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by @SocialWellNet

Donors and NGOs should start thinking digitizing their program data and making it public.

First, it was the private sector which embraced technologies to ensure its customers get access to consistent and uniform products everywhere. Yes, there were problems for private sector too. There wasn’t enough money. Technologies often failed.

On top of it all, staffs were not too happy about it. Looking at banking, insurance, real estate, travel industries today, nobody could even imagine the level of pain and difficulties private industries have endured automating their businesses.

Then governments worldwide started experimenting with digitizing their processes. Although the specialized functions like census and weather forecasting services were long using computers, governments have not really tried their hands to digitize public facing services till the late 1990s.

In the US, Firstgov.gov website went live in September 2000. In the early years, there were immense challenges and failures in digitization efforts by the government agencies. Still, more than ever government services today are online, notably in the developing countries.

Data digitization has remained largely elusive in international development.

But international NGOs and their national counterparts who are undoubtedly the principal actors of international development are largely unaffected by this movement. Many NGOs today have websites. Web has been their preferred tool for advocacy and communications.

If we consider public and private sectors, web is more than just a marketing tool. Understandably, NGOs can’t offer their products and services over web or mobile application, as their target beneficiaries are unable to access such services, at least in the developing countries. What international and national NGOs could do at least is to make their program data available in public.

Read the full article in Medium.


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How open data from NGOs can radically change the way we do international development