Idea Shop: Connecting Coders and NGOs for Social Good

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When it comes to using information technology to solve problems of communities, Non-governmental Government Orgnizations (NGOs) need to play a leading role.

So why is it that NGO’s with great networks, human resources and know how, fail to create a larger impact in societies?

Limited usage of information technology is one reason.

NGO’s are not in a great position to recruit the talent that is expensive. And even if they have, NGO’s often lack a vision and thought leadership to guide it.

The “coding your way to opportunity” grant by World Bank and Microsoft, administered by Sarvodaya-Fusion, is an effort to bridge the gap between coders and NGO’s.

Immediately after announcing the grant, we, at Fusion, understood that NGO’s were having a hard time figuring “what kind of an idea would fit the criteria of a good proposal?”

Coders were interested as the grant was asking for using tech to solve social problems, but they were clueless as to how they could collaborate with a NGO. (One of the criteria for the grant is, that the project should be led by an NGO).

Teams focusing on ideas and developing a solution/Sardovaya Fusion

Taking responses from NGO’s and coders, we held a “live chat”, connecting experts from World Bank, Micorosoft and software developers with applicants.

Going further to bridge the gap, we have designed an “IDEA SHOP”, to guide coders and NGO’s to understand “ what exactly would make a good proposal.”

It started with an ice breaker session where participants had to know each other in the workshop beyond their job titles. Aim of that session was to identify a common ground for people coming from “2 different worlds”. That was how coders and NGO’s saw themselves at the beginning! Then we explained about the proposal going through each of the requirement. Most of the doubts and issues were solved by that session. Then we started the most creative and impactful session. We got the participants to get in to two groups, each with a balanced representation of coders and NGO’s Each group had to identify a need that the NGO partners has, brainstorm about it, develop a solution and present it. 

Group leaders present their ideas/Sardovaya Fusion

The first idea was to develop a tech solution to help deaf and disadvantaged communities. The second idea was to develop a portal to help small and medium entrepreneurs to share information about their products, so that they can find new buyers. It was wonderful to see that the 2 ideas presented, were picked by 2 NGO’s to lead and send proposals to the grant before June 30th, which is the extended deadline.

Originally appeared on Sarvodaya-Fusion

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