The Sixth International Symposium

This annual Symposium “Perspectives on ICT4D” aims to gather a broad community of researchers and practitioners to discuss and reflect on barriers and paradigms that hamper information sharing for billions of people in the world. With this event we want to facilitate a reflective debate that should include the people at the “other” side of the digital divide, whose voices are all too often ignored.

This year’s theme was how to tackle “Global Challenges” in a collaborative, trans-disciplinary way. Food Security is one of the Global Challenges. With a rapidly growing population in West Africa, expansion of food production is extremely important. In recent years rapid technological advances have been made in agro-technology how to produce high quality and high yield cereal seeds that can feed a growing population.

In Mali high quality seeds (semences de base) are distributed to farmers, with support from the government, research institutes and international development agencies, seed certification agencies and the private sector. However, the local organization of the value chain, the match between offerings and demands is still an important issue to be solved.

In this symposium we discussed how the seed value chain might be improved from the grassroots perspective. We aimed to better understand the role of information and communication technologies and networks for development, and how this could be embedded in the local context to serve local needs, for example of African farmers in Mali, or rural communities in Sarawak, Malaysia.

Students in the ICT4D course 2019 have built models and prototypes to support the work of seed producing farmers in rural Mali. They gave demos and short pitches and discussed their group projects in a poster session.

With this annual symposium we aim to provide a forum for interdisciplinary debate around the challenges presented. We will explore technical, social and economical barriers as well as opportunities in search of practical, innovative, socially acceptable and meaningful solutions.

The Symposium was also part of the ICT4D master course for students Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence and Information Science.

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