Why is this question controversial?

As the entire world seemingly awakens to anti-Black racism, many of us who are Black or allies with eyes wide open are asking: Why is it controversial to ask if Black lives matter or even to state that, in fact, they DO matter?

The promotion of this event has revealed several people that are bashful about being called out because of their own problematic behavior past and present.
But we don’t want you to be bashful, we want you to own it and do better.

In this spirit, the next ICT4D Meetup I am co-hosting with the incredible Dama Sathianathan will not be debating whether Black lives matter in ICT4D. Instead we will address three key questions:

  1. What does anti-Black racism look like in ICT4D?

  2. What is the impact of anti-Black racism in ICT4D?

  3. What are possible concrete actions people can take to be [more] anti-racist in their own ICT4D work?

Our intent is to germinate fresh ideas that will move from reflection to action. What Black people around the world have had to endure for centuries is something that all international development professionals should care about, whether they work in tech or not. It’s also something they need to do something about. The rhetoric does not currently align with the reality!

We are delighted to confirm six exceptional panelists [in alphabetical order] that will discuss the above three questions:

  • Thelonius Cook, Owner and Farmer at Mighty Thundercloud Edible Forest and ICT4Ag Consultant with USAID’s Farmer-to-Farmer program.Thelonius Cook is the sole proprietor and manager of a small-scale organic farm. He holds a.n MSc in Practicing Sustainable Development with ICT4D specialism from Royal Holloway, University of London, as well as a bachelor’s degree in Integrated Science and Technology (ISAT) with a dual concentration in Telecommunications and Information Knowledge Management (IKM) from James Madison University. He has a strong IT background and more than a decade of experience researching, designing and implementing ICT projects. His expertise ranges from programming to hardware networking, and Thelonius has experience living and working in East Africa. There, he has implemented and supported ICT projects in a range of sectors, including agriculture and education, for governments, community-based organizations, schools and hospitals.
  • Haben Fecadu, Human Rights Lawyer, Amnesty International.
    Haben Fecadu is an Eritrean-American human rights lawyer covering human rights developments in the Horn of Africa for Amnesty International in Nairobi, Kenya. After finishing her undergraduate degree at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, she continued her legal studies at Columbia Law School where she focused on international and comparative law. She has spend the last 8 years gaining experience in the international development and human rights fields, and has developed an expertise on technology, human rights and their impacts on the Afrfican continent.
  • Shikoh Gitau, CEO of Qhala.
    Shikoh is the CEO of Qhala, a Digital Innovation company that catalyzes digital transformation capabilities for organizations across Africa. She has over 10 years of experience in the Research, Design, Implementation, and Management of Digital Technologies. She has established expertise in both African and Emerging Markets specialized in solving problems in Agriculture, Education, Health, Payments, Retail and Renewable energies.She is responsible for the set-up of Safaricom Alpha, a first of the kind corporate innovation hub in Africa. Where she worked as the Head of Products – Innovation and acted as the Chief Innovation Officer. Shikoh also led Safaricom’s foray into becoming a digital company, by putting together a strategy, and cross-functional teams to execute the strategy.Previously worked with Africa Development Bank (AfDB) and Google and Microsoft in their emerging markets teams. She has received numerous awards in recognition of her efforts in influencing Business and Government as well as Technology. Shikoh seats on various boards in ICT companies and contributes to a number of steering committees and think tanks on Africa and technology. Shikoh holds a PhD and MSc in Computer Science from the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
  • Aarathi Krishnan, Humanitarian Futures and Strategic Foresight Advisor and Technology and Human Rights Fellow at the Harvard Carr Centre for Technology and Human Rights.

    Aarathi Krishnan specialises in humanitarian futures and strategic foresight. She has worked in humanitarian and development aid globally for over 15 years and now focuses her work on reimagining futures for the humanitarian system and social change. She works at the intersection of humanitarian futures, strategic foresight, and systems transformation.

    She supports a range of international humanitarian organisations on how to embed foresight and strategy to drive institutional and systems transformation, including the UN Resident Coordinators, UNV, World Bank, UNHCR, MSF and ICRC .

    A 2020-21 Technology and Human Rights Fellow at the Harvard Carr Centre for Technology and Human Rights, as well as a Berkman Klein Fellow at Harvard University, she also works on research initiatives with a range of partners, including the World Economic Forum,  on inclusive technologies, AI and Civil Society Futures.  She is specifically interested in issues of planetary health, inclusive and equitable technology futures, new forms of growth and power, with a lens on decolonised and feminist futures. She writes and speaks publicly and can be found on Twitter at @akrishnan23.

  • Hannah Metcalfe, Country Director (Tanzania) and Global Private Sector Lead for Viamo.

Hannah is an impact-driven digital development strategist and has been with Viamo as the Country Director in Tanzania for more than four years. Hannah is responsible for engaging and advising potential partners on mobile strategies and mobile technology solutions.

She also oversees and coordinates the implementation of all our mobile engagement projects in Tanzania. Succeeding in this role, Hannah draws on her experience as an ICT4D expert and insights manager at GSMA where she managed a wide range of projects working in the data collection team, responsible for tracking mobile phone solutions in Africa and Asia.


  • Olasupo Oyedepo, Co-founder and first Director of the African Alliance of Digital Health Networks.

    Olasupo Oyedepo is a technology strategist with over 15 years of experience supporting the deployment of technology is several sectors, mainly health. He is the Project Director of the Health Strategy and Delivery Foundation’s ICT4HEALTH Project in Nigeria. The project provides technical assistance to the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health in the implementation of the National digital health strategy. His experiences span design, development and management of technology in health.

    He is also the co-founder and first Director of the African Alliance of Digital Health Networks (African Alliance), a peer learning network recently set up to provide coordinating support to continent’s digital health eco-system. The African Alliance helps to incubate and grow human (technical & entrepreneurial) capacity in Africa to leverage the power of digital technologies in health across the continent.

    His areas of expertise includes digital health governance; project and programme planning; and policy and strategy, he is particularly passionate about country leadership and governance of digital health investments and activities in LMICs.


We hope you can join us for this event. Please don’t forget to REGISTER directly, as no unregistered guests are permitted. See you there!

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