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2nd Two Day International Workshop on ICTs for Development Workshop: Mainstreaming the Marginalized October 5 – 6, 2017 Islamabad – Pakistan

 Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Inter Islamic Network on Information Technology (INIT) in collaboration with UNESCO Chair on ICT4D and COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad (CIIT) very successfully convened second two-day International Workshop on ‘ICTs for Development: Mainstreaming the Marginalized’ on October 5 – 6, 2017 at CIIT, Islamabad – Pakistan. The instant Workshop was 2nd edition of the series and garnered participation from around forty one (41) national and international organizations with a diverse group of nearly Sixty Five (65) participants hailing from Government, Development, Academia, Technology, Media and Telecom sectors.


The opening ceremony of the event took place on the morning of 5th October 2017, and was attended by nearly 120 guests. The opening ceremony was formally initiated with a recitation of the Holy Quran, followed by an inspirational delivered by President INIT/Rector CIIT Prof. Dr. Raheel Qamar presenting a brief account of his encounters with the state of the art technologies and how perceptions related towards have evolved over the years. This was followed by an address from the Chief Guest Mr. Muhammad Tahir Mushtaq, Member HRD, MOIT&T presenting an account of the efforts of Government of Pakistan is doing towards the inclusion of most marginalized communities and highlighted initiatives in place especially for the IT education of young girls. The Address of the Chief Guest was followed by a speech from the lead speaker Prof. Tim Unwin from the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D who presented an account of ICT for Development landscape of Pakistan and gave a brief overview of the workshop structure.

The opening ceremony was concluded by the Executive Director INIT, Engr. Tahir Naeem who delivered a vote of thanks to all the eminent guests who had graced the occasion including the President INIT, Member HRD, Dr. S.M. Junaid Zaidi, Executive Director COMSATS, Dr. Ismail Shah Chairman PTA, Brig. Wasi Ullah D.G PTA and to all the participants travelling from across Pakistan.

The workshop was divided into Eight (08) technical sessions spread over two days. The focus of the 1st day was mainly upon the ICTs for Development Landscape of Pakistan focusing upon emerging themes like the Financial Technologies, Low Tech Solutions and Addressing the Digital Gender Divide. The second Day focused upon the needs of the marginalized communities and how technology can facilitate in terms of Disability, Rural Needs, and Marginalized Children.

A brief overview of Day 1 is presented below:

  • Technical Session 1: Understanding the ICT4D Landscape, Introduced by Prof. Tim Unwin and plenary talk by Dr. Ismail Shah, the Chairman of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority followed by a lively panel discussion session with Col. Talat Shabir (PhD Scholar QAU), Ms. Durdana Najam (Journalist) , Dr. Ismail Shah (Chairman PTA) and Mr. Moiz Khan (CEO


  • Technical Session 2: The Road to Facilitation: Financial Technologies for the Marginalized, Introduced by Prof. Tim Unwin with a plenary given by Mr. Qasif Shahid (CEO FINJA) about making payments frictionless, free and real time followed by an interactive discussion session.


  • Technical Session 3: Addressing the Digital Gender Gap, Plenary Talk Delivered by Prof. Tim Unwin elaborating upon the UN-led EQUALS initiative for gender equality in a digital age, as well as some of the challenges that face women in using ICT. The plenary talk was followed by an interesting panel discussion session with Dr. Bushra Hassan (International Islamic University) , Ms. Shazia Majeed (Educationist) , Ms. Sumaira Kanwal (Community Uplift Program) , Mr. Paras Ali (Editor, Technology Times)


  • Technical Session 4: No Tech to Low Tech to High Tech: an Entrepreneur’s Tale, Introduction by Dr. Akber Gardezi with a plenary talk by Muhammad Nasrullah (CEO INTEGRY) explaining the transition of ICT for Development Technologies in Pakistan followed by an interactive discussion session.


The activities of Day 1 concluded with a wrap-up discussion moderated by Prof. Tim Unwin.

The activities of Day 2 are presented below:


  • Technical Session 4: Serving the Most Marginalized: Accessibility and Disability, Introduction by Prof. Tim Unwin followed by a plenary talk by Mr. David Banes on access and inclusion using ICTs, which included a very useful framework for considering digital accessibility issues. A brief presentation was also given by Dr. Ilyas Syed from Peshawar Paraplegic Center showcasing the activities at the center. The session also include a panel discussion session including Ms. Ayesha Butt ( Speech Pathologist, Ripphah Institute) , Dr. Ilyas Syed (Rehabilitation Specialist) , Ms. Shakeela Yasmin (Pakistan Disabled Foundation) , Dr. Amir Chaudary ( Assistant Professor Electrical Engineering).


  • Technical Session 5: Developing Technologies for the Rural/Urban Slum Needs, during which Muhammad Mustafa spoke about his vision of enabling all 700 million illiterate adults in the world to go online through his Mauqa Online initiative.


  • Technical Session 6: Special Technologies for Special Education Introduced by Dr. Akber Gardezi and plenary talk and demonstration by Mr. Muhamamd Waqas (CEO Wonder Tree) an augmented reality platform for treating learning disabilities and rehabilitation.


