Why You Should Attend the ICT4D Conference


March 06, 2017

Why You Should Attend the ICT4D Conference

By Steve Hellen

Director of ICT4D & GIS Catholic Relief Services

The Promise

Few leaders within the development community doubt the potential of information and communications technology (ICT) to improve results of humanitarian relief and development initiatives. Access to mobile technologies has spread throughout the developing world at a pace that will soon make such technology ubiquitous. Advances in mobile networks and cloud computing provide new opportunities for development of low cost digital services that are improving livelihoods and the quality of life in low resource settings. Analytics and visualization tools, coupled with real time data access and the advent of smart devices are introducing a step change in our ability to make effective and timely decisions. Social media and online forums are giving people a voice and the ability to influence the structures that affect their lives.  

The Challenge

Deriving the full benefits of such technology is a difficult challenge for two primary reasons. First, the use of technology creates a change in the way that people work and interact—changes that are, while transformative, also disruptive. Secondly, sustainable implementation of such changes requires cooperation and partnership between people from different disciplines, sectors and geographies who often do not share a common language. The annual ICT4D conferences are designed specifically to foster the dialogue needed between such people and give them the opportunity to explore partnerships and build on each other’s experience to improve the impact of development programs and tackle some of the most intractable development challenges. This very dialogue and sharing of experience is a key component of the knowledge exchange needed to manage disruption and harness innovations in productive ways. The value of this event to the development community is reflected in its rapid growth over the past eight years and the high ratings it gets from its participants (Highlights from 2016). It is now recognized across the globe as the development community’s premier ICT4D Event.

As a development professional you should be aware of how technology innovation is rapidly transforming humanitarian relief and development work. The ICT4D Conference gives you an opportunity to explore how technology innovations are being applied to development programs, understand the challenges and success your colleagues have had in taking advantage of such innovations, and identify opportunities to partner with others who can support your own organization’s digital transformation. 

The Event

The 2017 ICT4D Conference will be held in Hyderabad, India May 15th-May 18th. It is focused on the ways in which technology solutions are allowing us to harness the power of data in accelerating the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Over 1,000 individuals are expected to attend the conference—technical experts from a myriad of disciplines, representatives of governmental, non-governmental and private sector organizations, individuals from countries across the globe. 

We have an exciting line-up of plenary speakers. Come hear about the Digital India initiative from Indian government and private sector notables. Hear thought leaders from across the globe discuss strategies for applying big data and geospatial solutions to development challenges. Learn about frontier technologies—the new innovations that are transforming entire industries and beginning to gain traction in development programs. Hear from 350 of your colleagues about their experience in applying technology to agriculture, health, education, livelihoods, environmental protection, humanitarian relief, and financial inclusion programs. Discover technology solutions that cut across development sectors, best practices for management of digital development programs and their data and partnership models for sustaining program impact. Participate in hands-on training sessions and exhibit hall demonstrations. Visit the map gallery and take advantage of birds of a feather sessions and other networking events. See the full agenda here.

The Organizers

The annual ICT4D Conference event, founded by Catholic Relief Services, is now organized by a consortium of NGOs and Private Sector Companies. This year’s organizing team includes three of Humentum’s members: Catholic Relief Services, Mercy Corps, and World Vision in addition to NetHope, the Anudip Foundation, Dalberg, the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL), the Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri), iMerit Technology Services, and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). The team is supported by Edelman, Google, the Government of Telangana (India’s newest state), and Microsoft.

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