Innovation Fair 2022

Keynote Presentations
De Decker Cécilia

Digital for Development (D4D), Follow-up study. What are the developments related to the Covid-19 context?

The pandemic brought clear risks and opportunities for Digital for Development (D4D), as a strategy and for D4D projects in their conception and implementation. This is why the SEO ordered a follow-up study on its earlier evaluation on D4D. This follow-up study examined the effects of the covid crisis on both the D4D strategy and its interventions. Several conclusions from the main evaluation were confirmed. Themes that are related to D4D risks, such as digital exclusion, environment and gender became even more important to consider. The follow-up study led, among other things, to an elaborated note to clarify the D4D-strategy by DGD. There should be a continued and sufficient focus on digital for development (as a tool) to work towards an inclusive sustainable and resilient economic recovery. The monitoring of D4D projects and projects linked to Covid-19 could be improved. Finally, the inclusion of D4D in post-Covid strategies could be explored.

About the speaker

Cécilia De Decker is the head of the Special Evaluation Office of the Belgian Development Cooperation since September 2016. She supervises the strategic evaluations of the Office, such as the evaluation of Digital for Development and the follow-up study on the impact Covid-19 on D4D interventions.
With a degree in economics, she has been active for more than 20 years in the field of evaluation and policy analysis. She has coordinated many large evaluations in complex policy systems such as innovation policies, environment and employment policies, etc. She has been working as a consultant for many years. In 2004, she helped setting up the Office of the Special Evaluator of Development Cooperation at the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and making it operational. She was in charge of its first strategic evaluations. She also was instrumental in making the office meet professional standards. She then held a management position (2007-2016) in a consultancy company where she conducted assignments and training in the field of policy analysis, monitoring and evaluation. 

Lindström Nora

Programmed Out: Gender dimension of digital development

Girls and women continue to have less access to technology than boys and men, and to be less represented in the tech sector more broadly. This is a global problem. As the global development and humanitarian assistance sector is increasingly digitalised, the digital gender divide represents a barrier that, unless addressed, creates a risk that digitalisation efforts further female exclusion and contribute to entrenching existing gender power relations, even further skewing these. In this talk, Nora Lindström will outline the many dimensions in which digitalisation can reproduce gender inequalities and outline key strategies for global development and humanitarian assistance actors to address these risks.  

About the speaker

Nora Lindstrom is an international development professional working at the intersection of technology, global development, and human rights. She is the Senior Director of ICT4D at CRS, leading the agency’s work to leverage technology for increased programmatic quality, impact, and reach. Nora also currently serves as the Chair for the Digital Principles Advisory Council, supporting the Digital Impact Alliance in their stewardship of the Principles for Digital Development. Nora is passionate about advancing user-centric, responsible and impactful use of technology and data, as well as bridging the digital gender divide. In a previous role at Plan International, she coined the term Equality Tech, meaning technology that in itself advances equality. Nora holds an MSc in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, and an MA in Economics-International Relations from the University of St Andrews in Scotland. She is currently based in Helsinki, Finland. 

Van Reisen Mirjam

Realising Data-Sovereignty in the African Health Data Space: the Virus Outbreak Data Network (VODAN)-Africa

Digital data is the new resource of the economy and therefore a valuable asset that should be managed well. Currently, data is removed from the African continent, where it is no longer available. During the COVID-19 pandemic it became clear that data from Africa were scarce. The lack of data in Africa undermines its use for quality of primary health care on the continent. It also delays the inclusion of diverse data for science and health solutions that fit African populations. In health and science data provenance is important, and therefore it is preferable if data can remain where it is produced and enriched with semantic meaningful attributes.
The Virus Outbreak Data Network (VODAN)-Africa is a collaboration of African engineers which has produced an ethical FAIR Data pipeline of medical patient data that resides in residence – in the place where the data is produced. The data is not moved, it stays within the health facility. The data is Findable, and is Accessible under well-defined conditions, and Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR) respecting data Ownership, Localisation in residence under Regulatory frameworks in place (OLR). The FAIR-OLR Framework allows for data-analytics through data-visiting, in different places and across borders, fully respecting data sovereignty, whilst creating a pipeline for data-analytics. 
The result of the work undertaken is that health facilities in remote places can handle their own data; that health data including from facilities in remote places can be included in data analytics and that health facilities can benefit from interoperability between different digital solutions. The African Health Data Space allows a federated data -structure. By adding machine-actionable metadata to the data, the data becomes a resource for interoperable use and re-use. This enhances the value of the data for the place where this data is produced, and curated. The African Health Data Space (AHDS) is established by GO-FAIR Africa and supported by the International FAIR Data Competence Centre (IFDCC). VODAN-A supports the IFDCC. The IFDCC will support global collaboration on health and science in various domains. It is managed by the African University Network on FAIR Open Science.

