9th ICT4D Conference 2017 – From Innovation to Impact

ICT4D Conference Poster

A week ago, I had the pleasure to dive deep into the world of ICT4D at the 9th ICT4D Conference in Hyderabad, India. On short notice I got the confirmation for my ticket while being in Bangalore with one business card, no fancy shirts and an insufficient amount of underwear. So I booked a flight at the same day, the first hotel which popped up on the net (brick-wall-view as I found out later) and went cloth shopping at the airport. I also managed to shift some work load from my company and worked during coffee breaks on other things. I replaced business cards with a smile and pined my last one on my chest – so people simply took pictures. Busy and exhausting four days, but exiting as well. I would like to give here a short overview on what is going on in the world of ICT4D, summarize the talks I enjoyed and state my personal experiences.

Two topics were ubiquitous this year, agriculture and IT support for NGOs. This focus was already underlined in the keynote when one of the main sponsors of the conference, Microsoft, spoke about their engagement with ICRISAT – International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Topics. They use their cloud computing power and Cortana to provide weather forecast for farmers to communicate when to seed out or harvest (and more) to increase crop yield for farmers. The IT support aspect for NGOs was visible due to the high amount of companies offering technologies (hardware, software, data) in order to make their life easier or to collect/organize data in the field, which is also inline with the this year’s conference focus:

This year we focus on using data to accelerate achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

I would like to split this blog post into two sections. Firstly, I will give you an overview of talks and discussions regarding ICT4D projects I discovered. This will be just a peak of what was going on, most of the time more than 10 talks were happening simultaneously. Secondly, I took one full day to visit all sponsors and exhibitors at their stands and discusses with them their products, projects and ideas.

 

 

Projects, Talks & Discussions

Leveraging Tradition and Science in Disaster Risk Reduction in Mongolia
Erkhes Batbold
is a project with a goal to reduce the risk of dzud (a Mongolian term for a severe winter in which large number of livestock die, primarily due to starvation due to being unable to graze, in other cases directly from the cold) to herder communities and rural economies in Mongolia through on-demand weather information and increased local planning and risk reduction capacity.
They implemented a national wide SMS based weather forecast system to provide access for everyone with a mobile phone. The speaker underlined the lack of smartphones in rural areas and the importance of a demand requested system to make it sustainable in the long run. They interviewed users on camera to describe their positive experience to spread the word, which worked best for them. The speaker, Erkhes Batbold from Mercy Corps listed some helpful technologies they used to build the system: engagespark.com, darksky.net , ona.io and lts2sms.com. For me, this talk was one of the most interesting, since it is related to my research as well, and as they started to use a Android phone as a SMS gateway to forward the requests to a server and respond then with the weather forecast.
more

‘SMS Quicklearns’ enhances women’s parenting skills in Sri Lanka
Maria Berenguer & Divakar Ratnadurai
SOS Children’s Village Sri Lanka empowers women at grass-roots through mobile technology using “SMS Quicklearns” to enhance women’s parenting skills on the benefit of their children. The feasibility study showed high mobile penetration at the grass-root level and being mainly fishing communities needed cognizance on various social skills to assure a safe and caring home environment for the children. Text To Change Programme disseminates information on child-care, child rights & protection and managing family income with a view to change their behavior for the well-being of their children & families.
This project is as well SMS based and spread information via mobile phones. Users also had weekly meetings to discuss the received lessons which enabled access for mothers without a phone. They also had a trainer visiting the parents. These limitations made it only possible to work in closed groups, but the speaker stated, that they would love to open it to everyone – but as always, the budget is the limit…

e-Monitoring system: Strengthening government school monitoring system
Ruxana Parvin Hossain
e-Monitoring System specifically designed for the use by school monitors to improve the accountability and governance of public primary school system. To strengthen the government school monitoring system of Bangladesh, the Sponsorship program of Bangladesh Save the Children created an Android enabled school monitoring application based on the existing paper based school monitoring checklist and also developed a browser based school inspection data analysis dashboard with various analytical interactive reports. The data is public, the source code is close since it is very specialized.

