Social Media for Social Change

In May 2018, Malaysia saw a new beginning : a new political coalition party, Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope), took over Malaysia for the first time since independence from the British in 1957. Overnight, the political tsunami in Malaysia became a hallmark of democracy across the country and the region.

As with any new situation, democracy can continue to flourish, and influence the region, or, it can start to take another shape, and slowly decline, and fade away. In recognizing the possibility of Malaysia’s revert to dictatorship and draconian laws, USAID launched Malaysia Reform Initiative (MARI) project to support and promote civil society organisations that are pushing for political and democratic reforms.

TechSoup was called in to design and conduct a pilot training for organisations working across political and democratic reforms. Working with Kitabisa, TechSoup led the design of a series of training modules for the participants, split into basic and intermediate knowledge levels.

Participants applying their newly acquired skills to the presentation on Day 2. Each presentation required participants to demonstrate application of at least two skills learned over the two day workshop.

The training modules were designed to help NGOs and organisations understand their target audiences, design more effective messaging, relevant content including the use of GIFs, memes and videos, as well as understanding basic social media insights in order to design campaigns that resonated with their intended audiences.

To help the NGOs identify and prioritise their needs, TechSoup facilitated a Mapping Your Action Plan session, where NGOs were grouped according to focus areas and sectors.

TechSoup facilitates “Mapping an Action Plan” session

Each group listed their organisational challenges, ranked the priority of each challenge, according to the level of urgency. Finally, they mapped the challenge to the level of technology required.

The combined result is shown below:

Combined results from the “Mapping an Action Plan” session. This combined map shows the various challenges and needs that the NGOs have, against their priorities and level of technology involvement.

 

To increase exposure to industry practitioners, TechSoup also curated an Open Marketplace, where industry-level experts in various fields came to share their knowledge, tips and techniques. This included experts from data analytics, digital content in advocacy, Google suite, grants and fundraising, and photography. TechSoup’s partner Yayasan Salam was also on-site to provide much-needed support and understanding of TechSoup Malaysia’s updated eligibility criteria.

By empowering the NGOs through this training, the end goal is for them to be more confident in using these tools independently, and ultimately, for them to create the social change that Malaysia needs.

YSEALI Transparency Workshop in October 2020 to Catalyse Change

SAN FRANCISCO, October 22, 2019 : TechSoup, a global nonprofit based in San Francisco, has been awarded a US$250,000 grant by the U.S. State Department to develop and execute a project to promote systemic reforms grounded on transparency and anti-corruption in ASEAN and Timor-Leste.

The project will be jointly implemented with the Open Contracting Partnership (OCP), an international NGO that works to transform public procurement through the power of open data and open government so that it delivers better goods, services and works for all people. It will also be supported by the U.S. Embassy of Malaysia and the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Alumni network.

Under a large umbrella theme of anti-corruption, the project will seek to:

● Build capacity among 100 youth leaders across ASEAN and Timor-Leste who are currently involved in, or will work to influence public policies to better serve citizens’ needs through greater openness and transparency;
● Enable open sharing, and increase access to skills, tools, resources and best practices related to promoting transparent and more effective governance;
● Create, expand, strengthen the network of leaders around ASEAN and Timor-Leste to deliver a strong regional coalition that will catalyse and inspire movements to push for more open and inclusive governance.
● Provide seed funding, technical and mentoring support to young leaders to develop and implement innovative reforms in their home countries.

The main event will be a five-day workshop for 100 YSEALI members from ASEAN and Timor-Leste scheduled to be held in October 2020 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Technical matter experts, policy makers, youth and social activists, and influential players across public, private and NGO sectors will work on anti-corruption and accountability, in addition to anti-money laundering and political funding, citizen engagement, investigative journalism, accessibility to alternative media, democracy, and defenders of shrinking civic spaces. They will also share knowledge, resources, tools and best practices in promoting effective, accountable and inclusive governments.

At the end of the workshop, participants will compete for a small seed grant to develop and implement a proposed project related to promoting transparency and accountability in their home countries. TechSoup and OCP will provide post-workshop support in the form of mentoring, consultation and support to their respective networks around the region wherever required.