About the speaker

Mirjam van Reisen is Professor International Relations, Innovation and Care at Tilburg University and Professor of FAIR Data Science at the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) at Leiden University. Van Reisen is Research Leader of the Globalization, Accessibility, Innovation and Care (GAIC) network and  and Project Director for the Digital Innovation and Skills Hub (DISH), part of the African University Network on FAIR Open Science (AUN). Van Reisen is the Director of the organisation Research Advisors & Experts Europe (RAEE) in Brussels. Van Reisen is the Coordinator of the Virus Outbreak Data Network (VODAN)-Africa  implementation network. She is a Member of the Supervisory Board of PharmAccess. Van Reisen was a member of the Dutch Advisory Council on International Affairs (AIV) and Chair of the Development Assistance Committee (COS) from 2013 to 2020. She was a member of the Board of Philips Foundation and the SNV Netherlands Development Organisation until 2020.Mirjam van Reisen has published extensively on Europe and international cooperation, human rights and human trafficking. She leads research into international  human trafficking, international cooperation, the role of technology and big data and the position of women in peace building.

Lurton Grégoire

Preparing for the next pandemic : the role of data sciences in low resource settings

The Coronavirus crisis and its multiple variants has put epidemic surveillance in developing countries on top of the global health agenda. In a context of emergence and acceleration of new epidemics, early identification and characterization of epidemic threats appears to be fundamental for the global health security infrastructure. Additionally, surveillance systems are essential to ensure the continuity of primary health systems during crisis and secure access to healthcare for populations. In low resource settings, health and population data systems are often still nascent thus limiting the capacities of public health authorities to identify, collect data on and react to emerging epidemic threats. In the meantime, progresses in data science and artificial intelligence are being developed that can help mobilize existing data to its maximum potential. This presentation will explore the main challenges epidemic surveillance is currently facing in developing countries, and will discuss some emerging trends and solutions.

About the speaker

A specialist in health information systems, Grégoire Lurton currently leads the data science team at Bluesquare. This team supports health ministries from various countries in advanced analysis and modeling of health data within projects funded by the Global Funding Facility, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation or the World Bank. Grégoire is also responsible for risk-based auditing activities for PBF programmes supported by Bluesquare. He holds a Master's degree in Econometrics and Quantitative Economics from ENSAE, a leading statistics institution in France. He equally holds a Master's degree in Development Economics from Sciences Po Paris. He is also a PhD candidate at the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. He has experience in supporting health information systems in a dozen sub-Saharan African countries in various capacities in the NGO, academic or private sector.

Exhibitors Innovation Fair

In international solidarity, we innovate! During the month of May 2022, ACODEV conducted a video campaign presenting 5 innovative and inspiring projects implemented by Belgian civil society organisations. These projects offer new approaches either in terms of technology and the use of digital possibilities, or in terms of their methodology:
- Auto-développement Afrique (ADA): a talent incubator for the most vulnerable
- Caritas Belgium and Commission Justice et Paix: "Walk in my Shoes", an interactive story about young refugees
- Handicap International Belgium: Drones for mine clearance
- MEMISA: Smart glasses, innovation for health
- Quinoa: Immersion in Europe, young Belgians meet migrants

ACODEV is the French and German-speaking federation of development cooperation associations. It represents, federates and supports 74 member organisations active in international solidarity. 


The African Union – European Union (AU-EU) Digital for Development (D4D) Hub supports African institutions to create an enabling environment for an inclusive and sustainable digital transformation. The project provides demand-driven technical assistance, promotes knowledge sharing, and facilitates dialogues.  

The AU-EU D4D Hub is co-funded by the European Union and jointly implemented by eight European organisations – including Enabel. It is part of the D4D Hub, an EU-led platform that creates and leverages partnerships to shape a sustainable digital future worldwide.

D4D Access is a new knowledge sharing platform powered by the AU-EU D4D Hub. It allows African and European digital stakeholders to share lessons learned, experiences, and expertise on D4D. 

Close the Gap

Digitalisation in favour of non-profit organizations and educational institutions is at the core of Close the Gap’s activities since 20 years. By offering amortized but quality hardware – donated by companies and institutions and tested and wiped by professional refurbishment partners – a second life in the South, we give young people and communities access to education and thereby foster knowledge sharing.

