How can New Technologies be Used for Strengthening Social Accountability?

July 30, 2019
WB MC4-300 | Online

This event is co-sponsored by GPSA and the Gov Tech partnership.


Strides in machine learning, cloud computing and data mining & analysis are poised to transform organizations and economies. They also hold great potential for strengthening the efficacy of social accountability and citizen engagement mechanisms. Sadaf and Milos from Cognitiks, a technology and consulting company, will present an overview of the opportunities and relevant technologies it has developed that can be used by citizens, governments and external actors. They will demo solutions that can assist with citizen engagement, managing grievances, ensuring transparency in project implementation and in closing the feedback loop. This session provides opportunity to brainstorm how these new technologies and data science can be used for strengthening social accountability and improving development outcomes.



Sadaf Lakhani, CEO, Cognitiks

Milos Vilotic, Lead Developer and Analyst, Cognitiks


Yasodara Córdova, Civic Tech Fellow, Governance Global Practice, World Bank

Craig Hammer, Program Manager, Development Data Group, World Bank


Kimberly Johns, Senior Public Sector Specialist, Governance Global Practice and Co-Task Team Leader of GovTech Global Partnership, World Bank



Sadaf Lakhani is Co-Founder and CEO of Cognitiks, a cohort company of the PeaceTech Accelerator program. Prior to Cognitiks, she had worked for 18+ years of at the nexus of development, governance and conflict for development agencies –UNDP, World Bank, United States Institute of Peace and the European Commission on programs and policy on fragile and conflict contexts, as well as for private firms. Sadaf has published on social risk and social development. She contributed to the World Development Report 2014 on Risk and Opportunity and World Bank flagship on Inclusion and Shared Prosperity and writes a regular blog for the Institute for Economics and Peace. Sadaf has a BSc and PhD from Kings’ College London in Social and Economic Geography and MSt from Oxford University in International Human Rights Law. She is an instructor for General Assembly and a volunteer advisory board member for Tech4Dev, a Nigerian not-for-profit, and for Coven Labs- a start-up nurturing Africa’s emerging tech talent. Sadaf is an avid DC United fan. Twitter: @sadafki

Milos Vilotic is Lead Developer at Cognitiks. Milos is a talented statistician and programmer who leads development of Cognitiks’ data platform and risk and results tracking tools. He has been transforming and data and applying data science for positive change for 7 years, working for a mining and metals company, one of the world’s largest software and hardware companies and academic institutions. Milos has expertise in range of analytical and visualization packages, with certification in R programing. His work has been published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics and Economic Policy and has presented at the global conference of Economists International. Milos has a MSc in Statistics (Faculty of Economics) and BSc in Computer Science from Belgrade University. He is a runner, swimmer and an enthusiastic participant in social accountability activities in his home country.

Yasodara Córdova is CivicTech Fellow with the World Bank’s Agile Program. She was a Senior Fellow at the Digital Kennedy School, a Belfer Center’s project at Harvard, where she researched Data & Digital Government. An alumni of the Berkman Klein Center, Yasodara is a software developer, activist and Industrial Designer, part of several Civil Society organizations. One of them is "Ciudadania Inteligente." She is a former Director of the "Serenata de Amor Operation," an AI tool that facilitates social control in Brazil. Yasodara worked as a Web Specialist at the World Wide Web Consortium and developed software for citizen participation in many Brazilian ministries, as a U.N. consultant. Twitter: @yaso

Craig Hammer is Program Manager at the World Bank, and Secretary of the World Bank’s Development Data Council. He specializes in evidence-based governance reforms, with particular emphasis on open government and open data initiatives. His work at the World Bank has included strengthening institutions, laws, policies, and technical capacity focused on data-driven decision-making for pro-poor public service delivery in more than 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, South Asia, and Central Europe. He is a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations; a Member of the Society for the Policy Sciences; a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science; and a member of the Council of Editors for the Journal of Law and Politics. He has published books, chapters, and refereed journal articles on topics including governance, data-driven policy reforms, and social development. Twitter: @CraigHammer

Kimberly Johns is a Senior Public Sector Specialist in the Governance Global Practice covering the Middle East and North Africa region.  She is also a Co-Task Team Leader of the World Bank Group’s GovTech Global Partnership. Her work focuses on digital governance, service delivery and citizen engagement. She has 15 years of experience working on topics of institutional and policy reform. Since joining the World Bank Group in 2007, she has led investment projects focusing on e-government and service delivery in Europe and Africa and contributed to a number of reports targeting governance issues including administrative burden, accountability and corruption. Before coming to the World Bank Group, Kimberly worked in the private sector as an ICT programmer and database administrator developing online applications in Chicago, Illinois. Kimberly holds a Ph.D. in Public Administration (specializing in Science, Technology and Information Policy and Research Methods) from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Master of Science in Public Service Management from DePaul University. She has published on topics of digital citizenship and has lectured at the graduate level on topics of policy design and analysis, policy implementation and research methods for public service.


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