  • Technical Session 7: Educating the Marginalized, Plenary Talk by Prof. Tim Unwin on educating marginalized children, followed by a talk by Ms. Shaista Kazmi from Vision 21 described their Speed Literacy Program focusing on the engagement of out of school children.


  • Technical Session 8: Wrap-Up Discussion by Prof. Tim Unwin The last session focused upon the main emerging themes from the past two days and a lively interactive discussions entailed on how best to proceed in future from the perspective Pakistan.


The concluding session included presentation of certificates to the participants, the workshop ended on high note with a renewed passion for the ICTs for Development initiates in Pakistan. A complete set of speaker presentation and event pictures can be accessed from the links below.

INIT aspires to conduct the third workshop in the series in the forthcoming year.

Participating Countries:

The Workshop was participated by Resource Persons and participants from the following 2 countries:

1. Islamic Republic of Pakistan; and

2. United Kingdom.

Participating Institutions:

The Resource Persons and participants from the following 49 institutions representing 2 countries participated in the Workshop:

1. Alfoze Technologies (Pvt) Ltd Islamabad;

2. Atom Global;

3. Behbud Association of Pakistan, Islamabad;

4. COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Wah Campus;

5. COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad;

6. Code for Pakistan, Islamabad;

7. Community Uplift Program, Islamabad;

8. David Banes Access and Inclusion Services Ltd, United Kingdom;

9. Development Hub Pakistan;

10. Department for International Development (DFID), Islamabad;

11. FAMBHH, Islamabad;

12. Finja Private Limited, Lahore;

13. Directorate of Human Resource Development, GHQ, Rawalpindi;

14. IGNITE-National Technology Fund, Islamabad;

15. Integry Inc, Islamabad;

16. Inter Islamic Network on Information Technology, Islamabad;

17. International Islamic University, Islamabad;

18. Iqra University, Islamabad;

19. La Sagesse Education System, Rawalpindi;

20. LMKR (Pvt) Ltd, Islamabad;

21. Mauqa Online, Islamabad;

22. Ministry of Planning Development and Reforms, Islamabad;

23. National Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine (NIRM), Islamabad;

24. National Mobility and Independence Training Centre, Islamabad;

25. National Rural Support Programme, Islamabad;

26. National Special Education Center for PHC under the Directorate General of Special Education, Islamabad;

27. News Lens Pakistan, Islamabad;

28. The Nation, Islamabad;

29. The Daily Times, Islamabad;

30. Pakistan Disabled Foundation, Karachi;

31. Pakistan Microfinance Investment Company Ltd;

32. Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, Islamabad;

33. Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, Islamabad;

34. Paraplegic Center, Peshawar;

35. Private Practice at Consultant’s Place, Islamabad;

36. Punjab Education Foundation, Lahore;

37. Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad;

38. Riphah University, Rawalpindi;

39. Rural Development Foundation, Islamabad;

40. Simple;PK, Islamabad;

41. Syntecx Solutions, Islamabad;

42. Tameer-e-Milat Foundation, Islamabad;

43. Technology Times, Islamabad;

44. UNESCO Chair in ICT4D, UK;

45. University of Sindh, Jamshoro;

46. USAID – Pakistan;

47. Vision 21, Rawalpindi;

48. Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), Islamabad; and

49. Wonder Tree, Karachi.

Resource Persons:

The following were the Resource Persons of the Workshop:

1. Prof. Tim Unwin

Chair, ICT4D,

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO),

United Kingdom.

2. Mr. David Banes


David Banes Access and Inclusion,

United Kingdom.

3. Dr. Ismail Shah


Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA),

Islamabad, Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

4. Mr. Qasif Shahid

Founder & CEO,

Finja Private Limited,

Lahore, Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

5. Mr. Muhammad Nasrullah,


Islamabad, Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

6. Mr. Muhammad Mustafa

CEO, Mouqa Online,

Islamabad, Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

7. Ms. Shaista Kazmi

Manager Programs,

Vision 21,

Rawalpindi, Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

8. Dr. Akber Abid Gardezi

Assistant Professor,

COMSATS Institute of

Information Technology,

Islamabad, Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

9. Syed Muhammad Ilyas

Chief Executive Officer,

Paraplegic Center,

Peshawar, Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

10. S.A Mustafa Paras


Technology Times,

Islamabad, Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

11. Ms. Shazia Majeed


La Sagesse Education System,

Rawalpindi, Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

12. Dr. Amir Rashid Chaudhary

Chief Executive Officer,


Islamabad, Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

13. Ms Durdana Najam


News Lens Pakistan/ The

National/Daily Times,

Islamabad, Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

14. Mr. Moiz Khan


Simple PK,

Islamabad, Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

15. Dr. Nazia Iqbal

Assistant Professor,

International Islamic University

Islamabad, Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

16. Ms. Nadia Masood

Program Coordinator,

Development Communication,

Ministry of Planning Development and Reform,

Islamabad, Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

17. Dr. Bushra Hassan

Assistant Professor,

International Islamic

University, Islamabad,

Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

18. Ms. Sumaira Kanwal

Executive Support

Manager Community Uplift Program, Islamabad,

Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

19. Mr. Mehmood Khalil


International Islamic


Islamabad, Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

20. Engr. Tahir Naeem

Executive Director,

Inter Islamic Network on

Information Technology

Islamabad, Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Click here for picture

Click here for presentations

Keywords: ICT    

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