September 2007

Technology assistance for NGOs

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Introduction

On 27 August 2007, NASSCOM Foundation (NF-www.nasscomfoundation.org) announced the launch of BiG Tech (www.bigtech.in), a technology assistance programme for non-profits and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).  BiG Tech is a platform that facilitates the distribution of software products donated by corporate partners. It is a NASSCOM Foundation (NF) initiative in partnership with TechSoup (www.techsoup.org), a San Francisco-based non-profit technology capacity building organisation. NF is the principal TechSoup partner in India, and is well-positioned for successful outreach to build ICT capacities at the grassroots given its association with the IT industry and links with civil society in India. NF with its national presence has the ability to build and deliver a world class programme. Today, NGOs play an important role in citizen welfare services. In addition to the increasingly complex social issues, these organisations face shrinking fund sources and a growing demand for transparency, all of which can be addressed by the efficient use of Information Technology (IT) applications. IT can help to ensure better funds accountability, efficient management systems and ultimately greater on-the-ground impact.

Welcome session

The key speakers at the launch session of BiG Tech were Saurabh Srivastava, Chairman, NASSCOM Foundation; Kiran Karnik, President, NASSCOM; Mike Yeaton, Director, TechSoup Global; Neelam Dhawan, Managing Director, Microsoft India; and Rufina Fernandes, CEO, NASSCOM Foundation. Saurabh Srivastava, Chairman NASSCOM Foundation said, “Technology, in our 'flattened world', can help NGOs create regional, national and even global awareness about their activities. This heightened awareness can, in turn, lead to a rise in public attention, interest, and action on behalf of causes. One of the barriers to technology for NGOs is affordability of technology products. BiG Tech, NF's new online donation programme, is perfectly suited to address this issue of access to affordable technology, which is the most critical spoke in the wheel”. Kiran Karnik said, “The benefits of ICT for social development need no elaboration. While the civil society and governments are playing their role, corporates, especially IT companies need to get involved pro-actively by similarly participating in such donation programmes”. “NASSCOM and NF have been encouraging the IT industry to use ICT – their core strength, for societal development through their corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities. The BiG Tech programme, launched today, is ideally suited to link such CSR activities”, Karnik added. Mike Yeaton spoke about TechSoup and NF, “TechSoup is very excited to be partnering with NF for their BiG Tech programme. India is extremely important to this programme for several reasons. First and Foremost, the opportunity to serve NGOs and civil society is immense. Second we want to reach out and encourage India's booming IT industry to deliver new offerings to NGOs worldwide. Finally we can partner together to deliver innovative ways to reach underserved communities at the grassroots level, lessons which can be applied globally”.

BiG Tech is made possible by generous donations from software producers; Microsoft (www.microsoft.com) is the first donor for BiG Tech. Microsoft has a long history of combining innovative technology, partnerships, and programmes to create economic, educational, and social opportunities in local communities worldwide, and to help foster a more secure computing experience for people everywhere. Neelam Dhawan, Managing Director, Microsoft India, said, “Microsoft India is happy to be a part of NF's BiG Tech programme and to be its first corporate donor in India. Microsoft is already partnering with TechSoup globally and the response has been tremendously satisfying. We are sure that with NF at the helm, BiG Tech will be equally successful in India.”

About the alliance

NASSCOM Foundation is the principal TechSoup partner in India, and is very well positioned for successful outreach given its association with the IT industry and links with civil society in India. Like TechSoup, NF is committed to building ICT capacities at the grassroots, has a national presence and the capacity to build and deliver a world class programme.

About NASSCOM Foundation

NASSCOM Foundation is a trust registered under the Indian Trust Act 1882. It was registered in the year 2001. NF's vision is to leverage Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to empower and transform the lives of the under-served. NASSCOM and its members are committed to social development through the application of ICT. NF today has the unique opportunity of leading the IT Industry towards changing the social development landscape of India. NF is the CSR arm of NASSCOM (National Association of Software and Service Companies), the internationally recognised trade body of the Indian IT industry. NF has two cross-cutting functional areas

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