avatar for Dr. Jessica Dittmar

Dr. Jessica Dittmar

Catholic Relief Services
Regional Technical Advisor for Agriculture and Livelihoods for Central Africa Region
An agricultural scientist by training, Jessica fell in love with human centered design (HCD) during her postdoctoral studies at Stanford University. She then applied HCD principles to create drip irrigation technologies and business models to boost agricultural production of smallholder farmers with Proximity Designs in Myanmar. Her interest applying the same principles to even more vulnerable populations exposed her to ICT4D, and in collaboration with UNHCR Innovations she designed a mobile communication system for and with Columbian refugees in Northern Ecuador. Later, Jessica married her knowledge from agriculture and ICT4D and joined myAgro, a social enterprise serving smallholder farmers in Mali and Senegal, providing seed, fertilizer and advisory services via layaway payments through mobile phones. At CRS, Jessica is covering 9 different countries in their Central Africa Region and strives for providing innovative advice to programs in the region. She holds a PhD in water-soil-plant interface science of paddy rice systems from ETH Zurich in Switzerland.