There is an ongoing conversation between the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI), Microsoft and Techsoup to find avenues for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), to be more efficient and impactful through digital transformation.
At a technology conference for nonprofits held in Accra today, April 20, 2017 discussions began on how nonprofits could tap into digital transformation to improve their activities while enabling them to use fewer resources to achieve more.
“Everything we do has been affected by technology and we want to ensure that nonprofits are not left behind,” Nana Afadzinu, the Executive Director of WACSI noted.
Alex Nyingi, the Microsoft Philanthropy Manager for sub-Saharan Africa in his opening remarks said, “we are in the fourth industrial revolution and what is physical and digital is getting blurry. Technology has become a part and parcel of our lives”
He adds that the decision on the type of information Communication Technology (ICT), used in organizations which rested on IT managers is gradually moving to the employees because they are the people who use them.
“The aim of Microsoft is to empower any organization or individual on the planet to achieve more, “
CSOs were charged to use technology for their meetings and other activities to cut down cost while working efficiently.
“Although Techsoup has tailored less expensive products for nonprofits in Africa, 90 per cent of beneficiaries are international nonprofits because for them technology is very important,” said Anne Musyaki, Senior Programme Manager of TechSoup Africa.
She however, noted that obtaining funding has become difficult for nonprofits everywhere in the world and it will be prudent for nonprofits in Ghana to have a crowd funding website.
“We would be working with WACSI to design such a platform for nonprofits,” she said of a crowd funding website.
Nana Afadzinu also speaking on the crowd funding website remarked that “WACSI’s role will be to facilitate CSOs to build their own platforms for fundraising to support their activities”
Nyingi took participants through digital platforms developed by Microsoft to enhance efficiency.
He introduced them to cloud technology which enables nonprofits to work and store their data. “There is no need for updating these platforms thereby reducing costs for nonprofits, he said, adding that the Microsoft cloud technology could help these institutions innovate from the office to the field.
Additionally, with the introduction to Microsoft Azure, nonprofits can have up- to-date access to data both on the field and in the office, data remains intact even when device is missing and the business class email improves communication and saves time.
Adding to the above, nonprofits are able to save more because there are no hosting charges and data storage is free for some of the platforms.
This technology conference for nonprofits came from a survey conducted by WACSI where findings showed that 65 per cent of CSOs do not have the requisite technology to implement activities effectively and 97 per cent of these organizations were interested in finding alternative solutions in technologies to improve delivery.
The event is a first step of the many activities that WACSI will conduct to ensure that CSOs are well equipped to tap into digital transformation to improve their work.
By Pamela Ofori-Boateng
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