Techfugees Adelaide – In Aid of Refugees

Ref.u.gee: a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.

Tech.fu.gees: Empowering the displaced with technology

In 2016, UNHCR revealed approximately 22.5 million refugees worldwide: the immediate assistance has now expanded beyond finding them a place to resettle.

How do communities help the refugees learn English as a third or fourth language, integrate into society, or hone existing skills and find suitable jobs? How do they find access to legal services, government forms and connect with the communities?

These questions and many more that focused on how to improve the lives of refugees, brought people together in an inaugural hackathon #techfugeesadl organized by Techfugees Australia, and funded by Connecting Up.

The Adelaide Techfugees hackathon saw amazing teams of like-minded hackers, and humanitarians co-designing innovative tech solutions to problems such as access to services, qualified employment opportunities, and making sense of government forms.

Mentors from Connecting Up talked to teams developing solutions that included chatbots, mobile apps, real-time anonymised data, and simple social messaging to raise awareness of the untapped potential of refugees in our community.

Winners of the various rounds receive grants from tech giants such as Microsoft, and many teams go on to become tech start-ups in their own right, developing and implementing their solutions “in the wild”.

For more news from the event, visit Techfugees Australia on Facebook, or Twitter, or look for #techfugeesadl. For information on how to get involved in the next Techfugees Hackathon in your area, visit techfugees.com.

Ageing in a Technological Era

Less than 30 years ago, ageing populations were perceived to be a burden to families and society – their contributions to community were heavily outweighed by the need to look after them.

In recent years, the emergence of new technology solutions, designed and built specifically to address ageing on different levels, be it dementia, Alzheimer’s or a physically restrictive condition, has changed the way societies adapt and manage ageing populations.

Gerontechnology, a new and growing field, works to improve quality of life among the elderly by developing technological solutions to issues they experience in their daily lives.

The Hong Kong government, recognising its growing ageing population, co-hosted the first Gerontech and Innovation Expo Summit (GIES) with the Hong Kong Council of Social Service (HKCSS)

Held from 16-18 June 2017, the objective of GIES is to promote community awareness and knowledge on the application of gerontechnology, and ways to use these solutions to help the elderly.

More than 100 local and international exhibitors showcased their inventions and products at the Expo. Highlights included robotic hand device for stroke patients; automated bathing equipment and Nao, a  programmable humanoid companion robot that could perform simple exercises and read Chinese poems.

Concurrently, the Summit gathered stakeholders from different parts of the world and disciplines to exchange views and share experience in order to shed light on the strategy for further promoting development of gerontechnology in Hong Kong.

More than 20 sessions of workshops and briefings were held, with focuses on specific streams of products or services such as application of robots, elderly food, elderly product design, smart city development, smartphone applications for the elderly, walking aids and digital healthcare.

The event was designed for all sectors of the community and the general public, especially stakeholders in elderly care and the services sector, elderly persons and their family members and caregivers. It has received an overwhelming response from the public, with more than 43,000 people participating in the event.

For more information, please check out the website and Facebook page of GIES.

NGO Connection Day 2017 in Taiwan

Every year, we tour different cities around Taiwan to explore new ICT innovation and trends with the nonprofit communities.

In 2017, we hosted three events, including CEO Day, in Taipei and Kaohsiung. Topics covered included “NGO Case Studies: Appliances of Azure and Office 365”, “NGO Website Design in Mobile Age” and group discussions among CEOs.

The events, co-sponsored by the local Microsoft office, saw 282 attendees, representing 196 local nonprofits.

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

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More Photos of 2017 NPO Day.

2017ceodayComplete report of CEO Day facilitation process.

Reintroducing TechSoup Thailand

Nonprofits around the globe face similar challenges. However, with changes in political landscapes, shifts in economic powers and evolving market trends, these challenges often become very geographically contained.

In early May 2017, TechSoup Thailand organized a networking and learning event to understand the current challenges that Thai nonprofits are facing.

As a technology nonprofit, TechSoup kick-started the event with tech-centric ice-breaking activities : creating new hashtags for the event, taking creative selfies that display TechSoup’s logo, and ‘checking in’ to Ma:Dee’s (the co-working space where the event was held) social media page.

Sevenseas_Media ice break
Ice breaker: A participant creates inspiring hashtags for the event – #bepartofchange # ngonetworkingbkk #socialentrepreneursunite
Lak_ice break
Ice breaker: The group poses with the TechSoup logo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The event drew participants from nonprofits across various sectors from different parts of Thailand, some came from as far as Chiang Rai to learn about how to leverage on TechSoup to better serve their communities.

A presentation line up included long-established Thai nonprofits Kenan Institute Asia and Change Fusion, who shared case studies, best practices, relevant content and practical tools designed specifically for the nonprofit sector.

NEEDed, a small and growing Thai-based nonprofit was also part of the line up where they shared their capacity development projects, focusing on their experience in helping nonprofits adopt technology.

Fhi360’s Regional IT Manager, Somphop Krittayaworagul, was invited to talk about digital security and the impacts of software piracy, a grave concern for the organization and nonprofit community in recent years.

