Friday, July 13, 2012

TechChange explores Crowds, Conflict and Mobile
Technologies in the Asia-Pacific

TechChange challenges international development
New technologies are becoming more engaging in the developing world and the discipline of ICT4D is integral to drive much needed change. TechChange is one start-up that is embracing the opportunities this brings for doing things differently in the international development arena.

Crowdsourcing, which leverages mobile phones, mapping platforms such as Ushahidi, and social media, can provide local actors with mechanisms for sharing information while providing institutions such as AusAID, INGOs, and multi-lateral actors with near real-time event data which can be used to support and enhance conflict prevention programming in the Asia-Pacific region.

These latest developments in the ICT4D arena do require new skills. Digital tools help to tell stories and keep online learning environments engaging. Interactive Simulations, live interviews and integrated game mechanics are all part of the TechChange model.

TechChange has taught more than 600 students in more than 70 countries through their online classroom. Its most popular course to date has been “Mobiles for International Development”. Now Australian NGOs can hear how technology can support their efforts at an event hosted by Amnesty International in Sydney on 18 July 

Crowds, Conflict and MobileTechnologies in the Asia-Pacific wil be an interactive discussion led by Charles Martin-Shields of TechChange will introduce the predominant technologies used in crowdsourcing (mobile phones, digital maps and social media) through case studies, explore risk management and the limits of the methodology, and take participants through a brief interactive exercise using FrontlineSMS and Ushahidi’s Crowdmap platform.

Featured in The Economist last month as Geeks for Good, the team at TechChange although in the business of helping technology make a big impact, they are quick to point out that gear itself is only a small part of a development solution. “We like to say that tech is only about 10%. It can’t really do anything without the right human intent and contextual considerations” says Nick Martin, the firm’s founder and chief executive.

Meet international development expert...Charles Martin-Shields is the Director of Conflict Management and Peacebuilding Programs at TechChange’s Washington D.C. offices is visiting Australia next week. To RSVP to the event please email

More information is available online at 
Gerard McCarthy is the Project Manager (Asia-Pacific) for TechChange and is based in Sydney


This post was originally published on Connecting Up
See more of Kelly Hutchinson's blog @ Connecting Up