Network Members Biographies

Rita Afonso

Professor in the faculty of Business Administration of Federal University of Rio de Janeiro – UFRJ
(Theme 4 co-convenor – Youth Partipation and innovative digital methods)


Rita Afonso is a Brazilian professor at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro – UFRJ – in the faculty of Business Administration. She is an associated researcher at Technology and Social Development Laboratory and at DESIS Lab – Design For Social Innovation and Sustainability, both in the Graduate Program in Production Engineering at the same university. As a researcher, she works within the projects TRANSIT – Transformative Social Innovation Theory; LASIN- Latin American Social Innovation Network (both co-financed by the European Commission); Food 2.0: Sustainable Food Futures – young people’s views from Rio and London (funded by the Newton Fund/FAPERJ) and Plataforma Digital Inteligente Y Big Data para El Turismo Rutal Comunitário en La Región Puno (co-financed by CONCYTEC – Consejo  Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología e Innovación Tecnológica, Peru).

Within the field of social innovation, she has the specific interest in the relationship between youth work in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro and technology.

Research interests: Social Innovation; Social innovation in favelas; New forms of production and consumption; Marketing and social innovation; Design for social innovation; Youth and social innovation.

Twitterhandle: @RitaAfonso1



Mike Best

Director of the United Nations University Institute on Computing and Society (UNU-CS)
(Theme 3 co-convenor – Citizen Participation, Data Science, ICT for peace building)

unu-university-1 (1)

Dr. Michael L. Best directs the United Nations University Institute on Computing and Society (UNU-CS) in Macau SAR, China. He is a professor, on leave, with the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs and the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology where he directs the Technologies and International Development Lab. Professor Best is co-founder and Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of the widely read journal, Information Technologies and International Development. He holds a Ph.D. from MIT and has served as director of Media Lab Asia in India and head of the eDevelopment group at the MIT Media Lab.

Best’s research focuses on information and communication technologies (ICTs) for social, economic, and political development. In particular he studies mobile and Internet-enabled services and their design, impact, and importance within low-income countries of Africa and Asia. He researches engineering, public policy, and business issues as well as methods to assess and evaluate development outcomes. Professor Best is also interested in the impact of ICTs on the development-security nexus and on post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation.

Research interests: Mobile and Internet-enabled services, engineering, public policy, development-security nexus, post-conflict reconstruction & reconciliation.




Dan Brockington

Director of Sheffield Institute for International Development
(Theme 1 co-convenor – Big Data, small data & Data Science to inform progress towards the SDGs)

Dan Brockington Sheffield University

Dan is Director of SIID, previously Professor of Conservation and Development at the University of Manchester. He trained as an anthropologist at UCL, where he wrote his PhD under Kathy Homewood’s supervision, and then worked at the Geography Departments of the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford before moving to Manchester and Sheffield respectively.

Most of Dan’s research has been in Tanzania, where he has worked on livelihood change, natural resource governance, microfinance and institutional performance, however he has also worked in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and India. His broader interests include work on global overviews of the social impacts of protected areas, media and conservation and continental-wide examinations of the work of conservation NGOs in sub-Saharan Africa. Most recently he has worked on celebrity and development, based largely on work in the UK. He is happiest conducting long term field research in remote areas of East Africa but also learns much from studying organisations and the occasional plush fundraising event.

Research interests: Livelihood change, natural resource governance, microfinance, media and conservation, celebrity and development




Gerald Businge

Lecturer of Digital Journalism and Multimedia Communication at Makerere University

Gerald Businge (1)Makerere_University_logo

Gerald Businge is a Lecturer of Digital Journalism and Multimedia Communication at Makerere University Department of Journalism and Communication. He is an award winning Multimedia Journalist, communications specialist, researcher and tech innovator in Uganda, East Africa. Businge’s research interests center on the role of ICTs in empowerment and development of individuals and communities, new media technologies, e-participation and crowdsourcing, big data and ICT innovations beyond the internet. He has special interests in e-learning, e- governance, as well as digital tools that promote transparency and public accountability. Businge is also a certified trainer of DW Akademie, World Bank, Hague Academy, and Internews Europe. He is the chief developer and Managing Director of an award winning digital learning platform (with web app, offline app and custom tablet computer), and the mother company Ultimate Multimedia Consult. He has worked/ consulted in Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan, Malaysia and USA.

