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ICTs and LGBTQ Rights: What are the Challenges and Possibilities?


April 21st New York City Salon - RSVP Now

Some of the African countries that receive the largest amounts of foreign aid are those with the worst records on gay rights. Many of these same countries also serve as important hubs for the ICT4D ecosystem. Homosexuality is punishable by up to 14 years of imprisonment in the Christian-majority South of Nigeria and death by stoning in the Muslim North. It is also illegal in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia, all of whom receive large amounts of foreign aid funding.

Large international organizations, including those working on human rights and social justice, have been slow to find ways of supporting LGBTQ rights, both for stakeholders and for LGBTQ staff working in these areas, even though gays, lesbians and transgendered people are often the most marginalized at all levels of society. Within their organizations, LGBTQ persons often suffer personal and institutional discrimination.

Though Ban Ki-moon announced in July 2014 that the UN would recognize same-sex marriages among staff, allowing them to receive the same benefits as their heterosexual counterparts, in March, Russia demanded that this decision be overturned. Within the UN, the issue is further complicated based on the type of contract awarded to the staff, consultant or intern.

How might ICTs be used to support and protect LGBTQ rights and LGBTQ-identifying populations – including those working within international development organizations and those living in the countries that are recipients of aid and development money? How do ICTs and social media complicate the situation of those working within international development organizations in these countries?

Please RSVP now to join us for a discussion with Mala Kumar, author and former UN ICT4D staff; Tania Lee, ICT4D specialist, and Robert Valadez, current UN ICT4D staff; on these and other key questions, including:
  • What are some examples of ICTs and social media working to support LGBTQ populations in various countries?
  • What other kinds of support are needed that could be enhanced via ICTs and social media?
  • What are some of the specific challenges for ICT4D staff that identify as LGBTQ?
  • How have efforts to mainstream LGBTQ issues into development work fared and what have some of the successes and challenges?
  • Are there organizations and programs that are ‘doing it right?’ What can we learn?
  • What steps can we take to create more LGBTQ-friendly organizations, policies and programs?
Please RSVP now to join Technology Salon NYC for a lively discussion! Be sure to arrive early to get a good seat, hot coffee, and morning snacks (thanks to Thoughtworks) before we start.
ICT4D and LGBTQ Rights
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
9:00-11:00 am
99 Madison Ave, 15th Floor (map)
New York, NY 10016
RSVP is Required for Attendance

How Are ICTs and Social Media Supporting Tenant Rights?


April 16th Brooklyn Salon - RSVP Now

Gentrification is top of mind of many Brooklynites, as they are pushed out of their communities by large-scale economic development and wealthier groups moving in. One effect of the gentrification process is often the shuttering of local businesses and skyrocketing rents for residents as landlords make way for those who can pay more.

The New York City Office of the Comptroller reported in April 2014 that median rents in the city had risen by 75% since 2001, compared to 44% in the rest of the US, while at the same time, real incomes declined overall for New Yorkers. At the same time, the numbers of rent-regulated properties has decreased. The harshest consequences of rising rents and lowering incomes are felt by the poor and working classes (those earning less than $40,000 a year).

This situation is contributing to an increase in homelessness, with the city’s shelters receiving an all time high number of people seeking support and services. The negative impacts of gentrification also tend to differentially impact on communities of color. Tenants do have rights -- however, enforcing those rights can take years when landlords have deep pockets. In 2003, a tenant advocacy group found that in cases initiated by tenants, only 2% resulted in fines for landlords.

Residents of gentrifying areas have not been silent about the impact of gentrification. Numerous community groups have formed and are fighting to keep communities intact, cohesive and affordable for residents. Social media and better data and data visualization can help to track and create evidence bases that can support residents, or to connect them to support services and legal aid.

Please RSVP now to join us at the Brooklyn Community Foundation for a lively roundtable conversation on tenant rights and ICTs. We’ll hear from community organizations, technology developers, legal advocates and others with an interest in technology and social activism around tenant rights, including such questions as:
  • How are community organizations successfully using ICTs and social media to support tenant rights?
  • What is working well, and what are some of the lessons learned about using ICTs and social media for outreach?
  • What are some new ways that organizations could use ICTs to support their work?
  • What support do community organizations need to do this work?
Please RSVP now to join Technology Salon Brooklyn for a lively discussion! Be sure to arrive early to get a good seat, hot coffee, and morning snacks before we start.
ICTs, Social Media and Tenant Rights
Thursday, April 16, 2015, 9-11am
Brooklyn Community Foundation
1000 Dean Street, Suite 307
Brooklyn, NY 11238
RSVP is Required to Attend

The Foundation is a short walk from the A, C, S 2, 3, 4 or 5 trains (Franklin Av stop) (map)

What Is the Future of ICT and
Development in Cuba?


April 29th DC Salon - RSVP Now

The US Government has a mixed record in using technology to help the Cuban people improve their lives. Most of its attempts ended in failure, some painful for everyone involved, others comical in their shortsightedness.

At the same, Cuba is a technology backwater. Only 9% of the population has access to mobile services, 5% has Internet access, and neither is affordable to the masses or free of censorship. Of course, open competition by mobile operators or Internet service providers is nonexistent.

However, President Obama has finally brought Cuban-American relations into the 21st Century with historic changes to the political and commercial relations between the two countries. Of specific importance to us is the liberalization of telecommunications investments. Change is now happening fast. Even more importantly for us, is there a role for the international development community in Cuba? Do they need our technology tools to speed development? Or is the famed Cuban entrepreneurial spirit strong enough to lead its own tech-blossoming, supported by a wave of Cuban-American Diaspora and Foreign Direct Investment?

Please RSVP now to join your peers and 3 noted thought leaders to debate the role and impact of ICT and development in the resurgence of Cuba during this historic opportunity:
  • Rafael Romeu, President and CEO of DevTech Systems, Inc, and ex-president of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy.
  • Sandy Acosta Cox, President, Empowerment Fund for the Americas, and ex-CoP of an IRD program in Cuba
  • Miguel Sancho Fernández, Developer at Peach Underneath, Inc and ex-Head of Center of Information Industry, Universidad de Ciencias Informáticas in Havana
We’ll have hot coffee and catered breakfast treats for a morning rush, but seating is limited, so please RSVP now to join in the discussion. Once we reach our 35-person capacity there will be a waiting list!

April Technology Salon DC
8:30 - 10:30 a.m.
Wednesday, April 29th
Washington, DC


About the Technology Salon

The Technology Salonâ„¢ is an intimate, informal, and in person, discussion between information and communication technology experts and international development professionals, with a focus on both:
  • technology's impact on donor-sponsored technical assistance delivery, and
  • private enterprise driven economic development, facilitated by technology.
Our meetings are lively conversations, not boring presentations. Attendance is capped at 30 people - and frank participation with ideas, opinions, and predictions is actively encouraged. 

It's also a great opportunity to meet others motivated to employ technology to solve vexing development problems. Join us today!
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