These latest technologies and practices will be on display at the Catholic Relief Services Information and Communications Technologies for Development (ICT4D) Conference 2012, to take place from March 27 to 29 in Kigali, Rwanda.
The conference will provide a space where solution providers, development practitioners, international donors and government agencies can come together and learn about successfully deployed solutions and sustainable business models with a focus on agriculture and health.
“We have the opportunity to improve the lives of millions of poor and vulnerable people around the world through the use of technology—to improve economic conditions in developing communities and thereby create the kind of stability that benefits all of us,” said Carol Bothwell, Chief Knowledge Officer for CRS.
“A strong partnership between governments, technology companies, and NGOs will help us seize this opportunity. The Kigali conference creates a forum for exploring the impact such partnerships are having on relief and development work around the world,” she said.
Over the past few years, CRS has found that information and communications technology gives staff the means to be more efficient in their work. It provides data that CRS needs to improve the impact of its projects—even as CRS is carrying them out. And it provides the means to reach more people. But most significantly, it allows CRS to empower impoverished people with information and tools that they themselves can use to improve their livelihoods and quality of life.
This transformation is taking place today because developing communities have increased access to technology, because leading technology companies view these communities as attractive markets for their products and services, and because entrepreneurs within these communities are inventing new and effective ways to use technology.
Programs across the sectors CRS works in have started taking advantage of this technology to track plant pests and diseases, share crop production and marketing information, improve literacy, monitor patient adherence to HIV and AIDS treatment, rapidly assess needs during emergency response efforts, and provide distance learning opportunities to community workers on a scale not possible in the past.
The CRS ICT4D Conference will provide an opportunity to look at what has been learned to date about deploying ICT4D solutions in the field and consider best practices to measure the impact of ICT4D in programming.
# # #
Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. For more information, please visit http://www.crs.org or http://www.crsespanol.org.