Research interests: Digital Journalism, Social Media best Practices, Suitable Mobile Technologies, Role of ICTs in development, Digital Learning and Training, e-participation, Digital Knowledge Capture & Management

Twitterhandle: @gbusinge




Andy Dearden

Professor of Interactive Systems Design in the Computing Department at Sheffield Hallam University

Andy Dearden 29630Andy Dearden Corporate burgundy for digital use

Andy Dearden is Professor of Interactive Systems Design in the Computing Department at Sheffield Hallam University, UK. His research deals with participatory methods for designing ICT systems and services to promote social, health and economic benefits for individuals and communities.

Andy has published widely on how effective design practices, specialist design skills and good design ideas can be shared to allow people who are not specialist designers to devise workable and appropriate ICT systems for themselves. Core concerns in his work are the ethics, roles and relationships in which technology users, designers, developers, researchers and technology makers are entangled.

He has led participatory innovation projects with private, public & third sector organizations, and with grassroots community groups in the UK, India and Africa.

Research interests: Participatory methods for designing ICT systems, participatory innovation, technology ethics, roles and relationships.




Sifiso Dlamnini

Ethnographer at CSIR Meraka Institute, Council of Science and Industrial Research (CSIR), South Africa


Sifiso Dlamini is a multidisciplinary researcher with a background in Busines Studies, Political Sciences, International Relations and Sociology. Sifiso’s research interests are in Rural Development, Rural Education Development, and the use of Technology to improve Education and Health Services. Sifiso’s recent focus has been around assessing  Readine for Technology Implementation, Horizontal and Vertical accountability at State, Institutional and local level. He is currently a PHD student at the University of Pretoria  (South Africa) where he  is developing resilience framework for ICT4E in South Africa and Africa.

Research Interests: Rural, ICT4E,  ICT4D, Accountability, Resilience, Readiness


Jaime Echavarri Valdez

Research Associate and Project Manager on the ESRC Digital Development Network

Before joining SIID, Jaime Echávarri collaborated with the University of Manchester where he is also a research fellow. His research interests are the intersections between Development Studies, technology and education. Jaime’s previous research explored the teachers’ role within ICT curricula and their context-based acquisition of ICT capabilities. More recently he has been working in Digital Governance and its impact for development. He is also co-investigator in the ‘School Accountability and Education Reform’ project at the National University (UNAM) in Mexico.

Jaime obtained his PhD in in Development Policy and Management at the University of Manchester and prior to that he was part of the Tec the Monterrey faculty at the Government School (EGAP) where he also served as MPA/MPP program director. Jaime has also worked within the IT industry in Latin America for companies like Symantec.

Chris Foster

Lecturer in ICT and Innovation at the University of Sheffield

Chris Foster Sheffield University

Chris is a lecturer in ICT & innovation in the Information School at the University of Sheffield. His work particularly explores the growth of ICTs in the Global South and its impacts of inclusion and inequality. He has undertaken research and published in the areas inclusive innovation and impacts of the internet on SMEs, with extensive fieldwork in East Africa. Chris has recently been involved in two projects critically analysing the growth of data and big data projects in development. He has been involved in research in India on big data for development initiatives, with the goal to explore how they are managing, and using data to bring about change. He is also involved in research exploring how aggregated data from mobile phones is being used as a new way to understand poverty and development.

Research interests: inclusive innovation, big data, internet connectivity, value chains, development, e-commerce

Twitterhandle: @cgfoz




Mark Graham

Professor of Internet Geography at the University of Oxford

mark_grahamUni of Oxford

Mark has spent the last few years investigating the implications of new types of digital labour for workers in the Global South. This research is ongoing in his team’s work on virtual production networks, and outsourcing and microwork. Mark also co-founded and lead the ‘Connectivity, Inclusion, and Inequality’ and ‘Big Data and Human Development’ research clusters at Oxford.

Research interests: Digital Labour, Gig Economy, Economic Geography, Critical Data Studies, Internet Geography, Digital Divides

Twitterhandle: @geoplace




Dan Hammett

Senior Lecturer, Department of Geography at the University of Sheffield

Dan Hammett Sheffield University

Dan joined the University of Sheffield in 2010, and since then has worked on a range of projects addressing issues of citizenship, representation and civil society. Integral to Dan’s work are questions around the use of, and perceptions towards, digital technologies as tools of mobilisation for citizens. In particular, my interest lies in the use of such technologies to carve out critical public spheres within hybrid political systems.

