Media Center12th ICT4D Conference Goes Virtual in the Time of COVID-19

Photo by Katie Price/CRS

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Brittany Wichtendahl
Catholic Relief Services
[email protected]


BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, April 20, 2020 – As a result of the widespread restrictions on movement and travel due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is moving its 12th Information Communications Technology for Development (ICT4D) Conference online.

“The ICT4D conference brings together experts from a variety of sectors; from the international development and humanitarian industry, private business, to government and academic,” said Steve Hellen, CRS’ senior director for field technology. “While we were incredibly disappointed to postpone the conference, we are just as excited to bring it to our participants virtually so we can learn from and share ideas among those experts.”

The updated conference will unfold as a series of virtual events to be held over the next several months, to be kicked off April 21 with a webinar about how information communications technology can be used to effectively fight COVID-19 and support community health workers.

“Right now, people around the world are leaning on technology to keep them connected to their loved ones, to their work and to their community,” Hellen said. “More than that, it’s helping thousands of people learn about COVID-19, how to recognize symptoms and how to prevent it. This webinar will give participants a chance to learn more about how we can utilize these ICT4D tools to help in the fight against COVID-19.”

Other webinars will include a session on the positives and negatives about digital solutions to mobility constraints, like the recent COVID-19 travel restrictions, and the Global Digital Development Forum, designed specifically to include ICT4D practitioners from low- and middle-income countries.

Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, the conference was scheduled to be held April 21 – 23 in Abuja, Nigeria. The content of the virtual conference will focus particularly on digitization of services, digital literacy and technology to enable COVID-19 preparedness and response.

For a list of full list of webinars and speakers, visit:

If you are a journalist and would like to cover this event, please email Brittany Wichtendahl at [email protected].


Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding. For more information, visit or and follow Catholic Relief Services on social media in English at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube; and in Spanish at: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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Public Relations Strategist

Brittany Wichtendahl
April 20, 2020

Brittany Wichtendahl is a public relations strategist for Catholic Relief Services, out of Baltimore. Drafting press releases for secular and Catholic news media, Brittany also crafts pitches to help publicize CRS's work. She writes op-eds for placement in national print publications, and monitors news outlets for stories related to CRS and CRS programming.

Brittany is a graduate of...More