Education & Livelihoods Track Panel: Learning-People, Processes or Platform
Chris Benner, Anindya Chattopadhyay, PS Gohil, Jodi Lis & Laura Moats
The panel discussed the process to bring education to people with the support of technology. Technology which can help you in your educational project highly depends on your user and your needs. It is crucial to put community and people first, the technology will just support you and is not the key to your success. The panel defined the following steps:
1. Identify and setup the platform/technology you will use.
2. Build up your content, use open resources or create it yourself
3. Implement the e-learning – this is the hardest part.
The discussion shifted then to MOOCs which can be helpful but very difficult to implement. Guidance and personal interactions are very important for beginners. The main problem with MOOCs is, that most of the time already educated users use the service and leave out the target group. They underlined that learning is a social process!
Furthermore, the panel stated that having test groups straight from the beginning is very important. The fact that it is almost impossible to get proper feedback from failed e-learning users. This is very challenging and they have no solution yet to reach out to these important group to simply find out why they failed. The last conclusion was to show the demand to the users. Create motivation by giving an insight what the learners will get from their education. Jobs and placement are most of the time the goal.

There’s no app for that: Preparing for a tech implementation
Aleksa Krolls, Piyasree Mukherjee, Frank Nankivell, Alexie Seller
Ready to implement a new technology — trade in the paper for smartphones, start administering surveys via SMS, transition to a new CRM system? Worldwide, social impact organizations are seeking technology solutions to better manage data, measure performance, report to donors, & address inefficiencies in programs/operations. When it comes to implementing a new tech tool, how do we gauge whether an organization is “ready”? What happens when the technology implementation – inadvertently or advertently – leads to upheaval in the organization’s processes? How can we ensure that technology is a tool underpinning quality delivery, with the focus on impact rather than on the tool itself?
Vera Solutions discussed with three NGO partners on how they worked together to implement a certain technology to support their work. Pollinate Energy, FMCH – Foundation for Mother & Child Health and Liberty Asia all used IT support to streamline and analyse their processes, collect information on the field and/or get more paperless. All agreed on the profound advantages IT can have. “Why do we need a new Technology” is crucial to ask straight from the beginning to really get the solution which fits best. Start with the people, not the Technology.

Digital Village Harisal: Connectedness is the Key
Prashant Shukla
The Maharashtra government and Microsoft have collaborated to develop a strategic framework for smart village adoption and to identify an impact-driven, public-private partnership-enabled implementation model to transform Harisal into India’s first smart village. Connecting a village to the Internet is one of the key elements to make a village smarter. This can be quite challenging due to the GSM coverage in rural areas and land lines are still rare as well. This project uses TV band white spaces – unused VHF and UHF TV channels that can be used to deliver broadband access over wider areas than possible using today’s Wi-Fi spectrum. They connected villages with this technologies and enabled better access to communication, health and education tools.

SESAMA – Mobile application to turn trash into cash
Mita Julinartati Sirait
Waste in the big cities has always been a problem and needs serious handling. Jakarta City every day produces 7000 tons of waste and only about 5200 tons can be transported to the final disposal (TPA) Bantar Gebang by 720 garbage trucks. Of the total trash, 47% is industrial waste and 53% of household waste with a composition of 67% of organic waste; 32.8% inorganic and plastic waste; and 0.2% other debris. In order to support urban waste management, WVI has developed android applications called SESAMA to connect residents with nearby waste bank and help the waste bank managing its administrative works. This application allows residents ordering picking up, tracking their waste amount and checking their money deposit in real time. On the other hand, the waste bank will be able to monitor the waste deposit amount, money deposit, customer’s data and trends of their transaction timely and regularly.