“TechSoup continues to help nonprofits and civil society organizations around the world leverage technology to create, connect, activate and transform their organizations and communities,” said Lynn Van Housen, TechSoup Executive Vice President. In 2016, TechSoup Europe developed TransparenCEE, an on-going project in Central Eastern Europe, promoting accountable governments through a combination of civil society, civic engagement and digital technology.

“In a time when civic space around the world is shrinking and under constant threat, the role of civil society in ensuring pushback against repression becomes even more crucial. The YSEALI Transparency and Anti-Corruption project reflects two key trends: the first, of the current situation in ASEAN where democracy and transparency need to be activated in tandem; and the second, the role of digital technology in promoting these agendas.”

U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia Kamala Shirin Lakhdhir welcomes these outstanding young leaders to Kuala Lumpur for this regional workshop. “Youth are the key to a more prosperous and equitable future,” Lakhdhir said. “In line with our mission’s goal to promote good governance and the rule of law, we believe the regional workshop can empower these young leaders to promote transparency and combat corruption in the region.”

About TechSoup:
TechSoup provides the transformative technology solutions, the digital platforms, and the in-person experiences that enable people to work together toward a more equitable world. With 60+ partner NGOs around the world, TechSoup manages the only global philanthropy program that brings together more than 100 tech companies to provide technology donations and charitable offers to NGOs everywhere. TechSoup’s data and validation services enable companies, foundations, and governments to connect their philanthropic resources with vetted NGOs around the world. In the past 30 years, TechSoup has reached 1.3 million NGOs and facilitated distribution of technology products and grants valued at more than $12.1 billion. More at www.techsoup.org

About the Open Contracting Partnership
The Open Contracting Partnership is a silo-busting collaboration across governments, businesses, civil society, and technologists to open up and transform government contracting. Open contracting brings open data and open government together to make public contracting fair and effective so that it delivers better goods, services and works to citizens. Over 40 countries and cities worldwide are implementing open contracting reforms and the OCP helps make reforms stick, innovations jump scale, and foster a culture of openness around the policies, teams, tools, data, and results needed to deliver impact. The OCP supports the Open Contracting Data Standard, a free, non-proprietory global best practice schema to publish open data about public procurement from planning to implementation. More at www.open-contracting.org

About YSEALI:
The Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) is the U.S. government’s signature program to strengthen leadership development and networking in Southeast Asia. Through a variety of programs and engagements, including U.S. educational and cultural exchanges, regional exchanges, and seed funding, YSEALI seeks to build the leadership skills of youth in the region, strengthen ties between the United States and Southeast Asia, and catalyse critical change in nurture an the ASEAN community, focusing on emerging topics. YSEALI focuses on critical topics identified by youth in the region: civic engagement, sustainable development, education and economic growth.

 

For more information on this project, please contact Elizabeth Liew at eliew@techsoup.org

Donor Management and Fundraising made easy: Blackbaud launches in Southeast Asia

TechSoup Asia-Pacific is proud to announce its newly signed partnership with Blackbaud, a cloud software company that’s built entirely and exclusively to empower charities across the globe. Through this partnership, NGOs across 6 Southeast Asian countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand – may access exclusive discounts to Blackbaud’s range of solutions for fundraising, project management, communications and donor management.

NGOS may learn more about the Blackbaud product offers through the links below:

Discounts to Blackbaud’s eTapestry now available

Through TechSoup Asia-Pacific, Blackbaud is offering 25% discounts on the annual subscription fees for eTapestry, an all-in-one fundraising solution that can enable NGOs to collect and manage donor information, receive helpful insights & reports and receive funds/donations.

The offer comes in two different packages, Starter and Pro, for either 1 or 3-year packages. These will also include a consultation call with Blackbaud’s own experts, enabling Blackbaud to better understand the recipients’ needs and how they can address those through eTapestry.

Singapore launch event

To officially announce its launch in Southeast Asia, Blackbaud and TechSoup Asia-Pacific co-hosted a free half-day workshop and networking lunch at Work Central, Singapore. The workshop was attended by 61 representatives from 45 unique charities based in Singapore, as well as Greg Simmons & Maria McDonnell from Blackbaud and Jed Adao from the TechSoup Asia-Pacific team.

