In a fast-paced technological and digital age, the ability of civil society organisations (CSOs) to create impact and enhance their reach is affected by their skilfulness in leveraging technology for their programming and activities. A good number of CSOs in Ghana have however have not been able to effectively harness the potential of information and communication technologies (ICT) to boost their activities.
Human Rights Advocacy Centre (HRAC), a not-for-profit, independent, non-partisan, research and advocacy organisation set up to advance and protect human rights in Ghana, is one organisation that was willing to maximise its ICT potential.
HRAC grappled with some tech-related difficulties that not only affected its visibility, but teamwork and cohesion were equally affected. According to Bright Bampoe, the ICT Officer “we did not have a centralised system for our work, we used free software versions which resulted in the loss of precious data and information and on top of that, the cost of procuring ICT tools and software was excessively high, amounting to the tune of GHC10,000”. In a nutshell, HRAC programme management suffered greatly.
HRAC has undergone a great transformation
The story, however, began to take a different turn since Bampoe attended the TechSoup Conference for Non-Profits in April 2017. At the conference, he was introduced to the Techsoup programme and how non-profits can leverage existing and developing technology in boosting performance and maximising social impacts. For me “it was the first time to hear about the Techsoup programme and the software of interest were Microsoft 365 and Azure”, Bampoe recalls.
A year down the line, the way things are done at HRAC has undergone a great transformation. Bampoe registered HRAC on the Techsoup platform and they were able to access some software products including Microsoft Office Standard and Office 365. Through the Techsoup conference, Bampoe gained an understanding of how to utilise the Google Drive app to enhance online collaboration in HRAC.
“We established a common google drive for information sharing uniting both MAC and Window operating systems through a centralised platform that is enhancing work,” he testified.
This, according to Bampoe, has facilitated online collaboration among staff and enhanced their efficiency.
“Working on documents is now easier and systems are now more stable. Documents are now better protected and safe. We operate without fear of losing documents because of cracked versions of software and this saves time because, we use to do multiple installations but now because of the donated products from Techsoup, we only need one installation,” he says with some relief.
Bampoe also admitted that HRAC has registered some positive milestones with regards to project management and delivery. In terms of project milestones, he acknowledges that the acquisition of these technological tools has also enhanced project management.
“There have been great improvements in the delivery and presentation of project milestones and information. Reporting is much easier and faster and team cohesion has improved vastly,” he says.
Cost-wise, HRAC’s spending on ICT tools has reduced considerably as the organisation has been able to save GHC1500 on every software we procured from the Techsoup platform.