Catholic Relief Services held its seventh annual ICT4D Conference in Chicago, Illinois.
The conference explored methods for systematically integrating information and communications technology innovations into relief and development programs – innovations that enhance program quality, improve decision making, and increase impact.
380 people attended the conference. The makeup of the participants that attended the conference can be summarized as follows:
Conference roles: This conference focused on sharing experiences in the use of technology in development with speakers (165) and exhibitors (9) making up 46% of the total participant population.
Geographies: Participants came from 55 different countries around the world – 63% from the US.
Organizations: Representatives of 140 organizations attended. Representatives of international and local NGOs made up the largest portion of the attendees (58%) followed by technology companies and other businesses (25%), universities and colleges (12%) and, governmental, multi-lateral organizations, and foundations (5%).
Disciplines: 40% of the attendees were either IT specialists or associated with a technology firm. 60 % were from other disciplines (9% of whom were monitoring and evaluation specialists).
Roles: 52% of the attendees were managers (13% of them C-level and Vice Presidents). 48% were technical specialists.
A post conference survey indicated a high level of satisfaction with the conference. 97% of the participants rated the conference good, very good or excellent and indicated that they were very likely to recommend attendance at future conferences to their colleagues. 99% rated it good, very good or excellent value for the money and indicated it was very relevant to their work. All attendees indicated that they received value out of attending.
The top things that participants liked about the conference were:
The conference organization,
The diversity of presenters, participants, and presentations in terms of sectors, disciplines, geographies, and organizational levels,
The quality of keynote speakers and panelists,
The fast pace, variety, and interactive nature of track sessions,
The ability to network, learn and share experience – both challenges and successes.
The top reasons for individuals cited for attending the conference included:
Learning more about the challenges and approaches to successful ICT4D implementation,
Learning more about the use and impact of ICT45D solutions,
Meeting people and expanding their personnel network.
Key recommendations for future conferences included:
Longer presentations and more time to move between sessions,
More in-depth training/hands-on sessions,
Collocation of the exhibit hall closer to the break areas and presentation rooms,
Additional networking opportunities and events,
Increased focus on preparing presenters.
Two challenges ran in conjunction with CRS’ 2015 ICT4D Conference.
Challenge #1: Apply Geospatial Analysis to the Ebola Crisis
This challenge, sponsored by ESRI, had participants use ArcGIS Online to apply geospatial analysis tools to answer questions about the Ebola crisis in West Africa that can be impactful to response efforts.
The winning entry was Using ArcGIS Online for Ebola-Crisis Burial Site and Burial Team Analysis, Planning and Data Collection submitted by Keeve Brine.
Challenge #2: Integrate the Internet of Things
This challenge, sponsored by Zerion Software, had participants use the iFormBuilder mobile platform and any object, sensor, device, or component in the Internet of Things to create an innovative, unique, and value-added solution to a problem facing the International Relief and Development Community.