New student project: Nine Principles for Digital Development — how are they used in practice?

For several decades ICT4D practitioners over the world — funded by international development donor agencies or private funds —  have tried to empower disadvantaged communities by providing them with ICT solutions. However, this has not not always worked out successfully. Often, technologies have been deployed for the “poor” without knowing their needs or assessing their […]

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Meteo data services in Burkina Faso

Talking about “small data”: new student project about meteo data services for African farmers

Despite the fact that more than 70% of Africa’s population depends on agriculture for basic life needs, and in Africa’s drylands rain-fed agriculture is widespread,  reliable meteorological data about rainfall and weather forecasts — in Europe timely and accurate — is often not available for African farmers. Recent studies in rural areas of Burkina Faso and Ghana have […]


Digital Development: Elements of a Critical ICT4D Theory and Praxis

In recent years, critical research literature in ICT4D has grown. It is widely accepted that theory is to inform practice. However, the inverse directionality, practice informs theory, is much less present in ICT4D, including in critical research. In this paper, we discuss ways how ICT4D research and theory may be better informed by practice — […]

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Tracking deforestation in West Africa: new student project

The tree loss is a severe problem affecting rural communities in West Africa’s drylands. Trees here have a positive influence on local soil conditions, biodiversity richness, water tables, food for fodder, and provide agricultural value to the people due to harvest of tree products. Unfortunately, trees are still being cut, often by people from outside […]


Digitize Amsterdam: New Student Projects in the W4RA team

The Digital Divide is not just a North-South divide in the world. Digital exclusion is all around us. We don’t need to travel far. To tackle this problem, in 2019 the W4RA program has started exploration of the Digital Gap in Amsterdam. This project fits into the Community Service Learning program of VU. The student […]

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BannaTree, an application to support banana farmers in rural Sarawak

A group of students from VU Amsterdam and UNIMAS, Sarawak, have carried out an ICT4D in the Field project in June 2018. The goal of this project was to build an information system that supports the work of banana contract farmers in rural Sarawak. To do so, the students did a context analysis followed by […]


Appong: an application to help Gula Apong producers in Sarawak

Appong is the name of an application that helps increase sales of Gula Apong, a traditional sugar product, produced by smallholder farmers in Sarawak, Malaysia. The application was designed and built by a mixed team of master students from VU Amsterdam and UNIMAS: Giorgi, Judith, Kuan and Chris, in the framework of an educational ICT4D […]

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A low-cost IoT sensor kit to measure surface water quality in rural Africa

Good drinking water is essential for all. However, in e.g. rural Africa the quality of water, for example from wells is not always reliable. Lab water testing and existing tools are expensive and time consuming. Allard Oelen developed a low-cost sensor kit, for the rural context of rural Africa. The IoT sensor measures a number […]


Developing a Sustainable Weather Information System in Rural Burkina Faso

[This post on victordeboer.com describes the Information Sciences Master Project of Hameedat Omoine and is based on her thesis.] In the quest to improve the lives of farmers and improve agricultural productivity in rural Burkina Faso, meteorological data has been identified as one of the is key information needs for local farmers. Various online weather […]