Let’s meet the ICT4D champions of the future

by Serena Carta

Successful oversight of ICT4D projects requires ‘ICT4D champions’ who possess a combination of technical competencies (e.g. information systems skills) and contextual competencies (e.g. development skills). Such a combination is, as yet, rarely found. This has resulted in a high project failure rate, and a recognition of training need.

ICTs for Development MSc, The University of Manchester

24 people, 12 men and 12 women, 16 countries (from Italy to Australia, from Est Africa to Bolivia), 4 continents. Half of them is between 24 and 29 years old. They mainly work in the non profit and aid development sector, focused on education and new technologies. They are the participants of the online ICT4D course began last week.

The excitement is high, the expectations too; since the beginning of February the Google Plus community – where they can meet, share ideas and experiences – is dynamic. Patricia comes from Malawi, where she works as communication officer at UbuntuNet Alliance, the regional Research and Education Networking organization for Eastern and Southern Africa (NRENs): its mission is to secure affordable broadband and efficient ICTs access and usage for African NRENs and their associated communities of practice. “I hope to learn new ways of communicating research related activities using ICTs and to share with our community what is possible with ICTs – she writes in the G+ community – The global nature of the group presents more exciting networking and knowledge sharing opportunities, I am excited and I am eager to contribute what I can too”.

Patricia is one of the 15 applicants who got the full scholarship for attending the course, selected among almost 300 applications coming from all over the world. The group shares a strong motivation and a remarkable competence about ICT4D sector. Amos is from Ghana and he works with Farmerline as the head of the Field Impact team: “I promote voice messaging technology and the use of ICT in agriculture with the smallholder farmers, conducting research and evaluating the impact of technology on the farmers and others”. Agneska from Poland has a 10 years experience in the topic of Internet and new technologies: her main focus was child online safety, ensuring that children and young people enjoy positive experience when using new technologies. Jean Paul co-founded in Burundi a youth organization called Burundi Youth Training Centre aiming to contribute in enhancing digital skills among youths. Nune Srinivasa Rao is a social development professional coming from India, where he has been involved in designing and developing IT tools for agriculture, primary education and financial literacy.

We strongly believe that to use and apply technology in a concrete, popular, indigenous, ethical and sustainable way we need to build bridges between the North and the South by sharing knowledge. This is the reason why we are creating a special section on our website where we want to publish the bios and contacts of our ICT4D champions and leaders. We hope you will find this section useful to design your future projects and enlarge your network of development practitioners and specialists!

7 mobile apps for humanitarians

Mobile phones have become ubiquitous around the world, and many aid workers rely on them when traveling even to the most remote areas. Smartphone applications, too, have become more popular — and although they may not solve development challenges on their own, their use can facilitate relief work when used properly.

Article from Devex.com

Here are several apps geared toward humanitarians:

Aid Worker Safety
Available for Android 2.2 or later (English) and iOS 4.3 or later (French) devices

Touted as the “first safety and security application for humanitarian workers,” this app hosts safety and security guidelines, country profiles and operational tools for safety audits, among other things.

Available for Android 2.3 or later devices

CrisisSignal promises real-time updates on the state of cellular and Wi-Fi networks during and after emergencies.

Global Emergency Overview
Available for Android 2.2 or later and iOS 5.0.1 or later devices

Global Emergency Overview provides a weekly update on major disasters, with the goal of informing humanitarian decision-makers.

Humanitarian Kiosk
Available for Android 4.0 or later and iOS 6.0 or later devices

Developed by the United Nations, the app promises real-time humanitarian-related information from emergencies worldwide, even when you go offline.

Available for iOS 4.3 or later devices

This app from the European Commission is designed to “tap the abundant information about disasters available from people who actually experience them.”

Natural Disaster Monitor
Available for Android 3.0 or later devices

The Android clone of iGDACS taps information published by the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System so users can monitor natural disasters worldwide through a color-coded alert system: green, orange and red.

Relief Central
Available for Android 2.2 or later and iOS 5.0 or later devices

Through the app, relief workers, first responders and others serving in emergency relief situations get access to news from various aid groups, travel health advice such as vaccinations, and disaster assessment and response information.


Photo credit: Russell Watkins