Effective fundraising and donor management were the key topics covered throughout the workshop – both of which being very vital to the sustainability of any charity or NGO. Throughout the workshop, the attendees were treated to a variety of talks related to fundraising and donor management. These included global trends that shape and affect giving, differing approaches to giving from varying age groups as well as key learnings and insights derived from hands-on experiences in working with different charities across the region.

In addition, the charities in attendance were also treated to a deep-dive on how eTapestry works. Throughout this session, charities were able to experience an interactive demo on eTapestry’s functions and features in order to give them a better understanding on how these can be used to effectively manage donor networks and fundraising campaigns.

More to come in the future

With its launch receiving an amazing reception and the subsequent growing need for fundraising and donor management support from NGOs across the region, one can safely say that this only the start to more initiatives and collaborations ahead. One of the many things that can be expected in the near future is Blackbaud’s release of other key solutions such as Apricot (for project management) and Raiser’s Edge NXT (for fundraising) through TechSoup Asia-Pacific and the potential expansion of the discount offers to other key countries across Asia-Pacific.

To-date, Blackbaud’s exclusive discounts are available through TechSoup Asia-Pacific programs in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as through Australia via our local partner Connecting Up.

TechSoup and Yayasan Salam: Strengthening organizations in anti-human trafficking Malaysia

TechSoup Asia-Pacific and local partner, Yayasan Salam, recently completed a series of digital tech training for non-government organizations (NGOs) working in anti-human trafficking in Malaysia.

Funded by the US Embassy in Malaysia, the project was designed with three key objectives in mind: to promote a cross-country and regional learning platform; to provide and make knowledge, tech resources and tools accessible, and most importantly, to maintain open spaces in shrinking civil society space.

In line with TechSoup’s mission to empower NGOs around the world, the capacity building component of this programme is the essence of the project. However, aside from improving their digital tech capacities, the project also aims to build linkages and encourage collaborations between local, regional NGOs and the industry experts. With a larger and stronger network, increased trust and understanding of the various key players, the ecosystem can grow, become stronger, and hopefully over time, become more united in their fight towards human trafficking.

The curriculum is a combination of module-based topics, one-on-one consultancy with facilitators and post-workshop support, was divided into two 2-day sessions, one in August and another in September.

The modules included data visualisation, online storytelling techniques, and basics of mobile photography, basic graphic design and video making tools using open source software, investigative journalism techniques, and fundraising and donor campaigns. Registration stood at 42 NGOs over the total 4 day session, with a mix of NGOs working on awareness, prevention, advocacy, resettlement and shelter.

The series of workshops continued with follow-up trainings on topics in demand, such as graphic design and simple video making tools, conducted by TechSoup Asia-Pacific’s Program Manager Jed Adao.

Malaysia is a popular destination country for traffickers. Victims come from all walks of life around the Asia-Pacific region – some are women who are sex trafficked, or trapped in domestic helper jobs; male migrant labourers who work in the construction sector in modern slavery conditions, many of whom are being held on debt bondage; or refugees who have been sold, resold and exploited in many ways.

Despite the significant efforts of eliminating human trafficking, Malaysia was downgraded to Tier 2 Watchlist on the 2018 Trafficking in Persons list. Over the year, the government convicted more traffickers, increased criminal enforcement of unauthorised passport retention, granted more freedom of movement, and among the larger moves – the Malaysian government tripled its funding for three NGO-run shelters in the country, and opened its first trafficking-specific court.

The year 2020 holds much significance for Malaysia. Back in 1991, the nation announced Wawasan 2020 : the year that Malaysia would achieve developed nation status level. It has since been pushed to 2050.

In recent years, with the escalation of human trafficking cases that has placed Malaysia in negative international limelight, the government has made significant efforts to improve the situation, increasing enforcement and prosecutions, making amendments to current legislations to protect the migrant communities. By 2020, the government hopes that Malaysia will promoted to Tier 1 on the Trafficking in Persons list.

