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Volunteering online for innovation in ICT

UN Online Volunteers research new trends and global best practices in ICT innovation

14 Aug 2016

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICT). ITU promotes the collaboration of the public and private sectors to develop global ICT networks and services. From March until September 2015, ITU engaged a team of seven UN Online Volunteers to research new trends and global best practices in ICT innovation.

The results of this research were used in preparation of the ITU Telecom World 2015 event in Budapest. Bringing together over 4,000 participants from 129 countries to connect and share views, challenges and experiences, the conference provided a space to hold meaningful dialogues on how innovation in ICT can help deliver solutions globally. Industry leaders, governments, international organizations, entrepreneurs, accelerators, incubators and academics exchanged ideas and forged new relationships in diverse areas related to technology for development and disaster management, to improve the lives of millions of people across the globe. 

In the conference’s planning phase, the UN Online Volunteers mapped over 700 relevant initiatives undertaken by governments, universities and the private sector to promote ICT innovation hubs, clusters and parks in 115 countries. “The team was always present for ITU's needs, so work never stopped in this period. This was true teamwork and full of new ideas that enhanced our way of doing things. The volunteers did extensive research that was invaluable for the ITU,” says Jose Maria Diaz Batanero, who coordinated ITU’s collaboration with the volunteers.

The Team

  • Juan Botero


    “I was very pleased in having such a strong team. Feedback came not only from the project director but also from the other volunteers.”

  • Alisa Niakhai

    Belarus / Canada

    Consultant (International Development)
    "Technology enables and shapes societal change, so I was very excited about contributing to ITU's research on innovation hubs and clusters.”

  • Sagorika Roy


    Software Engineer
    “Online volunteering was a great learning process and motivation to move forward in life.”

  • Feren Calderwood


    Project Manager
    “It was a rewarding experience to be part of this ITU initiative especially with regards to the subject areas as well as how the volunteer effort was led.”