Play.Connect.Learn: Learning to read by playing with apps
Meenakshi Khanna
Play.Connect.Learn, is a digital app that was developed by Sesame Workshop India (SWI) to determine whether exposure to innovative, interactive digital reading content on smart phones would improve the reading skills of children in Grades 1 and 2 who are reading below grade level. SWI leveraged its library of materials to develop 3 packages of reading materials for the app. The app, developed in Marathi, is being used in 4 districts in Maharashtra by low income families. The app includes packages of stories, rhymes and games that become increasingly more complex in content and skills.
They stated that nothing can replace a good pedagogy, but the application is a good tool. Even parents started to learn and like the fact that they use the Sesame Street Puppets in the application. They acknowledged that children lean it many different ways and tried to offer different learning approaches in the application.

Feeding the world with Raspberry Pi
John Anker
The last talk I joined at the conference was about the wonderful Raspberry Pi. John Anker from the Catholic Relief Services simple introduced the mini computer and showed its possibilities. I use the Raspberry Pi as well in my work to teach computer science and attended the talk out of curiosity. The highligt was the Raspberry Pi operated anti mosquito laser gun – pretty cool stuff. I would also like to underline here that the Raspberry Pi is a very good computer for development work. Cost effective and fully operable – surf the Internet, create textual documents (and more) and program for just $30!

 

Sponsors & Exhibitors

a small overview of companies, NGOs and NPOs at the ICT4D conference:

esri – GIS Resources for Humanitarian Assistance and Crisis Response
Esri’s Nonprofit Organization Program provides conservation and humanitarian nonprofit organizations around the world with an affordable means of acquiring ArcGIS software and services for organized volunteer effort.
esri.com/nonprofit

Digital Globe – Space Imagery and Geospatial Content
analyses images and processes them for catastrophy management and are partners of Esri. They use the power of the crowed to provide necessary information. Ushahidi from the other side…
http://www.digitalglobe.com/

OMPT – Reducing Worldwide Poverty Through Video Education
provides projector sets with speakers to enable mobile video training. 2 hours of battery life are included, but you can charge the gear with a external battery or from your car to and teach anywhere.
http://www.ompt.org/

Quest Alliance – We design learning experiences that inspire and empower educators and learners alike.
Quest Alliance is a not-for-profit trust that equips young people with 21st century skills by enabling self-learning.
http://www.questalliance.net/

Mango Logic and D-Tree
Mango Logic offers a sophisticated technology to solve complex decision making. Everyone can create a decision tree and a mobile application without programming a single line of code. That’s what D-Tree is doing, they use the technology to provide better Decisions which save lives. D-tree International is harnessing the potential of mobile technology to improve the quality of healthcare provision in the developing world.
http://mangologic.com/ | http://www.d-tree.org/

Social App Hub – India’s largest repository of mobile Apps
Most of the software a NGO needs is already out there and they created a collection of apps for a social cause. Social App Hub helps to find IT solutions for NGOs.
https://knowledge.socialapphub.com/

Anudip – Empowering individuals through digital and workplace skills development
Anudip’s diverse training, mentorship, and employment support empowers marginalized individuals to change their lives by providing training for illiterate people to find a placement. The work directly with the people and use training centers equipped with computer and Internet connection.
http://www.anudip.org/

Akvo – Capture, Understand and Share
Akvo is offering mobile applications to collect data in the field and analyse the outcome. They also have very nice tools of measure water quality with a Android phone.
http://akvo.org/

Open – Security enabled Networks
provides networks in the field and ensure their security. The Swiss based company offers a portable server infrastructure to connect and control the data flow.
https://www.open.ch

Nasscom – Empower NGOs with Technology
NASSCOM Foundation, by leveraging the capabilities of the IT- BPM sector, is meeting the technology needs of NGOs so that they can: scale up operations, be more efficient, increase reach, deliver effective results; and hence realize the goals they are meant to.
http://www.nasscomfoundation.org

