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5 Reasons to Join Us at SwitchPoint 2018

By Wayan Vota on April 4, 2018

switchpoint conference

Please register now to join your peers and colleagues at SwitchPoint 2018, where humanitarian innovation, global health & technology collide on April 26-27, 2018 in beautiful Saxapahaw, North Carolina.

SwitchPoint is a conference like no other. There are no conference rooms, no fluorescent lights, no boring speakers. Instead you’ll find:

An amazing program. 30+ powerful stage talks about the latest developments in tech for good, global health, humanitarian response, and more. Plus live performances that bring the arts and industry together in bold new ways.

Brilliant speakers. You’ll meet engaging experts from Johnson & Johnson, IBM, Facebook, and more, and hear from humanitarian dynamos who are making big things happen, from the world’s most populous cities all the way to the last mile.

Hands-on microlabs. 20+ break-out sessions give you a chance to interact with SwitchPoint presenters as you work side-by-side to design hands-on, practical solutions to real-world problems.

SwitchPoint is also how I learned about the Chapel Hill/Durham nexus of international development.

It’s at SwitchPoint that I developed a wearable sensors for health idea, and through the connections I made there, came to work with the fine folks at IntraHealth International, which produces SwitchPoint each year to foster creative, unexpected partnerships can help advance development in the USA and around the world.

Five MicroLabs Just For You

Here are five Microlabs that focus on technology for development at this year’s event. If these don’t catch your eye, there are plenty more!

Big Dire Data

More and more, the world is making decisions based on data. As machine learning’s promise becomes a reality, we can’t forget about data considerations, including collection, security, privacy, equity, measurement, and money. Where are we getting data? How are they collected? What do they look like in their rawest form? Who is analyzing the data? Where are the gaps? There’s not an established blueprint (yet) for how to use data for health and humanitarian issues, but we can start to develop one in this microlab. Leads: Nina Rabinovitch Blecker, Jennifer Wesson, Nicholas Gordon, Erich Huang

Blockchain, Biometrics, and Identity

Blockchain and biometrics—you keep hearing about it, but how does it pertain to you and how are they being used in humanitarian and development solutions? The world is coming to a tipping point when it comes to matters of privacy and identity. What is meaningful and informed consent in a post-privacy world? What has to change? Who decided? For displaced and vulnerable populations this is especially sensitive but this affects everyone on the planet. Leads: Wayan Vota, Phaedra Boinodiris, Nathaniel Raymond

Drone Scavenger Hunt

Join leaders of Peru Flying Labs, a Peruvian innovation lab that focuses on solving local challenges through appropriate robotics and artificial intelligence, drone scavenger hunt across the Haw River to test out your skills and understand the challenges they face. These local innovators have been conducting cargo deliveries of blood and medicine in the Amazon rainforest, search-and-rescue operations and data collection after natural disasters, and Zika reduction through the release of sterilized mosquitoes. Leads: Juan Bergelund, Elena Arguelles

Social Entrepreneurship that Supports Local Livelihoods

Investments in women + clean-energy technology + economic opportunity = prosperity for all. Learn how solar lighting, mobile connectivity, clean-cooking solutions, and an ancient, gluten-free, African super-grain can advance sustainable livelihoods for women, improving the health and wellbeing of entire communities. Leads: Pierre Thiam, Neha Misra, Fatma Muzo

Sex, Data, and Women’s Rights

Addressing sex, misogyny, women’s rights, and equity in leadership, these champions are challenging the status quo and working to make a practical difference in the lives of women and girls worldwide. They use data, social media, education, and creativity to improve policies, strategies, and decision-making in support of women’s rights. Join them in the fight for #genderequity. Leads: Vithika Yadav, Roopa Dhatt, Nina Rabinovitch Blecker

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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of his employer, any of its entities, or any ICTWorks sponsor.
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