Tuesday, 3.30-4.30 (Bridewell Hall)

MERL Tech: Connecting as a community. Maliha Khan, Independent. Using technology to make the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of development initiatives has been happening for decades. In the last 5 years, the ubiquitous and increasingly powerful information and communication technology has led an ever-growing number of professionals to convene and discuss new possibilities, applications and issues. Is this gathering of people a “community” – as yet? When did we start applying technology to social and common concerns? what are its roots? What future direction will it take as a community? What are the main concerns? This will be an active, participatory and engaging session. (Bridewell Hall)

Session Details:

The field of development has been using technology for as long as it has existed, and in fact for the first couple of decades “transferring technology” was the main goal of development programmes. Even when that changed, using new technology to make the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of development initiatives more efficient and effective has been happening for the last several decades. However, this has materially changed in the last 5 years, when the ubiquitous and ever more powerful information and communication technologies have started to be been harnessed to change the way that development is implemented, particularly the areas of monitoring and evaluation as the possibilities of digital data collection, transmission analysis and storage is realized. In the last few years an ever-growing number of professionals have been coming together from both the technology and the development sector to discuss new possibilities, applications and issues that are arising from these applications.

However, is this gathering of people a “community” of practice yet? If so what are its roots and where are these practitioners coming from? Which professional spheres are coming together and who is in the community and how do they identify with it? What are the main concerns that are common across the diverse professionals that make up the community? What future direction will it take as a community of practice?

Through an interactive session we will collectively build our understanding and try and answer these questions and through the process get to know the community and each other better.

Facilitator Bio:

Maliha Khan, Independent. MERL Tech London Organising Team and Selection Committee. Maliha is a development practitioner in the fields of monitoring and evaluation and learning and accountability and has led in these functions for CARE USA and Oxfam America. She has been responsible for leading internal teams that provide technical support, maintain standards, lead innovation and provide thought leadership in the organizations. She has provided strategic support in these areas to Nike Foundation/Girl Hub and is currently playing that role for Rockefeller Foundation where she is leading the M&E and measurement work for their resilience portfolio. Prior to joining CARE, Dr. Khan was an associate professor of Sustainable Development at World Learning’s SIT Graduate Institute where she taught development professionals program design, monitoring and evaluation amongst other things. She has worked as a consultant for a variety of iNGOs, Foundations, bilateral, multilateral and government organizations. Maliha is from Pakistan, where she started her career implementing development projects. See Maliha’s full bio here and follow her on Twitter at @malihkhan.