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3rd Two Day International Workshop on ICTs for Development: Mainstreaming the Marginalized January 28 -29, 2020 Islamabad – Pakistan

 Tuesday, February 4, 2020

The Inter Islamic Network on Information Technology (INIT) convened the 3rd Two Day International Workshop on ICTs for Development: Mainstreaming the Marginalized, on January 28 – 29, 2020 at Ramada Hotel, Islamabad in collaboration with Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication, COMSATS University Islamabad, and UNESCO Chair in ICT for Development.

The Workshop builds on the efforts of INIT to identify ways through which stakeholders (Academia, Government, Civil Societies, Private Sector) can contribute towards diffusion of technologies for creating a positive impact on the marginalized communities.

The workshop started with an opening address from Prof. Dr. Raheel Qamar T.I., President INIT/ Rector COMSATS University Islamabad. Prof. Dr. Raheel Qamar said that data was evolving professional practices and creating redundancy in conventional jobs. There is a need for changing the skill set of current professionals in order to draw maximum benefit from emerging technologies and artificial intelligence. Dr. Raheel Qamar emphasized that youth must focus on future technologies and the entrepreneurial potential of these technologies in order to benefit Pakistan. He said that information is being created at an unprecedented scale, it is our duty to learn how to convert it into useful knowledge, particularly lawyers, doctors and service sector professionals will be the most impacted in the coming days. Prof. Tim Unwin, UNESCO Chair in ICT4D, and Emeritus Professor at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK, delivered the keynote address. Prof. Unwin said that besides an increased focus on Climate Change and other conventional focused areas of the Sustainable Development Agenda, there was a need to develop baseline data to monitor progress on the quality of life. Mr. Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui, Honorable Federal Secretary Ministry of IT&T, said that the current government was pursuing a massive digitalization program in order to promote transparency and make public departments service oriented. He said that the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan had always underscored the importance of ICTs in governance and since Pakistan had a high potential for technology disruption by virtue of its young population, the subject was ever more pertinent. He appreciated INIT and COMSATS University for promoting the soft image of the country through such international capacity building events. Dr. Tahir Naeem, Executive Director INIT, delivered the vote of thanks and said that the Workshop series had successfully created sub-networks of professionals committed to bringing forward innovative solutions across member countries of INIT. He also elucidated as how over the time ICTs have become an important part of our lives and emphasized on the need of such workshops for creating linkages between inter sectoral organization to foster an environment of innovation.

The thematic areas of the workshop were divided in the six technical sessions tilted:

  1. Future Learning & Technology: Understanding the Deprived Context;
  2. Policy to Practice: Barriers and Challenges;
  3. Awareness and Inclusions: Strategizing Through Technology;
  4. Accessibility and Technology: Overcoming Barriers;
  5. Reskilling the Marginalized: Understanding Role Reversals; and
  6. Technology Provision: Indigestion of Local Needs.

The workshop steered away from conventional delivery models and divulged in an interactive manner to identify steps needed for the development of a sustainable policy for provision of simple, realistic and implementable technologies that could make a life changing difference for the marginalized community. The Workshop provided a participatory learning experience to the participants through presentations, panel discussion sessions and open floor discussions on the identified thematic areas. The Workshop was participated by around hundred participants, hailing from different organizations including Ministry of Planning and Development and Special Initiatives, Department for International Development (DFID), Hashoo Foundation, Special Education Institutions, Universities, Software Companies, Startups, S&T organizations, and development sector from all over the country.

Participating Institutions:

The participants from the following institutions participated in the workshop:

1. Sarhad University, Peshawar

2. Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, Islamabad

3. Sightsavers, Islamabad

4. Vision 21, Rawalpindi

5. Alfoze Technologies, Islamabad

6. DFID, Pakistan

7. EPIC Four Consultancy Services, Rawalpindi

8. CECOS University of IT and Emerging Sciences, Peshawar

9. Rawalpindi Women University, Rawalpindi

10. Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology, Topi

11. Taaleem Foundation, Islamabad

12. UNESCO, Islamabad

13. Schlumberger, Islamabad

14. ZONES LLC, Islamabad

15. Internet Society Pakistan, Islamabad Chapter

16. Foundation University, Islamabad

17. DeafTawk, Islamabad

18. National University of Sciences & Technology, Islamabad

19. Punjab Rural Support Programme, Okara

20. Sustainable Environmental Solutions, Islamabad

21. Prudential Solutions (Pvt) Ltd, Islamabad

22. IGNITE, National Technology Fund, Ministry of IT & Telecom, Pakistan

23. COMSATS Headquarter, Islamabad

24. Hashoo Foundation, Rawalpindi

25. COMSATS University, Islamabad

26. Sahil, Islamabad

27. SYNTECX Solutions Pvt. Ltd., Islamabad

28. Hasna Welfare and Development Organization, Rawalpindi

29. Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), Islamabad

30. Govt Qandeel Secondary School for the Blind, Kohati Bazar, Rawalpindi

31. Astral Technologies Pvt. Ltd., Rawalpindi

32. Sedum School for Special Children, Rawalpindi

33. Technology Times, Islamabad

34. National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad

35. Inaratech, Islamabad

36. Azeemi International, Rawalpindi

37. Riphah University, Islamabad

38. Inter Islamic Network on Information Technology, Islamabad

39. Aga Khan Educational Support Program

40. SDG Cell, Planning Commission, Islamabad

41. International Islamic University, Islamabad

42. HT CREW, Rawalpindi

43. Pakistan Microfinance Investment Company, Islamabad

44. Islamic Relief Pakistan, Islamabad

45. Ministry of Planning Development and Special Initiatives, Islamabad

46. AJK Association for the Blind

47. Asian Development Bank, Islamabad


49. Sehat Kahani, Karachi

50. UNESCO Chair for ICTD

51. WonderTree, Karachi


The following speakers delivered talk at the workshop:

1. Aaqib Saeed Abbasi
PR Manager, Vision 21, Rawalpindi

2. Abdul Qadeer
CEO, DeafTawk, Islamabad

3. Abida Yar Gul
Vision 21, Rawalpindi

4. Iqrar Khan
Vision 21, Rawalpindi

5. Izhar Hunzai
Asian Development Bank, Islamabad

6. Julius Sweetland
Director, OPTIKEY

7. Makkiya Jawed
Sehat Kahani, Karachi

8. Muhammad Shabbir Awan
National Defence University, Islamabad
9. Prof. Shahid Ahmed Memon

Chairman, Pakistan Disabled Foundation, Karachi

10. Professor Abdul Manan
Sedum School for Special Children, Rawalpindi

11. Professor Tim Unwin


12. Shahmir Quidwai

Regional Outreach Manager, WonderTree, Karachi

13. Shaista Kazmi

Program Director, Vision 21, Islamabad

14. Wamiq Hasan

Chief Technical Officer, DeafTawk, Islamabad

15. Sidra Jalil

Consultant, Ministry of Information Technology, Islamabad

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Keywords: Workshop