About the event

Nearly half of the world's population uses messaging applications, providing an opportunity to connect more people and allow innovative programs centering on everything from maternal health to refugee resettlement to flourish. Increasingly, development organizations are seeing the value of using mobile messaging applications to reach both urban and rural populations across the globe. With these new opportunities, however, practitioners must also consider how to overcome socioeconomic and technological access challenges and ensure responsible, ethical data use.

Building off of a report by Echo Mobile and the Digital Impact Alliance, Devex is convening a one-hour webinar to provide insights into how development practitioners can harness the versatile nature of mobile communications in their programming.  

The panel will also take audience questions. We invite you to share them during the event or in advance by submitting to webinars@devex.com.


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The Speakers

Moderator

Catherine Cheney

Senior Reporter
Devex
Catherine Cheney is a Senior Reporter for Devex. She covers the West Coast of the U.S., focusing on the role of technology and innovation in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. And she frequently represents Devex as a speaker and moderator. Prior to joining Devex, Catherine earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Yale University, worked as a web producer for POLITICO and reporter for World Politics Review, and helped to launch NationSwell. Catherine has reported from all over the world, and freelanced for outlets including the Atlantic and the Washington Post. She is also the West Coast ambassador for the Solutions Journalism Network, a nonprofit that trains and connects journalists to cover responses to problems.

Debbie Rogers

Managing Director
Praekelt Foundation
Debbie Rogers’ advanced degrees in Electronic and Software Engineering as well as Art allow her to bring both technological problem-solving skills and creative insights to her work. Although her career in mobile technology began in the commercial sector, Debbie shifted to technology for development 10 years ago when she joined Praekelt.org. In 2014 Debbie led the service design of the National Department of Health in South Africa’s MomConnect programme and has since developed a particular focus in advancing mobile technology for health. Now the Managing Director, at Praekelt.org, Debbie is proud to lead a diverse team in creating guided, personal, empowering conversations that improve health outcomes and systems. Her passion for diversity in the technology sector has also lead her to co-found the African Developers Academy, a software training programme for previously disadvantaged women in South Africa.

Jake Watson

Senior Director,
Platforms and Services
Digital Impact Alliance
Jake joined DIAL in May of 2018 as Senior Director of the Platforms and Services group and is a member of the Governance Board for Digital Square. Jake comes to DIAL with deep experience in people and technical program management in the humanitarian, international development, and high-tech startup industries. At VillageReach, he worked with ministries of health to solve healthcare delivery challenges in East and Southern Africa and led the re-architecture of OpenLMIS, an open-source logistics management information system. At the International Rescue Committee, he supported education projects in Haiti and served as a Regional Coordinator for the Syria Refugee Response, overseeing myriad ICT4D projects that support the IRC’s programs. Prior to his non-profit career, Jake spent more than 15 years developing large-scale enterprise, cloud and mobile software systems in the private high-tech sector. He has also worked as a teacher in secondary education in the U.S. public school system. Jake holds a B.A. in humanities from Hampden-Sydney College and is a master’s candidate in international relations at the Fletcher School for Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Meghann Rhynard-Geil

Advisor, Technology for Development
Mercy Corps
Meghann is an Advisor on the Mercy Corps Technology for Development team. She consults globally with Mercy Corps field teams and partners to integrate digital communication and community-building tools into programming. She also manages WiFi provision programming for crisis-affected populations. Her past experience includes working in monitoring and evaluation, program design, program quality and capacity building.

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