Making ICTs work in conferences and seminars for better result

Bellanet Alliance has been putting its effort since quite some time in South Asia to make Information and Communication Technologies foster collaboration and sharing among development practioners in South Asia through SAP International. We have been trying hard to convince development practitioners in the region who still follow orthodox way of communication and collaboration to make effecient use of available tools and technologies. Our approach in this regard has always been the one to first show people how one could take advantage of available tools and technologies and then advocate for wider adoption of tools and technologies later on.

Following our approach, we tried to show how effective use of ICTs can make a difference for enhanced collaboration in international/regional conferences and seminars in one of the regional conferences named Democracies withouth Violence: Engendering politics, policies and actions held in Dhaka, Bangladesh during November 10-12, 2009. The conference was participated by prominent women politicians, policy makers, election commission officials, development practitioners, women and human right activists, media from countries across the region. The 3 day conference had presentations and discussions on various thems related to Violence Against Women in Politics.

Apart from face2face discussion among participants, we livecasted entire conference proceeding of three says using a simple webcam. While the conference was going on in Dhaka, people from rest of the world could watch conference proceedings available at www.comjagat.com . The videos have also been archived for future reference over the internet. This was really appreciated by conference participants and others who watched live proceedings outside of Dhaka. It really made a difference in making discussions and discourses that happened in the conference room reach out to wider audience. People who are interested in the issue  of violence against women in politics can now refere back to proceedings aytime and learn from what happened during the 3 days of the conference. Perhaps, it has created yet another simple and effective avenue for people to recap conference proceedings and build on the discussions and dilebaration that took place during the conference. We are confident that this would further enhance collaboration among women right activists and development organizations in the region when they see the videos and recall who said what. 

During the conference, we also used twitter to send small but effective messages in form of tweets accessible at www.twitter.com . It was seen as a pretty powerful tool to disseminate major conference proceedings to a larger audience.

Although our effort to integrate ICTs in this kind of conferences did not ask for much resources, it has been able to create a huge impact. It is not only about making the issue of Violence Against Women in Politics visible to wider audience, it is also about making people realize how effective use of ICTs cAt the same time, it has also been seen by conference participants as somethinge they could incorporate in their programs and conferences. Perhaps, this is what we really mean by making ICTs work for development practitioners...