As CABI’s Global Director, Digital Development, I am responsible for the strategic direction and technical oversight of this area of expertise. My work focuses on digital development to support the Sustainable Development Goals, and I lead CABI’s work on harnessing the power of data, information, and ICTs for international development.
Projects within Digital Development fall into the “pillars” of: Information and Evidence (e.g. knowledge portals like the Plantwise Knowledge Bank or the Invasive Species Compendium, mobile phone services, apps and systematic reviews), Data Driven Development (e.g. PRISE pest forecasting system, GODAN secretariat), and Digital Tools (e.g. digital data collection to support project work).
I joined CABI in 2011 as a Project Development Officer, and managed the Plantwise Knowledge Bank from 2012 – 2016. Prior to joining CABI, I had worked for WorldFish Center (CGIAR) and Oxfam GB, working in a range of areas including rural livelihoods, nutrition, value chains and markets, geographic information systems, natural resource governance and gender. My geographic focus has been mostly in Latin America and Africa, having worked in Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Peru, Egypt, Kenya, Ghana, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Zambia, and Pakistan.
I have a strong interest in user-centred design, systems approaches, and interdisciplinary methods which bring together natural and social science.
It is projected that food demand will more than double by 2050 due to climate changes. Food security in Pakistan is particularly reliant on its ability to produce wheat and rice, however, an invasive species of weed, the “Famine Weed” (Parthenium hysterophorus), has been identified as a critical threat to agriculture and human prosperity in Pakistan.
Pests can decimate crops and are estimated to cause around a 40% loss. These insects, mites and plant pathogens can impact on food security and impede supply chains and international trade. A Pest Risk Information SErvice (PRISE) aims to solve this problem by using data to help farmers manage pests in up to five countries in sub-Saharan Africa.