West African civil society organisations (CSOs) are increasingly putting efforts into leveraging on ICTs to mobilise support, coordinate response mechanisms and raise awareness on the COVID-19 pandemic. However, an overwhelming majority are not appropriately equipped with communication strategies and technologies to exert a significant impact on society. This impedes these actors from connecting and partnering with other relevant stakeholders that would, in turn, enhance the impact of their work in the face of COVID-19.
Yet, some CSOs in the region are seeking innovative ways to continue to do their work seamlessly in this era of a natural restriction imposed by COVID-19. The African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) is one of several organisations that benefited from the TechSoup technology donation programme for CSOs in West Africa, which allowed the organisation to leverage on technology to increase the impact of their work.
According to Gertrude Bibi Annoh-Quarshie, Director of Operations at AWDF, the organisation had already launched virtual meetings, but the pandemic compelled the organisation to move to the next level in terms of technology and triggered the organisation to reach out to TechSoup.
TechSoup products in three words: “easy use, secure and accessible”
Interviewed for 15 Mins in WACSI, Gertrude explained that AWDF sought to use technology to ensure access to the database for all staff members, and to maintain the security of the organisation’s data. This is what encouraged her organisation to adopt zoom and box to guarantee the continuity of their work during the pandemic.
“We are using Zoom to communicate internally within the team as well as externally with all our partners. We are also able to share our database using Box, so that people can have access to the information at the same time. It ensures that there is the regular update of information, transparency and accountability, that the workflows smoothly and that there is a continuity of our processes”, she asserted.
Gertrude further explained that the easy use, adaptable and secured nature of TechSoup products allowed AWDF to smoothly transition to a working model centred around technology. “Because sometimes, the complexity of the use of technology doesn’t help in terms of how quickly people adapt to the change. Therefore, we adapted something that is simple and easy to use to start with”, she explained.
Another reason that motivated AWDF to seek support from TechSoup is the affordability of these technological products. “We also looked at affordability, in terms of the cost. That is why I really want to appreciate all the tech developers who have made this opportunity available to civil society. It’s one way of supporting the vision of those of us who are trying to achieve objectives in terms of a just and equitable world”, she added.
Finally, what Gertrude appreciated about TechSoup is the easy process to acquire technological products.
“When we wanted to purchase Box, TechSoup was available. I don’t think it took even 48 hours to acquire the software. The fact that TechSoup was also there, ready to support us to get to the next level, was also critical in supporting the transition”, she explained.
Do you think technology is a useful and impactful tool West African CSOs should leverage on? Are you interested in benefiting from TechSoup products? If yes, please register on our platform at https://westafrica.techsoup.global/. Sign-up for the technology donation programme and receive up to 90-95% discount off technology products and services available in our online catalogue! For any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Authored by: Ysé Auque-Pallez