In this technologically advanced era, every organisation needs effective information technology (IT) tools to efficiently accelerate its operations. Organisations that work to collect and document information have a dire need for IT tools.
Data collection and documentation form an integral aspect of the work done by the Africa office of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) in promoting respect for human rights in Africa. However, the staff of CHRI’s Africa office based in Accra faced issues with saving and retrieving data from their internal server, caused by a malfunctioning internet network.
“At one time we were unable to access saved documents from our in-house server. We work with a lot of data, which means that having access to stored data is very essential to our work. We knew then that we had to do something to rectify this worsening situation”, Gideon Neequaye, Project Officer of CHRI confessed.
The IT challenges were affecting their overall organisational productivity. This urged CHRI to apply for the technology project initiated by WACSI in July 2017, which was supported by OSIWA. They knew that their participation in the project would equip them to address the technology capacity challenges experienced by CHRI’s staff.
After their participation in the technology project from July 2017 to April 2018, the organisation’s data collection and documentation processes have seen a significant improvement.
“There is a vast improvement in the way we share data in the office. We are now able to do more work and faster,” Neequaye ecstatically shared.
“Before the project we had issues with saving and retrieving data from our server, our usage of unlicensed software made work difficult because we were unable to upgrade it”, he added.
“Today we are able to upgrade our software which was made available on the Techsoup platform we benefitted from through the technology project,” he explained. He further expatiated how this support has empowered his team to have more autonomy in their work.
“CHRI staff are now able to have direct access to their saved files as opposed to the previous experience where I had to support each staff member to retrieve data manually”, he said.
As part of the project, beneficiaries benefitted from a $3000 seed funding, a unique aspect of the project which permitted them to use these funds to strengthen information management systems, software and hardware capacities of participating organisations to improve data security, storage, document sharing systems and evidence-based advocacy.
CHRI used its funds to purchase licensed Microsoft Office products from Techsoup West Africa, a non-governmental organisation dedicated to providing donated technology products to nonprofit organisations.
“Access to the Techsoup platform to me was the highlight of the entire project. The ability to have access to a wide range of software at discounted prices is helping us improve on the way we work”, Neequaye said.
NOTE: Opinion expressed in this article are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the West Africa Civil Society Institute.