Research interests: Digital democracy, citizenship, civil society, activism




Marlien Herselman

Chief Researcher at Council of Science and Industrial Research (CSIR), South Africa

Marlien Herselman CSIR

Prof. Marlien Herselman (F) is a Chief Researcher at Meraka, CSIR in Pretoria, South Africa. In this capacity she is in the Technology Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation research group. She was also Chairperson of the board of Living Labs in Southern Africa network (LLiSA) from its initiation in 2009-2014. Herselman is an adjunct professor at the University of Pretoria (Faculty of Education), University of Fort Hare (Information systems department), Monash University (Faculty of IT) and UNISA (School of Computing) where she is supervising and co-supervising Masters and Doctoral students. She holds a PhD from the University of Pretoria, South Africa and is a rated SA researcher (NRF rating at level C). In 2009 she won the IEEE, Women in Engineering: Female scientist of the year award (South African section) and in 2016 the CSIR excellence award for Human Capacity Development. Herselman has already written over 49 accredited research articles and has over 39 accredited conference contributions at international conferences. Already delivered 41 Masters and 16 PhD students from 2003-16. Her research interest focus on ICT4D, using various innovation models and techniques to stimulate the National system of Innovation in South Africa, Mobile learning & mobile Health.

Research interests: Innovation and innovation models & techniques, MLearning, MHealth, ICT4D, Informatics, Research methodology

Twitterhandle: @marlienH



Morten Jerven

Professor in Development Studies at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences

nmbu_logo_eng_rgb.jpg- Morten Jerven

Morten Jerven, is Professor in Development Studies the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and a visiting professor in Economic History at Lund University. He has a Ph.D. in Economic History from the London School of Economics. Jerven is the author of the book “Poor Numbers: How We Are Misled by African Development Statistics and What to Do about It”, published by Cornell in 2013. He has since published a more detailed study of what happened to the economic growth evidence in Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia from 1965 to 1995 with Oxford. He edited two volumes published with Routledge. One on “Measuring African Development: Past and Present” and another on the African Statistical Tragedy. His latest book, Africa: Why Economists Get It Wrong was published in June 2015.

Research interests: Development Statistics, Statistical Capacity, Economic History, Population Census, Poverty, Economic Growth

Twitterhandle: @mjerven




Miguel Kanai

Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Sheffield

Miguel Kanai Sheffield University

Miguel is a geographer broadly interested in questions of worldwide urbanization and its implications for development, with a specific focus on Latin America but also relevance for other locations throughout the global South. His published research engages conflicts regarding the design and provision of infrastructure at the urban and regional scales; contention around initiatives to upgrade urban areas through property-led redevelopment; and uses of localized cultural assets to both promote and contest exclusionary forms of historical-city regeneration. Methodologically, Miguel’s research relies on a broad-range of approaches from participatory and embodied field techniques to social-media qualitative data analysis and digitally-enabled analysis of secondary geo-referenced and text data, including innovative bibliometric and text-mining approaches applied to various forms of geographical knowledge production. His publications have appeared in various international peer-reviewed journals including EPA (recipient of 2015 Ashby Award), EPD, IJURR, Urban Studies and American Behavioural Scientist.

Research interests: Territorial design through infrastructure provision, Contested urbanization, Development conflicts, Bibliometrics, Narrated geographies and public sentiment




Dorothea Kleine

Professorial Research Fellow, Department of Geography and Theme Lead: Digital Technologies, Data and Innovation at the University of Sheffield
(Theme 2 co-convenor – Participation and value- based design of socio- technological innovation)

Sheffield University

Prof Dorothea Kleine leads the GCRF Digital Development Strategic Network as Principal Investigator. At Sheffield University, where she leads the Research Theme of Digital Technologies, Data and Innovation at the Sheffield Institute for International Development (SIID) which brings together 25 researchers. Her research investigates sustainable human development, global justice, and the potential role of digital technologies in making progress towards these aims.

