ICT for Development Highlights

Credit: http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1403/623843568_7fa3c0cbe9.jpg?v=0

For a moment there, during the 8-hour drive from Kassala back to Khartoum, I thought Doha was going to be a miss. My passport was still being processed by the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and my flight to Doha was leaving in a matter of hours. I began resigning myself to the likelihood that I would miss ICT4D 2009. But thanks to the incredible team at IOM, not only did I get my passport back, but I got a one-year, mulitple re-entry visa as well.

I had almost convinced myself that missing ICT4D would ok. How wrong I would have been. When the quality of poster presentations and demo’s at a conference rival the panels and presentation, you know that you’re in for a treat. As the title of this posts suggest, I’m just going to point out a few highlights here and there.


  • Onno Purbo gave a great presentation on wokbolic, a  cost saving wi-fi receiver  antenna made in Indonesia using a wok. The wokbolic has as 4km range, costs $5-$10/month. Great hack.


  • Kentaro Toyama with Microsoft Research India (MSR India) made the point that all development is paternalistic and that we should stop fretting about this since development will by definition be paternalistic. I’m not convinced. Partnership is possible without paternalism.
  • Ken Banks noted the work of QuestionBox, which I found very interesting. I’d be interested to know how they remain sustainable, a point made by another colleague of mine at DigiActive.
  • Other interesting comments by various panelists included (and I paraphrase): “Contact books and status are more important than having an email address”; “Many people still think of mobile phones as devices one holds to the ear… How do we show that phones can also be used to view and edit content?”

Demo’s & Posters

I wish I could write more about the demo’s and posters below but these short notes and few pictures will have to do for now.


  • Analyzing Statistical Relationships between Global Indicators through Visualization:


  • Numeric Paper Forms for NGOs:


  • Uses of Mobile Phones in Post-Conflict Liberia:


  • Improving Data Quality with Dynamic Forms


  • Open Source Data Collection Tools:


Patrick Philippe Meier

9 responses to “ICT for Development Highlights

  1. Thanks so much for the report on #ictd2009
    Keep them coming! 🙂

  2. Wow, thanks for this. And yeah, keep them coming!

  3. Ha, I love the wokbolic. I can already imagine all sorts of great food-internet puns.

  4. Hi Patrick,

    Is this being handled like an O’Reilly conference, i.e. will there be decent presentation videos, links, etc. that can be easily shared with those who couldn’t attend?

    Re point about mobile phones being thought of only as “something you hold to your ear,” it’s going to take a measure of rebranding. The word “phone” has had a very specific meaning for a century. “Smart phones” & “mobile phones” are variants. It needs a new word or phrase, lime “comms portal,” which would, no doubt, be shorted to “comms” in no time. Or CP, then “seep”… 😉

  5. Ken Banks will be presenting at the Mobile Monday event “Mobile for Development” in Geneva June 8, 2009. If you want to find out more about frontlineSMS and other Mobile applications for helping developing countries please feel free to come along to our event. For details see http://www.mobilemonday.ch.

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