On Tuesday 28 March at 6:30pm in the GSMA HQ in Central London, we're delighted to be hosting our next Meetup (#ICT4DLdn) which is taking us back to basics with the use of messaging in ICT4D. We have five exciting speakers from organizations we're sure you'll love. You can join this Meetup by clicking here.
When you work in digital development, a branch of the broader technology industry, one (annoying) refrain that won't stop recurring is that interventions have to be sexy (someone has literally told me this before!). By this, they mean super high-tech, flashy, expensive, and/or unnecessarily complex. Yet, as we have seen with the clamor surrounding the re-release of the beloved Nokia 3310, keeping it simple has never been so sweet - or welcomed.
At next month's meetup, we intend to bring you five amazing speakers working in academia and civil society on simple yet effective messaging solutions in sectors as wide ranging as journalism, humanitarian response, governance, health, and education. In alphabetical order, here are our speakers!
Saba’ Albess - Saba’ Albess is Saferworld’s Yemen Project Officer, supporting programmes in Yemen including projects on youth, women and community peacebuilding as well as international advocacy to bring an end to the conflict in the country. She joined Saferworld in 2016 and has also been leading on the delivery of the remote participatory peacebuilding course targeting Yemeni youth activists. Prior to joining Saferworld, Saba’ worked for the British Consulate General in Jerusalem and for the Palestinian Working Women’s Society for Development in Ramallah. She holds a Master’s degree in Middle East, Caucasus and Central Asian Security Studies from the University of St Andrews.
As Yemen’s civil war continues to restrict space, and opportunities for civil society and youth activists to travel and attend workshops in different locations, Saferworld has started delivering a peacebuilding education course in August 2016 for around 120 youth activists in Yemen using the popular mobile phone app ‘Whatsapp’. The course seeks to support youth activists to develop transferable skills and knowledge to help increase their impact. It also creates a space for activists across Yemen to discuss ideas, learn more about one another, and develop a common understanding of their shared challenges and hopes. The course is divided into various modules, each with a unique focus, such as resilience, conflict sensitivity, the “Do No Harm” principle, and risk mitigation. These modules are delivered by moderators through posters, graphics and activities for participants to engage with.
- Lucie Brown - After an early career in London's creative agencies, Lucie has worked in the charity sector for the last 9 years in a variety of strategic communications roles. She has a Masters degree in Global Development Management and has volunteered as an activist in Sri Lanka, Palestine and France. Lucie is now Business Development Director at more onion, a digital mobilisation agency working exclusively with progressive non-profits and based in London, Vienna and Berlin.
In her presentation, Lucie will explore how we can use messaging apps to apply pressure for development.
- Adam Groves - Adam is Head of Programmes at On Our Radar, where he's responsible for project design and delivery. Previously he worked in the Effectiveness and Learning Team at Bond, and spent five years designing new media and technology solutions at OneWorld.org. Get in touch on Twitter via @adgro or LinkedIn.
On Our Radar is a communications agency for unheard communities. This presentation will reflect on our experience of using simple SMS and audio solutions to support marginalised communities to share their experiences with media, researchers, and service providers. It will touch on our work with remote communities in Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak, in the UK with people living with dementia, and on a number of planned projects.
- Mirca Madianou - Mirca joins us from Goldsmiths, University of London, where she is a Reader in the Department of Media and Communications. Her research examines the social uses and consequences of media environments in a transnational and comparative context.
As the Principal Investigator for the Humanitarian Technologies Project, Mirca will draw on a year-long ethnography of the Haiyan typhoon recovery in the Philippines and 139 interviews with humanitarian workers and affected people, to illustrate a narrow interpretation of accountability as feedback that is increasingly captured through mobile phones. She will highlight how, in this project, she observed that the digitized collection of feedback was not fed back to disaster-affected communities, but was directed to donors as evidence of “impact.” Rather than improving accountability to affected people, digitized feedback mechanisms sustained humanitarianism’s power asymmetries.
- Tom Walker - Tom is a research lead at The Engine Room, an international organisation that helps social change organisations make the most of data and technology to increase their impact. He works with organisations to develop useful resources for using technology and data responsibly in the human rights, humanitarian and transparency/accountability sectors. Get in touch on Twitter via @thomwithoutanh.
Tom will talk about why organisations are starting to use messaging apps in various situations, the operational and responsible data challenges these apps introduce, and outline key things to look for when thinking about using them in development or humanitarian work.
We hope you are as excited about this lineup as we are! If you can't make it that evening, please be sure to follow #ICT4DLdn on Twitter for the discussion and an opportunity to ask questions to our speakers. Please share this event with any you think might be interested! Finally, we will have half an hour for networking and questions at the end, and those who want to continue the conversation can head to a pub nearby afterwards. SEE YOU ALL THERE!