Ongoing projects include: Using the Choice Framework to apply the capabilities approach to the area of ICT4D:

Developing ethical guidelines for data use in ICT4D across stakeholder groups:

Using participatory methods to engage young people in dialogue about the risks and opportunities of internet use:

She has conducted research in Latin America (Brazil; Chile), Europe (UK, Germany), Africa (Kenya; South Africa) and South Asia (India). Dorothea Kleine is a Faculty Associate at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. She has conducted collaborative research with and/or advised UNICEF, UNEP, EuropeAid, DFID, GIZ, IDRC, private sector organisations and NGOs.

Research interests: ICT4D, Gender, Participation, Capabilities approach, Sustainability

Twitterhandle: @dorotheakleine




Neil Lawrence

Professor or Machine Learning at the University of Sheffield, but he is currently on leave at Amazon where he is Director of Machine Learning and founder of Amazon Research Cambridge.

Neil Lawrence Sheffield University

Neil Lawrence received his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Southampton in 1994. Following a period as an field engineer on oil rigs in the North Sea he returned to academia to complete his PhD in 2000 at the Computer Lab in Cambridge University. He spent a year at Microsoft Research in Cambridge before leaving to take up a Lectureship at the University of Sheffield, where he was subsequently appointed Senior Lecturer in 2005. In January 2007 he took up a post as a Senior Research Fellow at the School of Computer Science in the University of Manchester where he worked in the Machine Learning and Optimisation research group. In August 2010 he returned to Sheffield to take up a collaborative Chair in Neuroscience and Computer Science.

Neil is an Associate Editor in Chief for IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (since 2011) and an Action Editor for the Journal of Machine Learning Research. He was the founding editor of the JMLR Workshop and Conference Proceedings (2006) and is currently series editor. He is Programme Chair for AISTATS 2012 and has served on the programme committee of several international conferences. He was an area chair for the NIPS conference in 2005, 2006, 2012 and 2013, Workshops Chair in 2010 and Tutorials Chair in 2013. He was general chair of AISTATS in 2010 and AISTATS Programme Chair in 2012. He will be Program Chair of NIPS in 2014.

Research interests: probabilistic models with applications in computational biology and personalized health.




Fortunate Machingura

Research Fellow at Overseas Development Institute

Fortunate Manchester Logo for Fortunate ODI Logo for Fortunate

Dr Fortunate Machingura has worked as a Health Systems expert in and on Africa, as well as on global development issues and initiatives, for more than a decade. Her research interests revolve around Premature mortality, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Social Determinants of health; Health Inequalities; HIV/AIDS; Key populations; Health Management Information Systems, and Participatory Action Research. She has consulted extensively including with the World Health Organisation, and independent technical organisations. She has extensive experience working on community centred participatory development, including actively liaising with Governments, NGOs and Universities in east and southern Africa. Through RTI International, Fortunate’s work in the Government of Zimbabwe’s Health Ministry is building ways to support health data dissemination and information use systems. In her University of Manchester Post-Doctoral research, she is using participatory approaches to develop new tools that assist policy makers, development practitioners and donors, to understand dynamics of inequality among marginalised social groups living with HIV/AIDS- as part of a wider discourse to ‘leave-no-one- behind’ in the 2030 agenda for SDGs. She is working with the ODIECSA-HC, Zimbabwe MoH and the Colleges of Health Sciences at the Universities of Zimbabwe and Kwazulu Natal in South Africa. She holds a PhD in Development Policy and Management from the Global Development Institute, University of Manchester. She is based in London, UK.

Research interests: Sustainable Development Goals; Health Systems Strengthening; Inequality; Preventable Deaths; Participatory Acton Research, HIV/AIDS, Key Populations

Twitterhandle: @FortunArty




Ciira Maina

Lecturer in Electrical Engineering at Dedan Kimathi University of Technology
(Theme 1 co-convenor – Big Data, small data & Data Science to inform progress towards the SDGs)


Ciira Maina Ciira Maina Uni logo

Ciira wa Maina graduated from the University of Nairobi, Kenya with a BSc. degree in Electrical Engineering in 2007 and with a Ph.D. from Drexel University in Philadelphia, USA in September 2011. Between October 2011 and August 2013 he was a postdoctoral researcher in computational Biology working with Prof. Magnus Rattray and Prof. Neil Lawrence at the University of Sheffield. Since September 2013 he has been a Lecturer in Electrical Engineering at Dedan Kimathi University of Technology in Nyeri, Kenya where he is also the departmental chair. His main research interests are in the area of bioacoustics which seeks to leverage use of acoustic data for environmental monitoring for conservation and the development of novel data acquisition systems for applications in agriculture and health. He has been involved in setting up the Data Science Africa series of workshops aimed at exploring the use of data science to meet development goals in Africa.