Diona – Mobility Solutions
transform mobile devices such as phones and tablets into tools for helping your NGO move closer to achieving its mission. Whether it’s greater efficiency, happier clients, more productive caseworkers, or tracking progress of your projects and clients for better outcomes, we work together to help make your mission happen.
https://ngo.diona.com/

Software Group – Finance
is a global technology company that is specialized in delivery channel and integration solutions for the financial sector, especially in the micro finance sector.
http://softwaregroup-bg.com/

aWhere – Agronomic Data & Agricultural Data Management
Data Management harnesses agriculture analytics to create unprecedented visibility and insight from farm level to national policy. Their algorithms create 41000 weather stations out of 87  Indian weather stations and support local farmers with their technology.
http://www.awhere.com/

Good Bye

Enregistrer

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9th ICT4D Conference 2017 – From Innovation to Impact
was published on 28.05.2017 by Paul Spiesberger. It files under global, south asia
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Impressions of the 2012 EU-Africa Cooperation Forum on ICT

From November 28-29 ICT4D.at was participating at the 2012 EU-Africa Cooperation Forum on ICT in Lisbon, Portugal and successfully presenting the ICT4D.MZ project to the community of experts, researchers, business people and policy makers in the context of ICT and EU-African partnerships.

ICT4D.at @ 2012 Africa-EU Cooperation Forum on ICT

ICT4D.at @ 2012 Africa-EU Cooperation Forum on ICT

The hashtag for the event was and we covered the main panels and discussions live via our Twitterfeed. The steady stream of acronyms, abbreviations and ICT lingo fits nicely in the limited microblogging format and it was a good way to make sense of all the information coming up. The twitterwall behind the speakers’ panel was good for grasping the main talking points, but a bit of a distraction when presented during an ongoing session. It also functioned as an indirect Q&A-session for the audience to bring up issues not covered in the session. Thus the meta-reality feedback loop was complete.

The informative Welcoming speeches included talks by Commissioners from both the African and the European Union (Moctar Yedaly and Zoran Stančič). A Keynote Address by Ilari Patrick Lindy from the World Bank Institute draw our attention to an interesting study on eTransformation of ICT in Africa. Harry De Backer from the EEAS (European External Action Service) was giving an overview in how ICT funding has changed in the recent years.

EU-Africa Cooperation Forum on ICT - Group Picture

EU-Africa Cooperation Forum on ICT – Group Picture

We were happy to find out about other innovative projects in the field, such as the KINU Hub in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania co-founded by Catherinerose Barrett and the *iHub in Nairobi, Kenya presented by Jessica Colaço. Furthermore we were happy to meet Walter Mayer from ProGIS Software, an expert in Geo-information system and Felipe Batista from ARCTEL-CPLP, the Association of Communication and Telecommunication Regulators in the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries. We can also proudly report, that we have witnessed the official launch of the UbuntuNet Alliance and Africa-Connect.

The whole event was executed flawlessly by the very welcoming hosts, a rich experience and a overall nice time in the beautiful city of Lisboa. Obrigada! Obrigado!

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Impressions of the 2012 EU-Africa Cooperation Forum on ICT
was published on 05.12.2012 by Isabella Wagner. It files under global
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German article – Learning for a Responsible Life with a Global Horizon: Education Projects in Africa

Last month, at the international conference “Interactive and Competence-Orientated Education” in Brussels our member Margarete Grimus presented her article about education in Africa with a focus on ICT. The article is in German, the title “Lernen für ein verantwortliches Leben im globalen Horizont: Bildungsprojekte in Afrika” approximately translates to “Learning for a Responsible Life with a Global Horizon: Education Projects in Africa”.