From 2017 to 2021, Close the Gap was also responsible for managing the D4D platform and its related activities (events, Tech4Development workshops, D4D missions to Nigeria and Kenya). In that role, the organization held (and holds) a central position in the Belgian D4D ecosystem and it has built up an extensive network of Tech companies and NGOs with an interest for digitalization.

Close the Gap also supports young entrepreneurs (with a focus on Tech/Digital) in East Africa in the development/growth of their start-up or scale-up.


The rapid spread and scale-up of digital technologies and services has created new opportunities for sustainable development and inclusive growth in the world but has also deepened the ‘digital divide’ that individuals are facing. This digital divide impacts people’s ability to benefit equally from digital opportunities and therefore socio-economic inequalities risk to be deepened. For Enabel, digitalisation is not a goal by itself, but it can be a strong catalyst to help achieve the SDGs and promote sustainable development. Our organisation addresses five contemporary global challenges (peace and security, climate change and the environment, socio-economic inequalities, human mobility, and urbanisation), and each challenge includes a variety of opportunities to ensure digital inclusion.

Enabel is the Belgian development agency. It implements Belgium’s governmental cooperation. The agency also works for other national and international donors. With its partners in Belgium and abroad, Enabel offers solutions to address pressing global challenges.

Royal Museum for Central Africa

Contributing to Africa’s sustainable development is one of the missions of the Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA). A significant part of its activities is aimed at promoting development cooperation, towards which the RMCA can use its scientific expertise, very rich collections, documentation, and infrastructure to advantage.

The museum’s main partner in development cooperation is the Belgian Development Cooperation (DGD). Activities are varied and are directed at:
-    transferring knowledge about Africa and development issues, through dissemination of digital information, through educational workshops for schools, exhibitions for the general public in Belgium, and international conferences for academics and professionals.
-    implementing research projects in a wide range of disciplines (zoology, wood biology, geology, history, musicology ) with partner institutes mostly in Central Africa. For example, long term collaboration projects work towards prediction and monitoring of geological hazards, towards integrated fruit fly pest management and towards sustainable management of forests and fish resources in the Congo Basin.
-    reinforcing the capacities of African institutions through cooperation projects, training for African scientists, and sharing of digital information systems and sources.


Website of VLIR-UOS


Accordion content here

Wajnbrosse Productions

Kinshasa Now – Virtual reality film by Wajnbrosse Productions– Duration 21 minutes:

35,000 children survive on the streets of Kinshasa. Considered sorcerers and rejected by their families, they try to survive with the help of odd jobs, resourcefulness, theft. They are called the Shégués. The virtual reality film Kinshasa Now is an experience where the viewer is immersed, thanks to a 360° VR headset, in the middle of the streets of Kinshasa while discovering the daily life of a street child. Kinshasa Now follows 14-year-old Mika, accused of witchcraft and thrown out of his home. The scenario is based on the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The themes of family, religion, education, health, gender… are covered. Kinshasa Now is a new way of making cinema and a powerful tool for raising awareness!


Wehubit stands between innovation and D4D. It specifically target the scaling-up/replication phase of digital social innovations. Wehubit seeks for projects that will scale-up existing digital solutions so that these are rolled-out at larger scale and become more available, affordable and performing. Wehubit also adheres to the nine principles for digital development. Projects funded by the programme are invited to use these principles as a compass during implementation.

Wehubit is co-funded by Belgium and the European Union. Six calls for proposals about various thematics (e-health, gender and inclusion, smart agriculture…) were launched by the programme from 2018 until now. The last one about EdTech is under the DIRECCT programme, funded by the European Union. 

The Wehubit programme has supported 27 partner projects, implemented by over 45 partner organisations in 12 of the 14 partner countries of the development cooperation. It has done so through its two-pillar approach, combining financial support (i.e. a grant facility) with knowledge management (i.e. Knowledge Exchange Network or ‘KEN’). 



Digital Data Collection for Better Impact in Burundi and DRC: a Success Story to Digitalize Household Surveys
SOS Children's Villages Belgium - SOS Children's Villages Burundi - SOS Children's Villages DR Congo

Children who have lost or are at risk of losing their parents' care remain largely invisible in the statistics at the global level and have long been off the radar of the SDG indicators. SOS Children's Villages International (SOS CVI) started in 2011 to fill this gap. To this end, it created Programme Database 2 (PDB2), a user-friendly web application, designed as a tool to facilitate the effective management of SOS Children’s Villages’ programmes. Its main objective is to store and process meaningful information about the children, young people and their families of programmes provided by SOS Children’s Villages. This information includes key data on 8 dimensions (Care, Accommodation, Education, Protection and social inclusion, Food security, Physical health, Livelihood as well as Social and emotional well-being).

