SAICSIT 2015 Workshop: Towards a Strategic Agenda for Local Research in ICT for Development


*** Update 3 May 2016: Report from the Workshop *** 


The field of ICT for Development (ICT4D) is an emerging research area where ICT interventions are developed and assessed for the express purpose of socio-economic and human development. Many researchers in South Africa either explicitly align with the goals of ICT4D research or conduct research in related areas. Until recently, there has been little coordination within the local community, with many researchers working on isolated projects, and few interactions with the broader international ICTD/ICT4D research community. The need for dialogue and coordination and the opportunity for collaboration was recognized and led to a sequence of two workshops in 2014, at SAICSIT '14 and IDIA '14. This workshop is the next step in building a local community around ICT4D.

The workshop will include some invited talks and provide a space for researchers to discuss local issues and strategic directions in ICT4D research in South Africa (and the region). This will be done through the medium of breakaway and plenary discussions. Topics for discussion include: funding, structures for collaboration and dissemination, priority research areas and continental engagement. It is expected that the workshop will lead to reports and other outputs that document the discussions, while contributing to the unfolding process of building a local community in ICT4D.

The workshop will be run as a joint and collaborative event with the AISSAC seminar, thus bringing together the widest audience of ICT4D researchers at SAICSIT.

Call for Discussion Topics

The goal of this workshop is to build a stronger ICT4D community and to develop more focused objectives and plans that will drive our research and practices as a community.

We invite suggestions for topics to be discussed during our breakout sessions at the workshop. Topical areas could include (but not limited to): funding ICT4D research, collaborations, continental engagements, disseminating research outputs, priority research areas for ICT4D. Click here to suggest a topic.


Proposers: Hussein Suleman, Melissa Densmore and Emma Coleman

Organising Team: Catherine Chavula, Josiah Chavula, Wallace Chigona, Brian DeRenzi, Haji Ali Haji, Mmaki Jantjies, Maria Keet, Charity Mbogo, Yamiko Msosa, Sinini Ncube, Blessing Ojeme, Jorgina Paihama, Lighton Phiri, Thomas Reitmaier, Ulrike Rivett, Fiona Ssozi, Jean-Paul Van Belle, Marion Walton


The workshop shall be held on Monday, September 28 2015.


13:00 Lunch

14:00 Welcome

Welcome from Organisers, Hussein Suleman

14:05 Invited Talk

Speaker: Alison Gillwald
Topic: Development of ICTs or ICT for development? Unblocking development theory, studies and practice.
Chair: Mmaki Jantjies

14:40 Invited Talk

Speaker: Jonathan Donner
Topic: Remarks from 'After Access: Inclusion, Development, and a More Mobile Internet'
Chair: Mmaki Jantjies

15:15 Breakout Sessions

An overview of the process and topics to be discussed by participants (community, dissemination, priorities, etc.)
Chair: Hussein Suleman

15:30 Breakout Sessions

Discussions in groups

16:00 Coffee Break
16:30 Breakout Sessions

Discussion in groups - wrapping up

16:45 Report Back from groups

17:15 Closing

Closing remarks and way forward, Edwin Blake

Invited Speakers

Alison Gillwald, Director of Research ICT Africa

Alison Gillwald is Executive Director of Research ICT Africa and Adjunct Professor at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business, Management of Infrastructure Reform and Regulation programme. Prior to this she was Associate Professor at the Witwatersrand University’s Graduate School of Public and Development Management, where she founded the Learning Information Networking and Knowledge (LINK) Centre in 1999 with the purposes of fast tracking ICT policy and regulatory training in Southern Africa. She did so after serving a term on the founding Council of the South African Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (SATRA). Before joining SATRA in 1997 she established the Independent Broadcasting Authority's Policy Department and was responsible for co-ordinating the Triple Inquiry into Public Service Broadcasting, Local Content and Cross-media Control. She was appointed to the African Ministers’ Advisory Group in 2000 and in 2002 she chaired the National Digital Advisory Body appointed by the Minister of Communication. She has served on the board of the public broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, Womensnet and Media Monitoring Project and publicly-listed company AVUSA. She has consulted to infoDev,  the African Development Bank, Government of Mauritius, International Telecommunications Union, Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the South African Presidency, Treasury, Department of Trade and Industry,  and Competition Commission. She is founding editor of the Southern African Journal of Information and Communication and is published in the areas of telecommunications and broadcasting policy and regulation, gender and politics more broadly.  She is on the review panels of several major ICT conferences including TPRC and ICTD and and referees for the leading sector journals including Telecommunications Policy, Info and Communications & Strategies.

[Biography from: ]

Jonathan Donner, Senior Director - Research, Caribou Digital

Jonathan Donner is Senior Director, Research at Caribou Digital. Over the last decade, Jonathan has published extensively on the remarkable growth in mobile telephony in the developing world, focusing on its implications for socio-economic development and inclusion in the information society.  His projects have covered topics such as Microenterprise Development, Mobile Banking, Citizen Journalism, Mobile Health, and Youth and New Media.

Prior to joining Caribou Digital, Jonathan was a researcher in the Technology for Emerging Markets Group at Microsoft Research, a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and a consultant with Monitor Company and the OTF Group in Boston, MA.

He is the author, with Richard Ling, of Mobile Communication (Polity, 2009), and co-editor, with Patricia Mechael, of mHealth in Practice: Mobile Technology for Health Promotion in the Developing world (Bloomsbury Academic, 2012). His research also appears in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, The Information Society, Information Technologies and International Development, The Journal of International Development, and Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization. His Ph.D. is from Stanford University in Communication Research.

He is currently working on a new book, provisionally titled After Access: Mobile Internet in the Developing World, which will be published by MIT Press in late 2015. Further details on Jonathan’s research can be found at, or on Twitter as @jcdonner.

[ Biography from: ]


For registration details, please visit the main conference Website.


For queries about the workshop, please contact: