Bhaumik shares: Last month I represented Awaaz De at the ICTD conference , Lahore. The conference was organized by the IT University in Lahore. The Chief Minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif addressed the opening session and described the programme as one part of a larger initiative started by the Pakistani government to deal with an acute shortage of trained manpower in Pak’s IT Industry.
Our session on Khedut Saathi generated a lot of interest among the audience. We recieved a lot of good suggestions and feedback for what we could try, advice informed by experiences all over South Asia and the world, from where conference participants hailed.
From a mobile tech perspective, it was a surprise to see heavy usage of Text SMS for communication compared to apps like What’s App mainly because Pakistan has no 3G service provider yet and data cost is too high compared to SMS.
Personally, It was great to meet local university students and speakers from various other countries and sharing each other’s work.
We hope to attend future conferences in Pakistan. We talk about ICTs being able to connect disconnected communities in rural areas, but if ICT can connect two groups together living so close yet so far like people living in India and Pakistan that is really inspiring.