e-NGO: EMPOWERING NGOs
The Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), representing the development/social sector, has emerged on the fore front as the most important pillar of inclusive growth and development across societies. The NGOs are increasingly seen as one of the most pro-active and front face of citizen services delivery and community empowerment, especially in rural/countryside.
Globally, there are more than 10 million NGOs on count. In South Asia, there are more than 5 million and in India there are more than 3 million NGOs, minus the religious based organisations. One can imagine the magnitude of community development impact with this vast network reaching out to the unreached, till the last mile.
With the widening scope of NGOs to intervene and undertake social and developmental responsibilities, there emerges the challenge for the NGOs to increase and develop their institutional capacities to deliver. The citizen and community expectations must match the capacity to deliver in time, with efficiency and transparency. This is largely the need for NGOs placed in rural contexts and in underdeveloped regions and communities.
With the coming of the digital age, there is technological imperative to empower the grassroots organisations in the NGOs to scale up and transform to see larger outcomes. There is no second view as to why and how Information Communication Technology (ICT) tools, platforms and devices led by the Web platform can bring requisite transformations in the NGOs in processes, mechanism and delivery capacities in contemporary times.
According to a conservative estimate, more than 60 per cent of NGOs in South Asia are out of the ICT radar!!
The digital significance of NGOs also brings in the importance to reemphasis the need for NGOs to have their own identity on the global digital map. It is relevant to highlights a few aspects of the e-NGO network programme, a joint initiative of PIR and Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF). The network has reached out thousands of NGOs in India, South Asia and Africa. The objective is to develop institutional capacities and skills of grassroots organisations in ICTs including provisioning web identity, content and information services delivery enablement in reaching out to their community constituencies. A feature of the eNGO programme (http://pirengo.org/) is provisioning web platform in local regionalised language at no cost. Memberships are free for grassroots community based organisations to benefit from the host of services offered by the eNGO Network Programme.