Eight new SDG-oriented master research projects on ICT4D at VU

The longstanding collaboration between the VU Centre for International Cooperation and the Computer Science Department of VU on the research theme ICT for Development – the Digitizing Society in the Global South, has again led, this year again, to a fruitful result. We can harvest seven interesting theses and one conference paper at the Web Science Conference 2022. These research topics are all SDG-oriented and cover interesting, (often even transdisciplinary) design science projects.

They research project are oriented towards ICT in low resource environments and cover topics on Food Security (SDG-2: Zero Hunger, SDG-5 Gender Equality, SDG-7: Clean Water and Sanitation, SDG-8 Decent Work, SDG-9 Innovation and Infrastructure). For the food security theme Computer Science student Sven Preng has built an application called SeVoCert, to digitize the certification process of Cereal Seeds in rural Mali. Another student, Rens van Oijen, has done his research on the “Governance of the cereal seed value chain in Mali, using a conceptual modeling approach”. For the theme on “Gender” Alina Saddiqui has investigated how to design a new social media platform as a  safe ICT haven for women in (rural and urban) Pakistan. In the theme on “Clean Water”, Osayd Al-Absi has designed a voice-based advise application system to notify Yemeni citizens about the quality of local drinking water. Angel Lokasa has looked at the Conflict Minerals Valuechain in DR Congo and how crowdsourcing could be used to improve working conditions in the mines. Sohan Bhagwat has done research on emerging digital financial markets and virtual currencies in Sub-Sahara Africa and Jasper Thenissen has investigated how Community Radio in West Africa is leapfrogging into the Information Age, while skipping a lot of conventional steps and embracing very innovative technologies that fit the rural African context.

The Web of African Radios.

Research by Jasper Theunissen 2022.

Computer Science student Vlad Stan did his master research on “Small language limited-vocabulary automatic speech recognition using Machine Learning”. This master research has led to a publication at the Web Science Conference 2022 in Barcelona.

All these theses are publicly available at https://w4ra.org/student-papers/ and  https://w4ra.org/publications/.

Anna Bon – August 2022