I took the liberty to translate the abstract to English:

The development of the internet has opened perspectives in Africa in the last century which have been hampered by under-developed infrastructure before. The World Wide Web (WWW) can constitute a meaningful contribution to an increase in education standards – if lectureres know the potentials, have the necessary carefulness in dealing with ICTs and implements this in class. Education processes aim at the acquisition of knowledge, skills and approaches, digital literacy is a substantial part of education.

The different weight which is put on sectors such as gender or AIDS in the “first world” and in developing countries is extending experiences in both worlds. Insights in the education scene in Sub Sahara Africa are given with examples of the teacher education in Kano (Nigeria), health education in Cape Town (South Africa) and teacher education in Ghana.

So here you can download the article of Margarete Grimus. Here’s also the presentation slides she used:

Here’s the link for citation:

Grimus, Margarete. Lernen für ein verantwortliches Leben im globalen Horizont: Bildungsprojekte in Afrika. In: Holz, Oliver; Seebauer, Renate (Hrsg.): Interaktiver und kompetenzorientierter Unterricht. Interactive and Competence-Orientated Education. Verlag Dr. Kovac. Hamburg. S. 124-148 (ISBN: 978-3-8300-6422-0)

Thanks a lot to Margarete for providing this, it’s a very interesting read – especially having in mind our own projects.

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German article – Learning for a Responsible Life with a Global Horizon: Education Projects in Africa
was published on 19.06.2012 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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ICTD2010 – resume

ICTD2010 is over now and we’re happy we were there, joined the organizers and got a very special view from behind the curtains on the conference. We are still publishing interviews and are planning for an extensive wrap up of the whole four days, but as the impressions are still fresh it’s time for me to write a very personal resume on what I’ve seen and heard there, and what I think is relevant for the ICT4D field as a whole.

Interdisciplinary research field vs. Mainstreaming ICT4D

What I really liked at ICTD2010 was that there were sessions and workshops covering many different topics. Different sector-specific viewpoints on ICT4D were all invited to the conference. There were tracks on health, microfinance, environment, gender, open source and many more.

The conference organisers identified this openness to other disciplines as the main reason why there were so many people wanting to participate. They event had to close their online registration early as a result of this big demand. Approximately 580 people registered it to the conference in the end.

Naturally, this diversity led to interesting discussions and fruitful exchange (as far as I can judge). To me it seemed to be a consensus at ICTD2010 to view ICT4D as an interdisciplinary research field on its own.

This of course opposes the view of several donor organisations who want to mainstream ICT4D in their general development efforts (here Richard Heek’s case against mainstreaming ICTs in development). In the Donor Voices session at the conference this tendency was underlined once more, especially by representatives of the Swiss, Canadian and German development cooperation.

It remains to be seen how this will develop.

Practitioners vs. Researchers

A topic which was addressed at several sessions at ICTD2010 was the gap between ICT4D practitioners and researchers.

At the conference, therefore people with both backgrounds were invited and already in the opening panel of the first day, Tim Unwin challenged five renowned practitioners to share their views and to “tell us (the researchers) what they think we should be doing”. Responses called for “focus more on people’s needs”, “more critical thinking”, “make sure community ownership” , “not focus too much on technology and tools”, “a directory of organizations working and researching in the field”, “justification to be able to work in ICT4D” or “research on the regional contextual differences”. See a wrap up of the Opening Panel: Practitioners Perspectives here.

Generally at the conference many people stated that practitioners and researchers should find an appropriate language to share their expertise, so they can simplify life for each other. Furthermore the need for better documented projects as well as more engagement of researchers in the field was raised.

Sharing failure

An improvement which Anriette Esterhuysen identified in an interview we held with her was that “people are more willing now to talk about their failed projects”. Also, as is stated in the WWW foundation blog:

there were quite a few papers presenting failed initiatives. Failure can be as instructive as success. But as academic disciplines grow up, they become competitive for promotion and funding, and failure becomes shame.