Research interests: Bioacoustics, Statistical signal processing, Machine learning, Communication systems, Engineering Education.

Twitterhandle: @CwaMaina





Mario Marais

Principal Researcher at Council of Science and Industrial Research (CSIR), South Africa

Mario_Marais CSIR

Mario Alphonso Marais is a Principal Researcher in the Technology, Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation research group of the Meraka Institute of the CSIR. Research areas include sustainability in Information and Communications Technology for Development (ICT4D), especially the use of social capital and the use of systems thinking; the benefits of participatory social community mapping and the integration of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) into ICT4D project flow. In support of decision-making he does facilitation and problem structuring via soft operations research techniques. Evaluation work includes an ICT for Education project in rural schools and ICT-hubs for service delivery to rural communities, the Digital Doorway initiative ( A project that provided internet connectivity to schools and communities in a rural area used an entrepreneurial model for local technical support. Research into the role of social capital in supporting these entrepreneurs was the focus of a PhD in Informatics.

Research interests: ICT4D, Sustainability, Systems thinking, Social capital, community mapping, monitoring and evaluation

Twitterhandle: @mmarais




Andrés Moreno

Research Fellow at United Nations University & (From April) the University of Eastern Finland

Andres Moreno unu-university-1 (1)

Andrés Moreno (PhD, University of Eastern Finland) is currently working on technologies and activities to promote peaceful societies, especially in post-conflict areas. For the last 10 years he has combined his interest in ICT for Development and Computer Science Education. In that time, he successfully integrated different research approaches and tools to create innovative solutions. Jeliot ConAn is a education tool resulting from his research in Finland, Tanzania and England. Andrés has developed most of his ICT4D career in Mozambique, putting into action the conflicting plans of local and international partners. Recently, he started an ICT capacity project at the biggest Eritrean university, ICT4EEDU.

Research interests: civic engagement, participatory design, educational technologies, ICT4D

Twitterhandle: @andresi4d

Website:; (from April)



Joseph Muliaro Wafula

Director of the ICT Centre of Excellence & Open Data at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT)
(Theme 3 co-convenor – Citizen Participation, Data Science, ICT for peace building)

Joseph M Wafula JKUAT new logo- Prof Wafula

Prof Joseph Muliaro Wafula is a member of the CODATA executive committee and the Chair of CODATA Kenya. His main research interest is in open data policies and strategies for sustainable development; Data, information and scientific visualization; and ICT for peace building.

He holds M.Phil. Microelectronic Engineering and Semiconductor Physics (University of Cambridge –UK), and PhD Information Technology (JKUAT). He attended Summer Doctoral Program at Harvard University Law School.  He is a recipient of IBM awards namely: 2016 IBM SUR Award on Open Data Cloud Project for JKUAT, and the 2014 IBM MEA Award. He won the 2016 Kenya Open Data Champion Award.

He is a fellow of the Computer Society of Kenya and the Cambridge Commonwealth Society. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computing at JKUAT and the founder Director of the ICT Centre of Excellence and Open Data (iCEOD).

Research interests: ICT, open, data, sustainable, development, peace




Emmanuel Mung’ong’o

Manager Micro-Surveillance at Directorate of Financial Stability at the Bank of Tanzania

Emmanuel M bot-bank-of-tanzania-2016-2017-monetary-policy

Dr. Emmanuel Mwanambali Mung’ong’o has been Manager Micro-Surveillance at Directorate of Financial Stability, Bank of Tanzania since January 2013. His role includes monitoring of financial intermediaries, financial markets and financial system infrastructure from macro-prudential oversight and policy perspective. Prior to assuming this position, he worked as bank examiner for 10 years. His current position, includes membership to Tanzania National Financial Inclusion Technical Team, which coordinates country’s financial inclusion initiatives, including promotion of innovative financial products such as digital financial services combined with setting up financial consumer protection systems to mitigate consumer risks in the rapidly changing financial sector landscape. He is a member East African Community Macroprudential Analysis and Stress Testing Working Group which steers the development and harmonization of macro-prudential analysis and policy tools in the region. He is also chairman of Responsible Lending Sub-group of the Alliance of Financial Inclusion (AFI) focusing on financial consumer protection issues relating to Digitally delivered Credit. His research interests are in macro-prudential oversight and policy tools, financial innovations including digital finance and consumer protection with a focus of financial services.