Calling all NGOs in the Anti-Human Trafficking Sector – Step Up For the NGO Incubator Pitch

Working towards social transformation is never a straight road. The painstaking effort undertaken by all actors at various levels of governance such as the policy-making, enforcement and grassroot levels must work as a cohesive unit to truly tackle the issue of human trafficking in order to effectively eradicate what we now understand to be modern slavery.

This series incorporates classroom style learning of theory and hands-on practice, post-workshop support for participants, ultimately culminating with an NGO Incubator Pitch where the winner will not only receive a tech gadget to help them with their work, but also the much envied opportunity to develop one’s tech capacity through means and platforms provided by TechSoup for a period of one year!

All eligible NGOs will be competing to showcase how they have applied what they have learnt from the workshops – from data visualisation, graphic design skills and video making tools – to help them address gaps and deficits in their campaigns and lobbying efforts.

The NGO Incubator Pitch is an opportunity for NGOs to become more effective whether it is engaging with victims of human trafficking or to create awareness in order to develop better infrastructure for victims of human trafficking.

USEFUL LINKS:
Download the Application Form
Post-Workshop/Incubator Timeline
Recommended Timeline
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Consultation Calls

COMING SOON!
Panel of Judges
Prizes

Continue reading Calling all NGOs in the Anti-Human Trafficking Sector – Step Up For the NGO Incubator Pitch

NGO Connection Day 2018 in Taiwan

Every year, we tour in different cities in Taiwan to explore new ICT innovation and trends with local nonprofits. These events are co-sponsored by the local Microsoft office in Taiwan.

In 2018, we successfully conducted 3 events: “Office 365 Advanced Training for NPOs” in Taipei and Kaohsiung cities,  and “Basic Data Analysis for NPOs” in Taipei. We had total of 155 attendees from 109 NPOs joining together. These included attendees of varying professions such as including IT professionals, administrative staff, and social workers to name a few. This time around, we invited participants to bring their own laptops and divided them into different groups so that they may learn and discuss in a collaborative nature.

For the Office 365 events in Taipei and Kaohsiung, we focused on helping the attendees learn to discover more about Office 365’s various services, such as SharePoint, Power App and Flow. In addition, we also invited NPO partners to share their own experiences in implementing the solution and their future vision of enhancing organizational management and data accumulation.

On the other hand, in the “Basic Data Analysis for NPOs” event, we focused on giving participants a general idea of how they may use Power BI Desktop to do the data cleaning, analysis, and visualization through its charts and graphs. In addition, participants were also taught how Power BI integrates with Office 365 suites for advanced collaboration and data management.

For more details, please visit TechSoup Taiwan’s blog.

TechSoup in the CSR space, Kuala Lumpur

Over the course of my 12-year career in social responsibility, I have been privileged to have experienced life from both sides: the funder (the giver) and non-profit sector (the receiver). I have also witnessed the evolution of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Malaysia, from a hand-out charitable, one-off donation mentality, to inclusive, rights-skewed, educational and action-based projects that empower communities encouraging them to take action.

Ask any non-profit and you’ll hear the same sentiments echoing across: lack of stable funding, lack of human capital and adequate resources, desperately need better organizational effectiveness, better external and internal communication, more social media skills, and so on.

If you turn it around, and ask the corporate sector, you’ll hear “We lack of good projects from NGOs. They have unrealistic impact. Most don’t spend time researching on their funders. No cohesive approach.”

The above were actual comments from the corporate sector who attended the TechSoup Corporate CSR Networking event at Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur on 7 March 2018.

In the CSR Networking event, the consensus was clear: the non-profit sector needs to strengthen their foundational skills. Some challenges require little technology intervention, others require more.

In the coming months, TechSoup’s goal is to develop projects that will address the priorities in the last three quadrants as shown in the image below.

 

Festival of Good Humans

In welcoming spring in Australia, Connecting Up has developed a unique initiative to bring ‘good humans’ together – the Festival of Good Humans.

Anyone and everyone are welcome to come together, either learn, teach, volunteer or sponsor. There are roles to suit everyone.

