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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!