ICTs for Africa

Education, Research, Volunteerism applied to Agriculture and Health

Project at a glance

Dates and Place

21 September 2007, Geneva, Switzerland
International Conference Centre

Project details

Room: CCV, room C, rue Varembé, Geneva
Time: plenary 9:30-13:00, breakout session 15:00-18:00

Aim of the workshop:

The aim of the workshop is to facilitate exchange around concrete ICT initiatives related to Africa. The first part of the debate will present best practices. We will then focus on projects underway and look at the ingredients needed for them to be successful in order to obtain concrete and tangible results.

Expected outcomes & achievements:

Creation of win-win partnerships and solutions involving educational and academic institutions, governments, non-governmental, international organizations, volunteers, as well as other partners such as the private sector.

9:30-13:00: Roundtable contributions

9:30-10:00: Best practices and successful projects: Africa@home

Speakers: University of Geneva (Prof. Christian Pellegrini, Head of the Computer Science Department); ICVolunteers, CyberVolunteers Program (Viola Krebs, Executive Director); UNOSAT (Alain Retiere, Director); Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana (Peter Amoako-Yirenkyi); University of Bangui, Central African Republic (Eloi Appora-Gnekindy); Mentouri University, Algeria (Sihem Kalli)

Moderator: François Grey, Head of IT Communications, CERN

The Africa@home project started in 2005. It was made possible thanks to cooperation and collaboration between CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research), the University of Geneva, ICVolunteers, STI (Swiss Tropical Institute), GIAN (Geneva International Academic Network), WHO (World Health Organization) and ISF (Informaticiens sans frontières). This technology-driven project has enabled STI to implement Malariacontrol.net to develop a malaria model through volunteer computing. Volunteer computing is a technology that allows science projects to use idle computing cycles from millions of home computers around the world, offered by volunteers. The aim of the second phase of Africa@home is to initiate other distributed computing projects in Africa, developed by Africans. It is in this context that participants from 18 African countries took part in a workshop on volunteer computing in Muizenberg, South Africa. During this session, some of the project partners will share what has made this project successful and what the imagined continuation if it will be. More...

10:00-10:30: New partnerships

Signature of partnership agreements: Service Civique National du Sénégal and ICVolunteers; UNISWA Foundation and Swiss Consortium

-- Coffee Break --

11:00-11:45: Initiatives underway: Self-sustainability, agriculture and ICTs

Speakers: University of Swaziland - UNISWA (Prof. Cisco M. Magagula, Vice Chancellor); Service Civique National du Sénégal, volontaires de l'agriculture (M. Colonel Souleymane Ndiamé Guéye, Program Administrator); CRESP - Eco-Villages, ICV-Desk (Mamadou Ndoye), Senegal

Moderator: Djibril Fall, Graduate Institute for Development Studies / Université Gaston Berger, Saint Louis, Senegal

This session will focus on research and hands-on field projects related to agriculture, research and ICTs in Africa. The University of Swaziland is currently playing a vital role in education of young people in Swaziland. It is helping link agricultural traditions with opportunity creation for the generations to come. In Senegal, there is a new project underway, focusing on information systems for husbandry in the Sahel region. What is the role of volunteers in such projects? Academic institutions in Switzerland are working around the topic of agriculture and development and will provide their insight in what is needed for projects to be successful. More...

11:45-12:30: Funding mechanisms: requirements, interests and necessities

Speakers: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, TBC; Francophonie; Digital Solidarity Fund (DSF), Guy-Olivier Segond, President or Alain Clerc, Executive Secretary; Global Alliance for ICT for Development (Mr. Sarbuland Khan, Executive Coordinator); StiftungsZentrum.ch GmbH (Linda Zurkinden-Erismann, co-founder)

Moderator: Nicola Furey, Vice-President of Earth Focus Foundation / Nazir Sunderji

In order for partnership projects like Africa@home and others presented to be successful, long-standing partnerships with financial partners and funding institutions are indispensable. What are the criteria today? What about the challenges and assets, how does one work with the private sector and foundations?

12:30-13:00: Discussion, Q&A and wrap-up

-- Lunch --

15:00-18:00: Ways forward

An informal working group will continue exchange in the afternoon to plan ways forward for the projects underway.


This roundtable has been made possible thanks to the support of Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), GIAN, UNISWA Foundation.


ICVolunteers (www.icvolunteers.org), is an international non-profit organization specialized in the field of communications, in particular languages, conference support and cybervolunteerism (www.cybervolunteers.info). Development, exchange of information and service to the society at large are the key elements shared by the communities or organizations involved and by the individuals volunteering though the ICV Network.

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