In December 2019, SOS Children’s Villages in Burundi and SOS Children’s Villages in DR Congo, with the support of SOS Children’s Villages Belgium, introduced digitalization at the data collection stage. Before, data gathering in the field was done on paper and the information was not centrally available. Now, the system (PDB2) allows for data collection and entry on digital devices (tablets, phones), even in remote rural areas thanks to an offline mode. After only 2 years of implementation, the transition from a paper process to a digital one in Burundi and DRC already constitutes a “success story”: data quality has significantly improved; data analysis has increased, with programme decisions being increasingly data (PDB2)-driven; and impact measurement is more visible and shared with external partners and stakeholders. 

Projet de Digitalisation de l'Agriculture en Milieu Paysan au Mali 
Réseau Agri Vision Sahel (AVS) - Enabel Mali

The project is led by a consortium of two Malian digital startups run by women, AgriBox and BI MUSSO, and the sub-regional network Agri Vision Sahel (AVS). This consortium proposes digital solutions and applications to improve the flow of goods to growth markets and the yield of agricultural production at lower cost through digital services adapted to the socio-economic realities of farmers and women processors. 

The TTE Sandbox
Enabel - Ministry of Sports and Education in Uganda

The WHO has declared the COVID-19 pandemic on March 11, 2020. In Uganda, the first case of COVID-19 infection was confirmed on March 21, 2020. Uganda’s 15 million learners constituting about 40% of the country’s total population were sent home in March 2020. During the country’s 22-month school closure, which ended in January 2022 — one of the longest pandemic-related shutdown in the world — Enabel managed to ensure the continuity of learning in 5 National Teacher Training Colleges and 7 Vocational Training Institutes in Uganda and inspired 5 partner countries of Enabel to use similar tools and approaches. 

The TTE Sandbox as testing ground for Educational Technology (EdTEch), was co-created with the 5 National Teacher Training Colleges (NTCs). It clearly answered the needs that arose from the closure of schools in March 2020. The action focused on ensuring communication between college and students, piloting new ways of results-based management and improving 21st century skills of lecturers so that they are able to ensure the continuity of learning (via WhatsApp, Google Classroom, Zoom, …).

The TTE Sandbox as testing ground for EdTEch, has proven impactful and scalable. The Sandbox is useful for teachers, instructors and students to equip them with 21st -century skills for them to be able to adapt in a constantly changing society. During the pandemic not only digital lessons were designed, also full-fletched e-Learning courses were co-created with/for the lecturers in 2020/21. For example, the General Teaching Methods (GTM) course: 8663 students enrolled and 7789 certified up to date or the Teaching Enhanced Learning (TEL) course: 6305 students enrolled, 5831 certified and completed the course. Through the partnership with MTN, 25 instructional videos were created with and for instructors of the 7 VTIs (available online).


Citizens and Machine Learning to End Snail-Borne Diseases
Royal Museum for Central Africa - Mbarara University of Science and Technology - Université de Kinshasa - KULeuven

In 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) highlighted vector-borne diseases as a global public health priority. Among these, schistosomiasis ranks second only to malaria in terms of prevalence and morbidity. The WHO recommends combining drug treatment with snail control to combat this disease, but this requires broad-scale and regular monitoring of snail populations. However, there is a lack of snail experts in Africa and beyond, and monitoring campaigns are expensive. In the ATRAP project we therefore adopted a novel (digital) citizen science approach that can be executed by non-specialists. Deep learning object detection is thereby used for real-time snail identification. The model, with a detection accuracy of 97%, is deployed as an open-access web application. This tool, and the snail distribution maps can be online consulted by local health centers and ministries to implement preventive measures including targeted snail control.

Halisi: Trusted Biometrics as a Service for Animals
Fit-For-Purpose Technologies

Halisi is a biometric system which, from a simple photo or video, makes it possible to obtain key biometric indicators to assess the well-being of a cow, and therefore to take the necessary actions directly influencing its well-being level  and consequently its milk production. The Artificial Intelligence driven solution captures, extracts and analyzes physical, psychological and behavioral components. The system has the advantage of being non-invasive, that it can be embedded in fixed devices (e.g. fixed camera) for continuous evaluation, is inexpensive and easy to use and does not always requires internet coverage.