Research interests: macro-prudential oversight and policy tools, financial innovations including digital finance and consumer protection with a focus of financial services.




Amy O’Donnell

ICT in Programme Lead at Oxfam GB

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Amy is an adviser on applications of information communications technologies (ICTs) to support programming at Oxfam GB. Her role involves driving strategy to support staff working in humanitarian response, campaigning and long term development to explore effective design and best practice in the use of ICTs. This involves working with programmes to establish the enabling role ICTs can play in improving quality, efficiency and reach. Amy was influential in the development of Oxfam’s Responsible Data Policy which focuses on Oxfam’s commitment to uphold the rights of those the data refers to and to treat programme data with respect.

Research interests: ICT4D, Responsible Data, Women’s rights, International Development, Social accountability, Citizen engagement

Twitterhandle: @amy_odonnell




Andre Paz

Professor and creative director of interactive narratives, digital media and platforms

Andre PazUNIRIO_logoAndre Paz

Andre Paz is professor, researcher and creative director of interactive narratives, digital media and platforms, especially related to social issues. He works at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro State (UNIRIO) and coordinates the knowledge action network BUG404 (, that promotes interactive narratives and multiplatform projects in Brazil (Web, App, Virtual Reality, Video Installation). He leads workshops of participatory video, like Ilha Grande (, webdocumentaries, like “Pedalei até Aqui (2015)” (bug404/pedalei), and collaborative webdocumentaries, like “My Rio deserves a webdoc” (2016) ( for young people in the Rio de Janeiros’s outskirts. Andre Paz also produced and directed documentary films and webdocumentaries, like “Ilha Grande: each beach, an island; each island, a story (2016)” ( He currently works on developing an innovative methodology of co-creation for developing interactive and participatory narratives through digital media and colaborative platforms.

Research interests: interactive narrative, participatory video, webdoc, digital media, co-creation




Jelena Perović

Communication Officer at UNICEF Montenegro

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Jelena Perović has a PhD in Communication Science from the Sapienza University of Rome, Italy. Her PhD thesis was about media education in Montenegro. Working as the Communication Officer for UNICEF in Montenegro, she coordinated the Global Kids Online research in this country and several campaigns promoting child digital safety and participation, inclusion of children with disabilities, preschool education, fostering, etc. Her research interests are related to children and media, media literacy/media education, communication for development and social change, child participation, etc.

Research interests: Children and media, media literacy/media education, communication for development and social change, child participation




Sammia Poveda Villalba

Research Fellow at the United Nations Institute on Computing and Society

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Sammia Poveda research focuses on how to improve people’s psychosocial wellbeing, as a way to improve their empowerment, while exploring what role ICT can play. Her work also explores how overcome the gender digital divide. Sammia’s doctoral research at Royal Holloway, University of London, focused on evaluating approaches to basic ICT training in Brazil, aiming to find out what elements may improve meaningful ICT appropriation and usage. Sammia is currently a Research Fellow at the United Nations University, Institute on Computing and Society. Sammia is also Information Officer of the Executive Council of the Human Development and Capability Association (HDCA), and runs a Latin American ICT4D discussion group in Facebook. She was a co-author of the UNICEF report, Children, ICT and Development, and was a Research Fellow for the Sheffield Institute for International Development. Before her PhD, Sammia worked in international development for four years with the German Development Agency (GIZ).

Research interests: Capability approach, Critica pedagogy, ICT4D, psychosocial wellbeing, critical agency, empowerment




Jaco Renken

Lecturer in Information Systems at the  Global Development Institute, Manchester

Profile Picture - Jaco Renken Manchester Logo for Fortunate

Jaco Renken is a Lecturer at the Global Development Institute, University of Manchester. Having grown up in a developing country (South Africa) and with a background in information systems, his research interests are situated at the intersection between information and communication technologies (ICT) and socio-economic development. There is a particular focus on harnessing the benefits and managing the changes necessitated by rapid technological development for the greater social good. There is a core interest in the roles of key individuals, champions and leaders in development. Additional areas of research include e-business & development, with particular emphasis on ICT management capabilities, and metric-based approaches and digital technologies in Development Informatics research. Changes implied by the data revolution in development cut across these focal areas – it requires digital development leadership; new organisational capabilities are required; and new research approaches are needed – and are therefore fundamentally important as an emerging area of interest.

