Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are a key goal for reaching the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and empowering communities around the world.
Starting today, leaders from tech, private industry, government and the development sector are going together to explore ways to harness cutting-edge information technology to help the world’s most marginalized communities at the 8th annual Information and Communications Technologies for Development (ICT4D) conference.
From demonstrations and trainings on how to use UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) to assess disaster zones as well as deliver emergency supplies, to using remote sensors to monitor water levels at far-flung rural wells and boreholes, to training rural farmers on tablets and mothers on nutrition via SMS, to ensuring good governance and accountability on social media, this year’s ICT4D Conference has something for everyone.
“Today across the developing world, people from all walks of life – farmers, teachers, mothers – are using mobile devices to access weather data, market information, financial services, and medical advice,” said Carol Bothwell, CRS’ Director of Technology Innovation for Development. “Local governments, development organizations, and social enterprises are harnessing the power of real-time data, social media, and analytics to improve the quality and reach of the services they provide to those living in extreme poverty. We can improve the speed with which we achieve the sustainable development goals if we share these innovations and create more.”
The conference has grown from the 80 development professionals who met in Nairobi for one day in 2010, to 750 professionals from some 315 organizations and 75 countries who will meet for four days this year. Speakers include leaders from a wide range of international and local organizations – the World Health Organization, the International Telecommunications Union, the UN Conference on Trade and Development, the governments of Kenya, Sierra Leone, Indonesia and Bangladesh, CISCO, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, Equity Group Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, ICRISAT, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Nairobi, and the University of Notre Dame – as well as the CEOs of a wide range of entrepreneurial businesses and social enterprises.