This also fits with other recent initiatives to motivate people in ICT4D projects to publish their failure as well as their success (for example Mobileactive.org’s Failfare intitiative), as it’s people’s lives ICT4D projects are dealing with and repeating mistakes can have severe impacts.

Technology-driven vs. looking at the individual people’s needs

A very interesting sentence relating to this dilemma came from ICTD2010 programme chair Kentaro Toyama. Having swapped his position at Microsoft Research to the University of Berkeley recently, I asked him which differences between the two he noted in the approach to ICT4D. What he said was, that actually these different approaches to ICT4D drove him in the first place to take the position in Berkeley. At Microsoft Research he said, he was too much constrained to technology, which he considered not to be helpful in many cases (the complete interview with Kentaro Toyama here).

Many other voices also repeated the claim that “technology is not a silver bullet” and the need to look at the individual people’s needs. Kiss Abraham states in an interview we led with him that the focus on technology is de-humanizing the whole ICT4D debate and that much more research on the individual people’s needs and the changes technology brings to them is required. Ineke Buskens states in the same interview that researchers should keep in mind that real people with a purpose are behind all the research (complete interview with Ineke Buskens and Kiss Abraham here).

With our poster about “Stories from the Field: Mobile Phone Usage and its Impact on People’s Lives in East Africa” we were also addressed by a lot of interested people who said they were waiting for more research on such an individual level.

North and South

At ICTD2010 great focus was laid on bringing together researchers from “North” and “South”, to get away from the often-criticized approach to research FOR the target group, but not WITH them.

Furthermore, a very critical approach towards development was expressed. One very catchy quote on this topic was Geoff Walsham saying that development is not a final state, but we all are developing and that there is no need to consider countries of the “North” more developed than countries of the “South” (full length interview to be uploaded).

A novelty at ICTD2010 was the introduction of a Spanish track on the first day which was well attended. Dorothea Kleine said in our interview (full length interview to be uploaded) that conversations about ICT4D should be carried forward by different groups of people in different languages and that she hopes for more participation in languages other than English for future conferences.

Also Ineke Buskens tried to include French and Arabic speaking people in the ICTD2010 pre-confernce platform by translating several sent in texts to these languages.

Related to this, as was quoted by Whiteafrican and Afronline, the lack of ICT4D research by Africans was addressed. One paper (“ICTD Research by Africans: Origins, Interests, and Impact“) even specifically topicized the contributions of African researchers to the ICT4D debate. You can watch our interview with one of the authors – Paul Plantinga – at the ICT4D.at Youtube channel.

The decision to host the next ICTD conference in the Global North (Georgia Tech) was therefore heavily disputed and by some people regarded as a missed opportunity to bring ICT4D research back to the local, affected people. It must be stated though, that Georgia Tech obviously was the only university with a formal bid for ICTD2012, so the decision cannot be regarded as politically motivated.

Most of this is not new

An interesting and maybe worrying fact about the topics above, which I identified as substantial at the conference is that most of them are not new or just recently found out about.

We’ve all heard of that before, at conferences and events, in papers or news articles. As Tim Unwin states in our interview (part 2): “One of the things that probably sadden me most about the field is how little it has changed. We’re hearing much the same things we’ve heard for 3, 4, 5 years.”

Maybe the ICT4D field is still immature as is stated on the WWW foundation blog, maybe it is picking up slowly, or maybe the real decision makers – which are primarily the donors I would guess – don’t agree to the majority’s solution to the above mentioned topics as of yet. The “Voices of the donors” session at ICTD2010 suggests otherwise, but I’m curious if these “old” challenges will be resolved and new challenges will be identified until the next ICTD conference 2012, or if we’ll still be stuck with the current ones.

Comments on my musings are most welcome, for more and detailed information on ICTD2010 check the official conference page, Ismaels notes and the ICT4D.at Youtube channel.

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ICTD2010 – resume
was published on 23.12.2010 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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ICTD2010 – videos 2

Some more videos from ICTD2010 we’ve uploaded to Youtube in the mean time.

