The 12th ICT4D Conference Hosted by CRS Takes on the Global Food Crisis

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Advancing Millennium Development Goals to End Hunger Will Require New Digital Solutions at Scale

 

Imagine a healthcare training system in Ghana that included Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality simulators for young doctors to get top-notch virtual medical training.

 

Imagine emergency cash transfers and vouchers offered to households whose need is informed by precise, up-to-date food security data.

 

Imagine citizens across African countries taking control of their data to leverage positive change in their  community and demanding accountability and transparency from their governments.

Photo by Benny Manser/CRS

Imagine every school on the planet is mapped and can access needed educational resources.

These were just some of the many visions shared in conference halls in Accra, Ghana on 18-21 March 2024. They are not far-fetched or futuristic ideas. Significant advances are growing realities. Increased collaboration among public, private and non-profit sectors has accelerated the work that CRS and partner organizations can accomplish in places around the world where they are desperately needed. Throughout the conference, attendees shared a sense that without innovations in technology and large-scale implementation, many of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will not be reached by 2030. 

Ending Hunger Will Need ICT4D to Succeed 

The United Nations Millennium Development Goal #2 to end hunger will be exceedingly difficult to reach unless many organizations make breakthroughs in technology and share it widely to those most in need around the world. To that end, organizations in for-profit, non-profit and government sectors came to share their progress in agriculture and food security technology advances.

Listen to the ICT4D Conference Podcast to hear directly from experts in agriculture, disaster prevention, data technology companies, investors and government agencies what’s worked best for them.

MIRA Is Making Digital Cash Transfer Assistance and Food Distribution More Precise

The Monthly Interval Resilience Analysis (MIRA) is a tested approach to resilience monitoring at scale, developed by CRS’s Southern Africa Regional Office team and Cornell University. The platform provides years of food security, shock and resilience data tracking for vulnerable communities and families can reliably predict the likelihood of food insecurity of a region more precisely than other methods.

One practical application occurs in drought-prone areas of East Africa where program managers need to make tough decisions about how to direct scarce resources to those with the most severe need. The data and deep analysis the program provides allows communities to build resilience to environmental shocks like drought and anticipate shortages well in advance of a crisis.

Resilience: The ability to recover from shocks and stresses in a way that reduces chronic vulnerability and encourages growth. 

 

 

Digital Soil Mapping Enables Farmers to Adapt to Climate Change

For agriculture, managing the soil is one of the most important aspects of long-term success, especially in the face of drastic climate changes. CRS is working in many Central American countries and Mexico to digitally map soil properties in critical agricultural areas.

That allows farmers and land managers to make better decisions and implement appropriate interventions to manage the soil, water and crops, and see better yields over the years.

ICT4D for Who? Ethical Considerations on Power and Technology

What we gain, what we lose, what power is shifted and what power is strengthened when implementing technological advances at scale can never be fully planned or foreseen. We see the varied effects of technological advances only after their adoption and widespread use. That makes the ICT4D Conference a truly remarkable and consequential place.

Refreshed Principles for Digital Development

The Principles for Digital Development serve as a compass for promoting sustainable and inclusive development in today’s complex digital landscape.  The principles are endorsed by over 290 international organizations including CRS.

From the main stage of the conference, attendees heard from two groups who unveiled milestone publications to help us think through how practitioners can implement maximum positive results and mitigate the potential risks. Please take the principles in these guiding documents to help your own research and implementation of programs.

 

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Graphic found on digitalprinciples.org

Using these Principles as a starting point, policymakers, practitioners and technologists will be better equipped to ensure that all people can benefit from digital initiatives and from the broader digital society.

Browse the principles and see how you can implement them in your work.

Digital Development Guidebook: Navigating the New Frontier of Digital Development

Take a look at this guidebook developed by NetHope in collaboration with CRS in response to the evolving digital landscape. The guide provides practical tips and resources on the three most important topics that emerged from numerous interviews and research: Digital Localization, Digital Public Goods and Digital Skills and Rights.

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Find out more about ICT4D programming at CRS around the world.

Stay up to date on ICT4D-related conferences and meetups on LinkedIn.

Check out the 12th ICT4D Conference official Photo Gallery. You will see we had a lot of fun.

 

All images and graphics are courtesy of the ICT4D Conference, and available on their website or LinkedIn account unless otherwise noted.

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