Real World Research


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In this globalizing world, we as researchers and practitioners in ICT4D are increasingly confronted with challenges beyond the horizon of our connected, confortable lives. Computer science research has traditionally focused on technologies for the wealthy world. However, in developing regions there are many complex problems, in need of innovative solutions. Transferring technologies to developing regions is the commonly proposed, despite the evidence that existing solutions are by far not sufficient to tackle problems in unfamiliar real world contexts of high complexity. It is also often mentioned that collaboration with the poor is essential, but how to organize and do this actually? The W4RA program is known for its trans-disciplinarity  (north-south, academic-nonacademic), i.e. for involving local users in  knowledge creation.

W4RA’s research is problem-based, real world (field-based) scientific research, also known as participatory action research. Started in 2009, W4RA has attracted attention, internationally, nationally and in rural Africa. It has won grants, appeared in radio interviews and news articles including in New Scientist,  BBC, Los Angeles Times.  It has been presented in key note speech for the World Bank in Washington, the annual Symposium Perspectives on ICT4D and workshops. IMG_6693 W4RA has a permanent booth on Regreening in Africa in the exhibition of the Museon in The Hague, about Sustainable Development Goals – 2030 (SDGs). More about research conducted in the framework of the W4RA research program on the publications page.