Scratc²h 2050: Supporting Coding among Rwandan Adolescents & Teachers through the Curriculum & Clubs Heading for Rwanda 2050
VVOB - Rwanda Basic Education Board - Rwanda Coding Academy - Rwanda TVET Board - Rwandan Association for Women in Science and Engineering - Wehubit 

To prepare learners for decent work in the fields of STEM and ICT, the Government of Rwanda integrated Scratch in the curriculum. Scratch is a free coding tool, which can – interestingly - be used offline. With Scratch, youngsters learn to code and create stories, games and animations. It is the perfect tool to stimulate creative learning, as well as teach coding concepts and computational thinking. However, few teachers have competences to work with Scratch and to form and facilitate coding clubs.

In the framework of Scratc²h 2050, learners (both boys and girls) in 54 schools in Rwanda were introduced to coding principles in the classroom as 158 STEM and ICT teachers integrated Scratch in their STEM and ICT courses. The coding clubs, next, provided the opportunity to truly develop digital skills in an enjoyable environment, combining fun with learning the language of generation Z: the programming language. At the end of each coding club cycle, learners competed in a hackathon, a Scratch competition. To demonstrate the potential of coding in the world of work, and to trigger learners’ curiosity for a career in ICT, exposure visits to leading tech companies were organised, such as to ZoraBots Africa and the e-Commerce Centre. 


AfriTech Hub Immersive Coding Camp
AfriTech Hub Cameroon

The goal at AfriTech Hub is to supply a pipeline of skilled tech professionals from Africa to meet the growing demand for innovators on the continent and globally. The approach involves an intensive and immersive coding camp for six months and internship placements after the 6 months of learning. Overall, participants should be able to commit to this program for 9 months. The project based learning approach ensures that the participants become actual problem solvers ready for the world of work. It also guarantees a supply of quality talent for all our partner institutions. It addresses 3 fundamental problems: quality education, decent work for economic growth, and fostering the representation of Africans in the tech market. 

FACTmobile - A mobile application for the FACT Sahel+ network
FACT Sahel+

Raw earth, a natural building material par excellence, is now making a vigorous and inventive comeback on the construction market, in Africa and worldwide, as an obvious and efficient solution in terms of ecology, economy and comfort. The FACT Sahel+ network federates the actors of raw earth construction in the Sahel and neighbouring countries. It asserts and disseminates a Sahelian construction identity that respects natural resources and human know-how. More than 200 actors are now part of the network in the 5 years since the project began, not counting requests from building owners. Each year, the number of these requests increases. 

The FACT Sahel+ network proposes a mobile application to :
FACILITATE, in a few clicks, the linking of supply and demand in the green building sector. 
INCLUDE thanks to a light and intuitive tool, accessible to all profiles, whether they are urban, rural or regional.
TRANSMIT the know-how of Earth Construction, which is very present in the Sahel

The Sustainability-As-A-Service Protocol: A New Fundraising Protocol For Emergency Preparedness & Response
Pello Mugica Gonzalez

The number of disasters has increased by a factor of five over the 50-year period, driven by climate change, more extreme weather and improved reporting.Thanks to improved early warnings and disaster management, the number of deaths decreased almost three-fold globally over the past 50 years. But more than 91% of the deaths occurred in developing countries (using the United Nations Country Classification). 

The Sustainability-As-A-Service Protocol is a new independent protocol that is aiming to  close the inequality gap in emergency preparedness & response, and significantly reduce response time in developing countries.The idea behind the protocol is that by making it easier for people to donate to future emergencies, and by ensuring that their donations have maximum impact, we can potentially save lives. In the wake of natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, droughts, storms and earthquakes, every second counts and this protocol has the potential to make a real difference by its speed in fund transfers.

To that end, the protocol provides a set of tools and services to both donors and emergency response organisations including parametric insurance products which can be used as leverage for donations to increase preparedness & improve response time in disaster prone areas. That is important, because an emergency response organisation needs to act quickly to minimize human suffering, but often lags in its response because of bureaucratic and fundraising issues.

The benefits of the Protocol are threefold: 
1.    It increases transparency and gives donors near real-time feedback on how their donation is being used; 
2.    It makes sure that emergency response funds are always available, for any disaster, at any time and place; 
3.    And perhaps most importantly, it significantly reduces response time by making funds instantly available to a disaster response organisation.