ICT Innovations for Development: here are the scholarships winners

We have officially concluded the process of Scholarship Awards by delivering 23 Scholarships to bright talents across the world (surprise, surprise – three scholarships more than planned!) that will attend the long-term online course “ICT Innovations for Development”. The scholarships are made possible thanks to the generous support of Fondazione Cariplo and Compagnia di San Paolo within the framework of the project “Innovation for Development”. The selection of 23 candidates who received the Scholarship Award has been a tough job for the Selection Committee, considering the tremendous high amount of applications received – 448 in total. And, today we are immensely happy to announce the winners of the Scholarship Award.
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#connectBurundi: how to build a participatory online map

Historically, maps help with getting a sense of direction. The Seruka centre of Bujumbura in Burundi chose crowdmapping, that is, the reliance on citizen collaboration in order to plan new action strategies for the prevention of GBV (gender-based violence). How is the mapping moving along?

By Serena Carta, Bujumbura

An initial introductory meeting with the Seruka managers was held, to clarify the features and possible uses of participatory online mapping tool. A working group from the Center – a dozen people including nurses, psychologists, doctors, communicators and educators – met to discuss what should be included in the map and what use to make of it.

The result of this brainstorm is shown here:



Why do we need a map?

First of all, the Seruka staff tried to identify the goals and aims. Broadly speaking, crowdmapping is a methodology that allows the collection of information from people scattered over the territory, which are then displayed on the online map. In a single look, you get the overview of the phenomenon at any given time. Examples of how the gathered data can be used are, reporting and advocacy activities (Harassmap, Egypt), intervention strategy planning (Crowdmapping Mirafiori Sud, Italy), emergency response (Healthmap Ebola), and mobilizing citizens and strengthen community (Community Safety Network, Georgia). The Seruka staff to focus on planning future activities. Therefore, the purpose behind the mapping is to create a new channel of communication able to facilitate, via SMS, the connection with the Centre and allow for critical information to be used to know how, where and from to focus new services on. At the moment, those in need of contact with the Seruka Center actually drop by or make toll-free calls. The staff hopes to encourage and facilitate the interaction with both new users or stakeholders.

What data shall we collect?

Complaints about GBV episodes, unpunished cases (most victims do not denounce the injurer in fear of retaliation), harassment in public place (schools and hospitals in particular), prostitution (a phenomenon on the raise due to emigration from the countryside).

Also requests for information (many just need more information, others are possible volunteers, students who write dissertations on the subject, youngsters coming to the Center inquiring about sexual education). Care shall be given to eliciting feedback on the quality of the service received.

Who do we engage?

Victims and witnesses alike (the community, neighbor, a family member). The service will then be ported nation wide, although awareness raising campaigns will be started in the three provinces in which Seruka is more active (Bujumbura Mairie, Cibitoke and Muramvya).

What technology do we use?

– First and second generation mobile phones for sending SMS or voice messages

– Smartphone for internet service

– Software for managing messages (Frontline SMS)

– Software for viewing an online map information (Ushahidi-Crowdmap)

– USB Modem

– Internet connection


1. Victim privacy and the networking of sensitive information could be used against the victims.

2. how many people will respond? Until we actually start the project, it will not be known, given Burundi low digitalization of Burundi (World Bank data tell us that 1.3% of Burundians uses the internet and 25% had a subscription to a mobile phone). Past experiences tell us that raising awareness of what is available to make their voices heard requires a consistent investment on the so-called e-capability.

3. how will the Seruka center respond to sharing information? In the long run, will the project be sustainable?

This consultancy stemmed from the “Projet pilote de decentralisation des services de prise en charge des violences sexuelles dans 3 provinces du Burundi” (ref. BU _ EU/2014/CNP/07) CCM NGO-initiated Collaborative Medical Committee – thanks to the support of the European Union.