Dr Sammia Poveda Villalba

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Dr Sammia Poveda is interested in evaluating the use of ICT for development in Brazil, Myanmar and other developing countries, exploring the psychosocial impact of such practices, and their relation to empowerment and social change. Sammia’s current research interests relate to both psychological (emotional) and social (bodily) wellbeing and their relation to discourses of agency, global mental health and gender. She is also interested in how the use of ICT and participatory approaches can affect people’s empowerment focusing on women, people from post-conflict societies and survivors of modern slavery. Before joining SIID, Sammia was a Research Fellow at the United Nations University (UNU), Institute on Computing and Society in Macao, China. She was PI of two research projects, one in Myanmar analysing ICT and psychosocial wellbeing in post-conflict societies, and another in partnership with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), looking at Women and ICT. Sammia is also member of the Executive Council of the Human Development and Capability Association (HDCA). Her PhD at Royal Holloway, University of London’s ICT4D Centre combined the capabilities approach with Freirean consciousness-raising approaches in digital literacy projects with marginalised communities in Brazil. Before her PhD, Sammia worked in international development for four years with the German Development Agency (GIZ) and the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO), and was Member of the Board for two years of the Committee for Democratisation of Information Brasilia (CDI-DF), a Brazilian NGO working with Citizenship and Digital Inclusion. Sammia also holds a MBA in Marketing (Funcação Getúlio Vargas, Brazil), a Master in Information and Knowledge Society (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain), and a Bachelor’s Degree in Design (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Ecuador).

Follow Sammia on Twitter @SammiaP

Research interests 

  • ICT for human development
  • Critical agency, empowerment and social structures
  • Psychosocial wellbeing and mental health
  • Gender, class, race (intersectionality)


Academic Papers:

  • Bentley, C.M. Chib, A., Poveda S.C. (2018) “Exploring capability and accountability outcomes of open development for the poor and marginalized: An analysis of select literature”. The Journal of Community Informatics, 223-250.
  • Poveda, S.C., and Roberts, T. (2017) “Critical Agency and Development: applying Freire & Sen to ICT4D in Zambia and Brazil.” Information Technology for Development Journal. (Top journal in the ICT4D field)
  • Poveda, S.C. (2016) “PAR and Digital Inclusion, An Analysis Using the Capabilities Approach and Critical Pedagogy.” International Journal of E-Politics (IJEP)4, pp.1-15.
  • Poveda, S.C. (2016) “How can digital inclusion promote social change? Exploring two Brazilian case studies.” Proceedings of the Eight International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development (ICTD ’16). ACM, New York, NY, USA, Article 7, 11 pages. (Top Conference in the ICT4D field)


  • Poveda, S. and Gatti, E. (Forthcoming 2018). “To Enable Positive Behavioural Change, Does Development Need a Structured Approach to Inspiration? A Study of the iWomen Inspiring Women” Project, Yangon: UNU-CS, UNDP Myanmar.
  • Poveda, S.C. Kleine, D., Parson, G. and Poveda, S.C. (2016) “Participatory Methods: Engaging children’s voices and experiences in research.” London: Global Kids Online. Available from: globalkidsonline.net/participatory-research
  • Kleine, D., Hollow, D. and Poveda, S. (2014) “Children, ICTs and Development – Capturing the potential, meeting the challenges.” Florence: UNICEF Office of Research. Available from: https://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/715/

Book section:

  • Kleine, D. and Poveda, S. (forthcoming March 2017) “Digital Divide”, in The International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment, and Technology, Wiley-AA, edited by Castree, N., Goodchild, N., Kobayashi, A., Liu, W., Marston, D., & Richardson, D.