Blockchain for Development: Moving from Hype to Reality

NetHope's ICT4D Webinar Series

View the webinar recording below that includes an extensive Q&A session. After viewing the webinar recording, please fill out our Webinar Evaluation Form.

Master List: Blockchain for Social Good

*A team at Stanford University has a research initiative focused on crowdsourcing a comprehensive catalogue of blockchain for social good initiatives. The working catalogue is publicly available as an open google doc. There are over 225 initiatives at the moment but they are looking to crowdsource anything not yet captured. At the same time, they are conducting deep dive interviews with many of the initiatives on this list, in an effort to identify which ones show the most promise for social impact. For more information contact, Nikki Brand.

Resources featured in this webinar:

The media is paying increased attention to the potential of blockchain and its global impact. However, blockchain-based solutions are not new, and already being used in the international development sector. Their application supports a more secure digital infrastructure, making aid disbursement more transparent, faster, and cheaper, and assists financial inclusion by allowing broader reach to the un-banked.

This webinar, part of an ongoing series around ICT4D, will discuss how blockchain technology is currently used, its barriers to wider adoption, and different ways that organizations are using blockchain technology to support their humanitarian aid and development programs.

Q&A and Panel Discussion:

  • How to identify when blockchain technology is beneficial and meets the actual needs of specific countries and aid recipients?
  • What are the unique hurdles to blockchain implementation for NGOs and UN agencies and their different financial incentives or objectives to other sectors?
  • What is the truth behind concerns about data security and potential financial losses? And how can those be addressed?
  • How can the development sector improve awareness and trust in blockchain solutions?
  • How can the development and humanitarian aid community better collaborate around blockchain research, innovation and implementation?


Nandini Harihareswara, Regional Technical Specialist, Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P), United Nations Capital Development Fund


Ahmed Dermish, Ecosystem Specialist, Digital Finance, Global Technical Specialist, Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P), United Nations Capital Development Fund

Jordan Weinstock, Senior Vice President, Strategic Impact Advisors

Helen James, Head of Digital and Member Communications, Start Network

Speaker Bios:

Nandini Harihareswara, Regional Technical Specialist, Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P), United Nations Capital Development Fund

Nandini is a Digital Finance Technical Specialist, responsible for the implementation of MM4P’s country strategy in Zambia, leading a team focused on increasing financial inclusion through digital finance. She is also assisting MM4P’s efforts in Malawi. She was a founding member of the Digital Development Division in 2011 and served as the Strategy & Operations Chief, managing budget, staffing and operations. She also helped to found the Better than Cash Alliance, one of USAID’s flagship partnerships. Concurrently, as a Senior Advisor to the Digital Financial Services team, she worked with more than 30 USAID Country Missions and private corporations to advance access to finance and financial inclusion. She launched the USAID Portfolio Acceleration initiative, an effort to advance USAID’s development objectives in agriculture, humanitarian assistance and power using Digital Financial Services. She also leads a research effort to better understand what role public actors should play in building critical digital infrastructure, such as payment systems, broadband connectivity and data systems.

Ahmed Dermish, Ecosystem Specialist, Digital Finance, Global Technical Specialist, Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P), United Nations Capital Development Fund

Ahmed is focused on enabling policy and payment system development for digital financial services across the UNCDF network. Prior to joining MM4P in 2016, he was the Director of Financial Inclusion Policy and Ecosystem Development at Bankable Frontier Associates (BFA). Prior to BFA, Ahmed was a bank supervisor and policy advisor at the Financial Conduct Authority (formally the Financial Services Authority (FSA)) in the UK. He has a masters degree in Development Economics from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and is currently based in Brussels.

Jordan Weinstock, Senior Vice President, Strategic Impact Advisors

Jordan brings more than 30 years of experience in telecommunications to SIA, with a focus on bringing improved technologies and services to emerging markets and underserved populations. He specializes in mobile banking applications and business models and has led mobile banking projects in West Africa, Indonesia, Haiti, and Afghanistan. Prior to SIA, he held senior positions at Booz Allen Hamilton and BearingPoint. Over the course of his career, he has supported a wide range of industry, nonprofit, and government clients providing business strategy, market analysis, regulatory reviews, new product introduction options, pricing strategies, marketing programs, feasibility studies, and technology assessments. Jordan has a Master of Business Administration from The George Washington University and a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of Virginia.

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