NGOs don’t invest in ICT nor e-learning

A few days ago I wrote about a degree project I tutorized.

Well, yesterday I was at the presentation of another project I also tutorize (there’s just two of them, I promise) entitled “Desing of an Internet Portal about cooperation and solidarity for NGOs, citizenship and other organizations”, by Francesc Xavier Soler Casanovas.

The work is quite right but the external evaluator pointed that the introduction talked about portals offering services for the third sector but missed information about NGO websites.

I pointed that this information appears in the study of the Fundaci Un Sl Mn entitled CONECTADAS? Las ONG espaolas en la red [Connected? Spanish NGOs in the Net] and that the results are quite sad: everyone has a site but maintenance is not a must, most of them are poorly designed and had no in mind any updating at all, etc.

And then I thought I had to blog the idea of NGOs and investment: in my own experience, and always thinking about small and medium organizations, NGOs don’t usually invest but only focus on short term expeditures – this is also true, or true in part, even for some of the largest NGOs or some of their departments.

Short term benefits, in terms of social benefits, makes them think that investing in infrastructure or capacitation for staff and volunteers is something not of their concern. And this is especially true for those working in the field of humanitarian aid, but cooperation for development organizations do similarly.

And it is weird to see how some NGOs invest in their counterparts to supply them with computers, connectivity, capacity building and so and they have their own headquarters at the poorest level. Well, I don’t think it is selfish nor less transparent to build your own structure the appropriate way.

In my opinion an NGO must be treated – managed – as some other enterprise and must maximize their profit. Of course, it is not an economic profit the way we use to think of it: it is the profit of maximizing your goals on your target (the poor, the underdeveloped, etc.), your own staff and the ones that gave you part of their savings to save some souls abroad. These are your stakeholders and they deserve the optimization of your resources.

I guess our own digital divide (are NGO connected? is NGO staff able to work networked and in the Net? etc.) is reachable only by bridging our managing divide: be more efficient home.

Can ICT bridge this managing divide? ;)


If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2004) “NGOs don’t invest in ICT nor e-learning” In ICTlogy, #4, January 2004. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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2 Comments to “NGOs don’t invest in ICT nor e-learning” »

  1. Hi,

    Take a look at What is your frank opinion?

    The idea that NGO should treat itself as an Entreprise is similar as ours.

    I think many are taking the same direction.

  2. Azman, it really looks great. I personally think that inclusion of any kind must start with a socieconomical inclusion, which is what you do :)

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