Thousands of Non Government Organisations (NGOs) across Africa can now benefit from the expansion of the NGOConnect Africa website and platform. The enhanced site features a new social networking tool that will help all users access technology more efficiently, ultimately allowing them to collaborate and find better solutions to common challenges.
In a press release, NGO Connect Africa, a registered Section 21 non-profit organisation, has kicked off the updated version of its dynamic website and platform. Besides the social networking interface there are many new features designed to increase the knowledge, reach, and impact of non-profit organisations in Africa. The site is a social workspace that brings together technology resources, knowledge-sharing and community-building for non-profit entities and the businesses and organisations that support them.
Incorporating feedback on the first release, this update to the NGOConnect Africa platform makes it easier to access resources and to collaborate. NGOs will be able to create personal and organisational profiles. A new microsite functionality allows for free mini websites for those who don’t have them, and increased visibility and marketing opportunities for those that do. Additionally, members can blog, make friends, share information and attract fresh resources to their projects. They will also be able to get access to technology resources and find networking opportunities with other organisations working on similar projects.
“The challenges facing Africa are complex. NGOs engage on a daily basis to address these challenges, but they typically lack the resources and knowledge to access the technologies that can make them more effective, efficient and sustainable in serving those at the margins of modern life,” said Ntutule Tshenye, the citizenship lead at Microsoft West East and Central Africa, founding sponsors of the project.
“Just as technology has improved efficiency and quality in the business world, NGOs can now experience these same benefits, allowing them to use their limited resources for higher value-add activities in achieving their goals,” continued Tshenye.
Kimber Dodge, the Executive Director of NGOConnect Africa, believes that society has the responsibility to utilize technology to bring necessary resources together and remove barriers. “Sustainable solutions can occur only when all the sectors of society are involved and working together. Technology and NGOConnect Africa’s platform and programmes can facilitate that. And, because of its focus on bi-directional communication and input, it also encourages and enables Africans to share and develop African solutions.”
NGOConnect Africa is also working with the private and public sectors to help them engage more effectively with non-profit organisations. “We are delivering resources and training to technology companies, government, and academia to help them engage more sustainably and effectively with civil society. They are all part of the NGOConnect Africa community,” said Dodge. “Many partners wish to engage with NGOs, but don’t know how. The NGOConnect Africa team is here to help them learn and be successful,” she added.
As an example, NGO’s across South Africa will be introduced to NGOConnect Africa through a collaboration between NGOConnect Africa and Microsoft training provider, CTU Training. Together NGOConnect Africa, CTU will be conducting a series of workshops at various CTU campuses in South Africa. The workshops will be piloted at CTU’s Stellenbosch Campus in October 2009, and then delivered at other branches of the institute across the country.
The new site already has the support of Microsoft’s Chairman of Africa, Dr. Cheick Diarra; South Africa’s Department of Social Development; computer manufacturer Mustek; and several Technology Service Providers including CTU Training, one of South Africa’s largest training organisations.
“NGOConnect Africa offers a vibrant and easy-to-use space for NGO’s to communicate with one another and the world at large. Driven by a highly passionate and committed team of experts, NGOConnect Africa offers highly sought-after and practical tools to our sector,” said Friederike Bubenzer, Project Leader, from the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation.
Interested parties can visit NGOConnect Africa to get more information and register.