Research interests: ICT4D, Development Champions, Development Leadership, ICT Management Capabilities, Data for Development, Digital Development Research Approaches

Twitterhandle: @jacorenken




Afua Twum- Danso Imoh

Lecturer in the Sociology of Childhood at the University of Sheffield

Dr. Afuna Twum- Danso Imoh Sheffield University

Afua Twum-Danso Imoh is a Lecturer in the Sociology of Childhood at the University of Sheffield. Her research focuses on the changing nature of parent–child relationships, the impact of cultural values on universal children’s rights standards, child and youth participation and the impact of globalization on the concept of childhood. Her work has been published in a number of edited collections as well as in peer-reviewed journals. She is the co-editor of two edited volumes: Childhoods at the Intersection of the Global and the Local (Palgrave, October 2012) and Children’s Lives in an Era of Children’s Rights: The Progress of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Africa (Routledge, December 2013). She is member of the Centre for the Study of Childhood at the University of Sheffield and she convenes the Global Childhoods Group which includes the management of a mailing list with 255 members from diverse countries around the world.

Research interests: global childhoods, child and youth participation, parent-child relationships, child rearing, Ghana, Nigeria




Jean- Paul Van Belle

Professor, Department of Information Systems at the University of Cape Town & Director at Centre for IT and National Development in Africa
(Theme 2 co-convenor – Participation and value- based design of socio- technological innovation)

Jean- Paul Van Belle UCT logo march 2007 NEWCITANDA logo

Jean-Paul Van Belle is a professor in the Department of Information Systems at the University of Cape Town and Director of the Centre for IT and National Development. His research areas are the adoption and use of emerging technologies in developing world contexts including mobile, cloud computing, open and big data. His passions are ICT4D – with a focus on emerging technologies as well as data for development (D4D) in an SDG context – and adoption of ICTs by small organisations. He has over 170 peer-reviewed publications including 25 chapters in books and about 40 refereed journal articles. He has been invited to give a number of keynote presentations at international conferences and holds an honorary professorship at Amity University. He currently supervises almost 20 Masters and PhD students and has graduated many more. Jean-Paul has active collaborations with researchers in India, UK, Ethiopia, Kenya and Mauritius.

Research interests: ICT for development (ICT4D); emerging technologies; data revolution and SDGs; ICT use by small organisations.




Gilberto Vieira

Project Manager at Observatorio de Favelas

Gilberto Vieira Gilberto Vierira Logo

Gilberto Vieira has a Bachelor in Social Communication (2008) specializes in film and video (2010) and master in Culture and Territorialities (2015). Studies the mechanisms and articulations of cultural production in Brazil, uniting citizen policy and empowerment through new technologies, digital tools and artistic creation in production processes. Also analyzes tactics developed by young cultural producers in favelas. Coordinator of data_labe, a data journalism laboratory at the Observatório de Favelas do Rio de Janeiro, a laboratory run by young favela’s residents who work by searching, analyzing and visualizing data on gender, race, education, territory and digital rights.

Research interests: open data; youth; narratives; peripheries; technology; innovation.

Twitterhandle: @gilbertovieira



Ronda Zelezny- Green

Digital Learning & Training Director at GSMA
(Theme 4 co-convenor – Youth Partipation and innovative digital methods)

Ronda professional shot GSMA_logo_colour_web

Ronda Zelezny-Green completed her PhD in Information and Communication Technologies for Development in the Department of Geography of Royal Holloway, University of London in 2017. She has served as an educator for more than a decade on five continents. Ronda has worked for women’s tertiary education institutions and presently, she teaches mobile telecommunications policy to government employees as the Digital Learning and Policy Training Director at the GSMA. Girls’ and women’s empowerment through creative, sustainable use of mobile technology is one of her greatest personal passions.

Research interests: youth, gender, mobile learning, policy, education, capability approach

Twitterhandle: @ronda_zg



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