverse conditions that the people of Haiti face, he couldn’t help but feel upset. By observing the lifestyle of the people living in the rural areas of Haiti, he made up his mind to assist countries that were struggling
When Stephen turned 11, he moved to Washinton D.C. along with his family. There, he attended St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School, where his father was the assistant rector. He completed his high school from St. Stephens & St. Agnes School and attended and Washington and Lee University to complete his Bachelor of Science.
Upon graduation from Washington and Lee, Stephen entered the world of technology. Stephen began his career at KPMG in the United States in 1995. He worked there for two years and then switched to Computer Associates. While working at the company for two years, Stephan created software for various clients, most notably IBM in Brazil. Stephen spent a good five years working in technology before deciding to pursue a master’s degree. He completed his Master’s in International Business Administration from the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, while also joining the World Bank Group’s IT department as a senior systems engineer.
THE JOURNEY TO HELPING UNDERDEVELOPED COUNTRIES
Even though Stephen was working hard and was already making a difference in the world, his determination to help underdeveloped countries was not left behind. Stephen decided to use his IT skills to develop solutions that would come in handy in the international development and for those countries in the most need.
To make that transition, he left the World Bank in 2002 and became a part of a non-profit organization, Development Gateway (link). This was Stephen’s first step in starting a career as an international development professional.
During his time at the Development Gateway, Stephen created the Aid Management Program (AMP) (Link) with help from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) (link). Stephen designed the AMP as a program to help the governments in developing countries manage the foreign aid they received from countries and donors across the world. The purpose of the system was to help governments and development partners gather, access, and monitor information on development activities. The primary goal was to increase aid effectiveness.
AMP was one of the first-ever technological solutions created to manage foreign aid in the international development sector, and as of today, it is now implemented in more than thirty countries.
In 2010, when the devastating earthquake hit Haiti, Stephen was shattered, looking at what was left of the country. He wanted to help the people of Haiti however he could. Luckily for him, an opportunity emerged. He got promoted to Senior Director, which gave him the window of opportunity to scale he AMP to cover more than just foreign assistance.
In addition, during his time at the Development Gateway, Stephanie started a project, AidData (link). The project was collaborative, offering the users better data on how sustainable development investments are targeted, monitored, and evaluated. The team used various methods, cutting-edge tools, and granular data to assist both policymakers and practitioners, through support from a research lab at William & Mary’s Global Research Institute.
Stephen also co-founded Feedback Labs (link), a non-profit organization that focuses on making feedback loops the norm in development, aid, philanthropy, and non-profits. The mission of the non-profit organization was empowerment to the people, emphasizing driving policies and programs that affect them.
Before his departure to the World Bank Group, Stephen co-founded another initiative, OpenGovHub (link) co-location facility, unlike other co-working spaces or Hubs, the OpenGovHub was free from operational as well as financial struggles. It includes nearly 50 organizations and 300 people who work from Washington, D.C, looking over 100 countries around the world. The initiative focuses on issues, of open Government such as transparency, accountability, and participation. His efforts led to bringing notable differences in Kenya, Argentina, Nigeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Mongolia, and Kenya.
In 2013, Stephen re-joined the World Bank Group, working as the Global Lead for Open Government and Citizen Engagement, where he works today. He supports country operations and manages the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF).
Stephen has a passion for making a difference in the world. He has made sure that his skills were put to use to facilitate breakthrough innovations in the international development sector.