12th ICT4D Conference Update
-> Senior Practitioners from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Microsoft, and CRS are among the first to join the plenary.
-> 150+ speakers have been confirmed from government, international and Ghanaian NGOs, and private and civil society organizations to share insights and innovations.
-> Register now to join the discussion at the leading conference on the use of ICT for development and humanitarian response.
The 12th ICT4D Conference, founded by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is taking place in Accra, Ghana on March 19 – 20, 2024. The internationally recognized Conference brings together technical advisors and senior practitioners from community-led organizations, NGOs, multilateral agencies, research institutions, and private sector companies. The purpose of the Conference is to facilitate meaningful discourse and collaboration focused on the use of digital technology and data innovations for good. The event in Accra will feature over 80 sessions led by thought leaders in technology for global development.
Led by CRS, the ICT4D Conference is co-organized by a robust list of consortium partners and sponsors from the global digital development community. This year’s consortium partners include Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL), eGov Foundation, Mercy Corps, MERL Tech, Public Digital, and SOS Children’s Villages. The event is sponsored by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bixal, DataKind, Esri, NetHope, RedRose, Sahaj, Microsoft, ActivityInfo, Element22, GeniusTags, Bluesquare, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE).
The agenda is jam-packed with interactive sessions on some of the most current topics in ICT4D such as generative AI and locally-led digital transformation, as well as discussions and case studies on truly impactful uses of ICTs for impact. At the high level, we have three focus themes for the Conference agenda: digital approaches to wicked problems, exploring data innovations for impact, and discussing how to build responsible, sustainable, and locally owned digital foundations.
In the first theme, digital approaches to wicked problems, subject matter experts and ICT4D practitioners will share how they are using digital approaches to help solve global challenges, while ensuring digital transformation efforts do not contribute to widening digital divides. Joshua Templeton, Foreign Service Officer for USAID will be presenting a case study on harnessing AI to mitigate the effects of climate change, soil degradation, and food insecurity. Addressing the food security challenge, Kathryn Clifton and Austen Moore will share how Catholic Relief Services is scaling machine learning to strengthen resilience and address food insecurity. There is also a strong focus on digital health, covering topics such as system strengthening and integrated health systems. Representatives from Tai Tanzania, African Health Innovation Centre, and Mumble will present health innovations at the Demonstration Stage. One of the world’s largest NGOs focused on supporting vulnerable children and young people, SOS Children’s Villages, are facilitating a panel discussion on youth engagement and employment.
The data innovations for impact theme focuses on the opportunities and challenges presented by the rapid advancements in our ability to leverage data. The theme features multiple sessions focused on innovations in using geospatial data for development and humanitarian outcomes, and how the most recent developments in AI and machine learning can be applied for social good. Esri is leading a discussion on how to build local capacities and infrastructure for GIS in disaster management. Additional sessions will also discuss the latest innovations in geospatial mapping. Software engineering company, Sahaj, and consulting company, Bixal, will be joining non-profit organizations such as Mercy Corps and MERL Tech to discuss how the latest technologies including generative AI and chatbots can be utilized for social good. A few of the speakers joining us for these discussions are Linda Raftree, Founder of the MERL Tech Initiative, and Oshin Anand, Data Science Lead (North America) from Sahaj Software.
The third Conference theme, local leadership for a digital future, features discussions that highlight opportunities and approaches to building responsible, sustainable, and locally-owned digital foundations. Learn about digital public infrastructure from representatives of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Public Digital, and eGov Foundation. Joining the robust list of speakers for this track are Seth Akumani, Head of Exploration, Accelerator Lab for the UNDP, and Nita Tyagi, Director of Partnerships and Growth at eGov. This theme will have a specific focus on Ghana’s digital development and local actors. Daniel Ganyoame, Executive Director of Africa ICT Right will be speaking about ICT tools used to address critical national challenges in Ghana pertaining to education, gender, youth empowerment, and heath. Many Ghana-based organisations will also be sharing about their work in the digital health space during a Learning Carousel.
For a full list of current speakers, see here.
Thought-provoking discussions, exciting announcements, and hands-on training
Each day of the conference will start with a plenary session featuring keynote speeches by thought-leaders and dignitaries, a panel discussion, and various announcements and launches. We are particularly excited to share that DIAL will be unveiling the revised Principles for Digital Development at the Conference.
These nine living guidelines are designed to help digital development practitioners integrate best practices into technology –enabled programs were first published a decade ago and have since been stewarded by DIAL. As the Principles community celebrates their 10-year anniversary, DIAL has been leading a refresh to the principles to ensure they remain a valuable resource for the ever-expansive digital development community.
The morning plenary will also feature a panel discussion focused on the adverse effects digital transformation can have on the environment and our climate.
The Greening ICT4D plenary panel will discuss the different ways in which we need to green ICT4D, from recycling our devices and advancing right-to-repair, advocating for a greener internet through better policymaking, and considering the carbon footprint of generative AI. The speakers featured on the Greening panel include Onica Makwakwa, Executive Director of Global Digital Inclusion Partnership (GDIP), Morten Risgaard, Head of Sales UN & NGO at Danoffice IT, and Isaac Acquah, ITC National Coordinator NTF 5 GHANA.
Strengthening ICT4D capacity at the practical level has always been a key part of the ICT4D Conference. To that end, a Training Day will be offered on March 21, 2024, after the initial two-day Conference. The Training Day features interactive and practice focused sessions where participants can practice their skills and do deep dives into specific topics. The individual half-day and full-day workshops will focus on areas including earth science, generative AI, and digital transformation. Here are just two of the workshops offered:
- Creating a Digital Transformation for Development (DX4D) Scorecard: Interested in learning about digital transformation for development (DX4D)? Richard Heeks, the Chair of Digital Development at the University of Manchester will be facilitating a Training Day session focused on the DX4D principles and DX4D scorecard developed by the University. During this highly interactive session, participants will have the opportunity to workshop the draft DX4D scorecard that will bring value to actors aiming to improve the development impact of digital transformation.
- Using Earth Science to Power Humanitarian Action: NASA Lifelines with be hosting a uniquely structured workshop on using earth science to power humanitarian action. The workshop will mimic a game-show experience where participants will part-take in trivia games to learn about relevant satellite data and how they support humanitarian action. This workshop will be led by Rhiannan Price, Chief Strategy & Innovations Officer for DevGlobal Partners & NASA Lifelines, and James Haithcoat, Principal Consultant for DevGlobal Partners.
To see a full list of this year’s Training Day workshops, visit the Conference’s Training Day website.