First day – opening panel:

First day – pre-conference platform session:

Third day – wrap-up:

Interviews are constantly being uploaded, so check the ICT4D.at Youtube channel or watch them here:

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ICTD2010 – videos 2
was published on 17.12.2010 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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ICTD2010 – videos 1

Here at ICTD2010 we are busy shooting videos, doing interviews, capturing, logging, rendering and uploading. It’s more work than we imagined, but here are the results of what we have so far produced:

First day – opening:

Second day – wrap up:

Interview with Charlotte Masiello-Riome (e-Agriculture):

Inteerview with Jenny Perry (Surveybe):

But what is still to come? We have taken a lot of interviews, here a short selection of material we have and which still needs to be post-produced and uploaded.

  • Interview with Dorothea Kleine
  • Interview with Ugo Vallauri
  • Interview with Tim Unwin
  • Interview with Patricia Mechael
  • Interview with Ineke Buskens and Kiss Abraham
  • Interview with Geoff Walsham and Kiss Abraham
  • Various other informative interviews with interesting people
  • Wrap up of sessions and presentations day 1, 3 and 4
  • Keynote speech of Sir Tim Berners-Lee
  • Various other sessions and presentations

Furthermore it’s just day three and we’re intending to gather material tomorrow as well.

So make sure to check out the ICT4D.at Youtube channel frequently or become a friend or follower to get notifications on the updates automatically.

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ICTD2010 – videos 1
was published on 15.12.2010 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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News on ICTD2010

As we are right now logging our extensive video material, here two links to blogs which already have written about the first day of ICTD2010 – and will probably continue to do so:

The hashtag for the whole event in #ICTD2010, so check http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23ictd2010 for frequent updates.

On these Youtube channels you find videos of the conference:

Our video with flashlights of the first day is soon to come – we’ll announce it here when we’re finished.

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News on ICTD2010
was published on 13.12.2010 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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ICTD2010 – here we come!

From Monday 13.12. on we will be reporting from this year’s biggest ICT4D / ICTD conference – ICTD2010 at Royal Holloway, London. Our main job is to shoot interviews, sessions, presentations for a video-diaries for each day of the conference. People who can’t participate in person should that way get an impression of the discussions, talks and generally the vibe at the conference. Furthermore we will produce one video report covering the whole conference.

Al our material will be uploaded to our Youtube channel and some of it will be featured here on the blog.

So make sure to check it out frequently!

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ICTD2010 – here we come!
was published on 11.12.2010 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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ICTD2010 pre-conference – interesting & critical views

As already mentioned in a previous post, we are supporting Ineke Buskens and her team in the pre-conference to this year’s biggest ICT4D/ICTD conference – ICTD2010.

Everybody has the chance to participate there and we’re especially interested in “voices from the South” about what ICT4D/ICTD should and shouldn’t be. The texts sent in will be discussed in an own session at ICTD2010 conference, so even when you can’t come physically, you can make your voice heard!

Several researchers have already taken the chance to publish their views and here’s some links to interesting texts which might inspire you to comment or write your own text:

  • Oum Kalthoum Ben Hassine raising the question The ICTs: for what kind of development? (English / French / Arabic)

If development concerns the sole economic growth, unlimited gain and extreme profit, ICTD will mean “ICT development in the north” and the development of markets dedicated for ICT products and tools, where unbridled conquest of new markets will target more and more developing countries within the framework of what we call “technology transfer”. This type of development has generated and still generates the “left behind”, excluded and marginalized, the third and fourth worlds, all excluded from progress and well being. [read more]

  • Lina Abou-Habib presenting her thoughts on Researching ICT4D and/on ICT4T: On women, activism, transformation and ICT in MENA (English)

