Information and communications technology for development, or ICT4D, is an initiative aimed at bridging the digital divide and accelerating communities’ socio-economic development. The annual ICT4D Conference brings together public, private, and civil society organisations across the humanitarian and international development community. Participants share how they’ve used innovations in technology to increase the impact of their work. This year’s conference was unusual considering the global health crisis we are battling with. For the first time, the conference was held online on January 12, 2020.
With 40 speakers across 15 sessions, this year’s conference was focused on cross-sector collaboration on digital transformation, innovation, and digital capacity building in international development and humanitarian response. The COVID-19 pandemic has proven the need for global collaboration for digital transformation and health/humanitarian response. Moreover, it has shown how possible global collaboration is beyond all perceived boundaries. The conference emphasised this by exploring topics such as: supporting local partners, teaming up for capacity building, and multi-sector partnerships.
The Bewsys representatives that participated in the event were enthused to interact with a diverse audience who offered insightful technological applications to development challenges. Also, valid suggestions were presented by the keynote speakers- Sean Callahan (President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services) and Dr. Mahmood (Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia on Public Health)- on how to establish strategic partnerships and capacity building.
“We need to strengthen local partnerships with local organisations to increase capacity building for greater innovation and impact, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic where it is difficult to engage experts from abroad.”
Dr. Mahmood discussed the need to create solutions that reflect the “glocalised nature” of the local community in which the organisation operates. She explained that such solutions have been useful to Malaysia’s government during the earlier days of the pandemic.
Responsible use of data, information security, and information literacy were discussed as important issues for organizations adapting during this pandemic and seeking collaboration in “digital ecosystem-ready” environments. Accessing risks and challenges associated with digital innovations and adaptability should be paramount to such organisations.
It was a great conference to begin the year with. Overall, the conference provided a great opportunity to discuss achievements attained towards the sustainable development goals and how digital solutions can accelerate progress toward achieving all the goals and increase the impact of all developmental projects.
Click here to watch the webinar.