The Role of Digital Technology in Development


September 28th, 2016

Runner Up Entry to Practical Action Strategy Contest

In June 2016,  in partnership with the International Institute of Environment and Water, 2IE, Practical Action launched a contest called “Fit for the Future.” Intended primarily for students of the Institute, this competition was to involve them in strategic thinking about the future of Practical Action in a decade.

Launched on June 23, 2016, the candidates were invited to submit their ideas and contributions in different forms and to submit them to Practical Action.  A total of 22 contributions were received by the closing date. After analysis, Practical Action has selected two papers for publication and the winning contribution was chosen. This blog is the contribution awarded runner up, written by:

Mr Ibrahim NEYA: water engineering design and environmental engineer 2iE electrical and power engineering option (EGE) from Burkina Faso

The award of 80,000 CFA was presented to the winner on 2 September 2016 at 2IE. You can read the winning entry here.

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Gauge reader at Karnali River in Chisapani, Nepal monitoring the river levels sponsored by the Zurich Flood Resilience Programme

Gauge reader at Karnali River in Chisapani, Nepal monitoring the river levels sponsored by the Zurich Flood Resilience Programme

Our world is experiencing spectacular advances in the field of technology and the speed of progress shows no sign of slowing down over the years.

In a decade the internet of things, already well known by its English name, will enable the development of more sophisticated tools, accessible to a much bigger portion of the world’s population. We can easily imagine that by 2027, technology will occupy a determining place in all human activities and have a direct influence on people’s lives, and on existing models and structures.

The proliferation of technological applications in the near future does not however signify prosperity and peace for all sectors of society. The rich countries, which will be the instigators of this future thanks to their immense technological potential, will take advantage of it, and the gap between rich and poor countries will widen.

In such circumstances the contribution of NGOs which work to combat poverty, such as Practical Action, will prove interesting to the extent that this NGO aims to make use of technology to take concrete actions to benefit poor communities. To do this Practical Action should support, accompany and promote projects to develop digital applications in the areas of health, environment and education for all, which will benefit the world’s poor. These projects will enable us for example to: provide remote medical consultations for the poor; to monitor environmental issues and raise awareness of pollution and to give children from disadvantaged backgrounds access to the same quality of education, as children of the rich, through online training.

By Ibrahim Neya, Student of Electrical and Energy Engineering at 2iE
Runner up in our Fit for the Future Competition

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