In replacing D (development) by T (transformation), the intent is not simply stylistic or superfluous! It is intended to reflect how many women, including myself, define development. In this case, I will define development as the right to have rights and the freedom to have and exercise choices. These are conditions sine qua none for development. For women, this means literally a transformation from a position of subordination and dependence to that of power and autonomy. [read more]

  • Anne Webb sharing her critical remarks: How can ICT use strengthen movements for equality and social justice in the land of power and money? (English / French)

In my work with gender researchers who are exploring relationships between women’s empowerment and ICT, I see ICTs as additional tools at women’s disposal. These are tools that could, can and do increase our ways and means of communicating. […] We can design and use them to reinforce and expand our efforts to imagine and create a better world for women, a more equitable globe for all, environmentally sustainable socio-economic systems, and so forth.

But these electronic devices and platforms are tools to be used by any (who can access, afford and understand them) to their advantage. They are primarily developed and used in the interests of our current unsustainable, inequitable and destructive socio-economic system. [read more]

  • Susan Bakesha introducing examples on the ambivalent possibilities of ICT usage in ICTs are a double edged sword: Tele-mothering vs tele-murdering (English)

The term development has been defined differently by many scholars. However, all definitions allude to one point: making life better. Proponents of ICT4D argue that ICTs play a pivotal role in supporting underdeveloped countries to achieve development in all spheres of life; political, economic and social. [read more]

So if you’re hungry for food for thought – just check out the ICTD2010 pre-conference platform, read the texts, comment on them (discussion pages are open to everyone) and if you want to have your own text published, send a mail to Ineke Buskens or me.

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ICTD2010 pre-conference – interesting & critical views
was published on 24.11.2010 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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ICTD2010 Pre-conference – we want to hear your voice!

In the run up of the biggest ICT4D / ICTD conference this yearICTD2010 in London – we have been supporting the organizers in setting up a pre-conference platform.

The aim of this platform is to give people who can’t participate at the conference the possibility to share their ideas and to “raise the voice of the South“, listening to the needs and critical voices of people affected by ICT4D / ICTD.

People can send in one-pagers which will be posted and then discussed – first on the platform and finally also at a session of the ICTD2010 conference.

The main facilitator of the platform is Ineke Buskens, a gender, research and facilitation consultant living in the Western Cape, South Africa. Her introductory text to the platform – Bridging the Divides – is well worth a read. In there she states that the

lack of shared understanding of the main thrust and purpose of the ICTD or ICT4D project could be the main obstacle towards seeing the ICTD community evolve in such a way that we are all able to ‘celebrate one another’s unique strengths’

Furthermore she raises the question

what does development actually mean in ICTD? Does ICTD mean development of ICTs for the developing world? Does it mean developing markets for ICT products and tools in the developing world? Or does it mean engaging development with and through the use of ICTs in and with the developing world?

To contribute to this question and to bring in an often ignored perspective, she asks everybody

to contribute by sharing what they really and passionately want to share, having a southern perspective in their focus and the interest of the South in their heart, whether they are located in the South, in the North, or in both.

These contributions should be small texts – approximately one page. Two questions which she raises to kick-start this whole process are:

1) What are the ICT4D Research Needs in the developing world from a developing world perspective and why would you think so? Please be concrete and specific and go beyond general categories such as ‘health’, education etc.

2) What action projects have taken place in the developing world that were actually successful research projects, in the sense that they met a real need in a real way (and hence acted on valid and appropriate tacit knowledge) but did not have the ‘knowledge quest component’ worked out enough in their narrative to be recognized as research? Can you come up with examples and sketch what you think the knowledge quest would have been if it had been made explicit from the start?

So if you have answers to the questions and if you have something to say about these topics, please send in one-pagers to Ineke Buskens (ineke@researchforthefuture.com) or Florian Sturm (florian.sturm@ict4d.at) and join the discussion on the platform (the Discussion section is open for everybody). We are looking forward to your input.

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ICTD2010 Pre-conference – we want to hear your voice!
was published on 21.10.2010 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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