In partnership with Fifty Acres & Community Sector Banking, The Festival of Good Humans was designed to connect the non-profit sector with a wider community including corporates, creatives, technologists, academics and government. Connecting Up also hopes this event will spark conversations, develop think tanks and storytelling skills amongst non-profits, and help people experience the importance and the impact of the work of the community sector.

In an ecosystem where people’s talents, skills and passions overlap one another, developing and maintaining a diverse network where people can learn from one another is crucial for continued growth.

A series of interesting and innovative workshops have been lined up over the next one week from 28 Sept-4 Oct. For a small fee, participants can learn ways to develop intriguing storytelling techniques, fundamentals of Twitter, media messaging and positioning, and understanding key elements of communication. For more information on the Festival Of Good Humans click here.

 

Twitter storytelling Content strategy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Road to Reforming Human Rights in Malaysia

Growing up in Malaysia, we were used to seeing workers, both local and foreigners being exploited – long hours, low wages, no breaks, cramped living quarters, unsafe working conditions – all common sights when I was growing up.

Fast forward 20 years : in 2016, Malaysia, an almost developed-status country was ranked Tier 2 Watchlist of the Trafficked Persons Report.

Many of the issues still exist, exacerbated by the rapid economic developments of the country that call for an indefinite supply for migrant laborers. As part of its efforts to eliminate human trafficking in the country, the Malaysian government has been working with various civil society groups, engaging in stakeholder consultations to develop reforms, and improve its anti-trafficking laws and enforcement systems.

At the end of July, Project Liber8 a human trafficking awareness non-profit organized Advoc8 Hack, the country’s first ever national hackathon that aimed to develop technology solutions to help raise awareness on human trafficking issues in Malaysia.

IMG20170728212321

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was invited to be on the panel of mentors and preliminary judges for the hackathon. Amidst the sea of coders and developers, UI/UX designers, and people who lived and breathed computer language, I was among the few who brought nonprofit experience to the participants.

Having worked on both a personal and professional capacity with migrants, refugees and trafficked persons, and nonprofits in the sector, I shared practical knowledge and lessons, my experiences with these communities and the likelihood of adoption based on my interactions with them.

Some teams had great ideas, but rated lower on the practical side. I probed them on impact measurement,  parameters of their features, effectiveness based on hypothetical scenarios, potential challenges, helped them organize their thought process and map their ideas so they could see which areas needed more refining.

Mentoring a team – mapping their thought processes, identifying challenges and ‘blind spots’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The same team (above) is shortlisted in the top 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another group I mentored

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a first in many ways – first time for TechSoup Asia-Pacific participating in a rights-related event in the region, first for us in presenting our work to the tech community on a national scale, and first for me as a mentor in a tech event.

TechSoup Asia-Pacific has also been invited to be part of the advisory board to help develop the winning team’s idea. Supported by the Malaysian Ministry of Home Affairs, it is hope that the solution derived from the hackathon will contribute towards the goal of elimination of human trafficking in the country.

Building Storytellers in Taiwan

As cyber space becoming increasingly crowded with a myriad of content where everyone is fighting for space and attention, nonprofits have to learn how to capture the essence of their impact in the most visually appealing way.

Over July and August, Frontier Foundation in Taiwan organized another successful series of storytelling workshops for TechSoup Taiwan members. A total of 137 participants from more than 100 organizations across northern Taiwan attended three sessions that showed them basic video making tools.

The first two sessions focused on basic shooting techniques and how to make videos via Power Director 14. The last workshop taught the participants to make short films on their mobile phones using Quik.

For some participants, it was their first time learning video making apps on their mobile phones, an extremely convenient way for most nonprofits who often do not have the resources for a dedicated social media staff.

Participants were also encouraged to send their stories to TechSoup’s Storymakers campaign, an annual campaign designed to encourage nonprofits to submit their short digital stories to let the world see. In addition to submitting their videos to Storymakers, Frontier Foundation has also encouraged nonprofits to deliver their stories to PeoPo, the citizen journalism arm of Taiwan Public Television Service. Winning videos are broadcasted on national television, giving them free access to paid media, which they otherwise would not have.

For more information and photos on the workshop, click on the link here.