The event ended with an engaging 45 minute breakout session where participants were asked to discuss and identify (collectively) their top five challenges and needs.

i) Technology
ii) Human Resource
iii) Funding
iv) Communication
v) Government and Stakeholder relations

The last part of the breakout required participants to state how TechSoup could help them. Participants shared their struggles with technology – software, hardware, cyber security, lack of I.T skills, adaptation and implementation, and recognizing the need to use more online portals for fundraising and learning.

Clearly, being a global technology network with 66 partner NGOs with presence in 236 countries, TechSoup has partners in the various capacities and are able to bridge the gaps the sector faces.

A key outcome from the event is for TechSoup Asia-Pacific to work with the various stakeholders to design capacity-building projects for the Thai nonprofit sector.

The Master of Disaster: Teaching Disaster Risk Reduction Through Play

Straddling the typhoon belt and the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Philippines ranks among the top five most disaster-prone countries in the world. On average, the country experiences 14 disasters annually, affecting millions of people every year.

To create a culture of proactive disaster preparedness and response among the youth, Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) is developing the Master of Disaster (MOD) – an inclusive, fun-packed, and informative board game targeted at youth. The game aims to teach children of different abilities and varying educational backgrounds how to prepare and actively respond to the most common disasters in the Philippine.

Currently in its final stages of development, the project will be complemented by a digital disaster education platform that houses modules and child-friendly content that adults can share with children.

Children playing Master of Disaster boardgame

Vietnet-ICT : Going Beyond Face-To-Face Training

In partnership with Microsoft Vietnam, Vietnet-ICT, one of our partner NGOs in Vietnam, conducted several Tech4Good events over 2016. More than 150 organizations representing 117 nonprofit organizations attended the workshops held over a 3-month period in Vietnam.

In addition to the face-to-face training sessions, Vietnet-ICT also co-developed a website providing technical support and knowledge for Vietnamese nonprofits. Articles and video tutorials on technology and Microsoft products are available for nonprofits, with the goal of helping them gain access to discounted and donated software.

Since its inception in 2013, Vietnet-ICT has reached out to more than 200 organizations and helped 111 organizations receive donated and discounted software and technology.

Click here for more information on Microsoft’s Tech4Good event.

Digital Storytelling : Making or Breaking

A powerful digital campaign can make or break impact on its audience.

Recognizing the importance of good storytelling skills, our Taiwan Partner NGO, Frontier Foundation Taiwan, organised a series of storytelling workshops facilitated by media practitioners Wang Jian-Xiong, Program Director of PeoPo of Public Television and Huang, Zi-Ming, Director of Photography of Chinatimes.

The training focused on basic but often overlooked skills – digital photography and videography, how to develop a storyline and align it to an organization’s advocacy campaign, ways to increase social media fan base, and how storytelling can be used to create emotional appeal, either leading to an action or donation.

A total of 104 participants representing 89 local nonprofits attended the workshop that was co-funded by Microsoft Taiwan and Taiwan Network Information Center.

These digital skills were put to the test leading up to International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December 2016. Nine NGOs participated in a week-long campaign, developing either a photo or video campaign, creating awareness on disabled issues, cross-posting and promoting their campaigns across all 9 NGOs. Many NGOs used a donated video editing software Power Director of Cyberlink to complete their videos. The campaign garnered an audience reach of 79,566.

Below are the two videos created by the participants of the workshop:

http://disable.yam.org.tw/node/4599

http://disable.yam.org.tw/node/4600

To learn more about Frontier Foundation’s work, visit their website.

Facebook Training for Nonprofits in Tokyo

In collaboration with Facebook Japan, Japan NPO Center and TechSoup Japan co-organized a social media training for Japanese nonprofits titled “Nonprofits & Facebook”. The training received 49 attendees from 46 nonprofits in Tokyo.

Facebook Japan volunteer lecturers shared their insights on a few key current issues relevant to nonprofits:
i) The impacts of Facebook on nonprofits
ii) Ways for nonprofits to leverage on Facebook
iii) Ways to develop marketing and events on Facebook

During the Q&A time, after the presentations, there were lively interactions between FB lecturers and the participants.

Civil Sector National Conference 2016

In November 2016, our Japan partner NGO, Japan NPO Center (JNPOC), held a biannual conference titled “Civic Sector National Conference” where leaders and future leaders from various nonprofit sectors, academicians as well as representatives of business and government sectors, came together to discuss current and future issues in the Japanese civil sector.

Themed “Power of the Private Sector in Question: Considering Future Society from Local and International Perspective” the conference received over 250 participants from various fields and sectors across the country and region.

Chris Worman, Senior Director, Alliances and Community Engagement of TechSoup Global Network, made a keynote speech in a breakout session “Possibility of new ways of participation and problem solving using technology”.

In his presentation “Assuming Digital: The Internet, Civil Society, Millennials, Megatrends and What to do about it”, Chris discussed the importance of technology in civil society, and how the involvement and understanding of the millennial generation is so important, in what is known as a a convergence of ‘Megatrends’.

For more information on the Civic Sector National conference, click here.

How Digital Literacy Affects Nonprofits

“Anyone here uses Skype for international calls?”
Sheepish grins around the room, then silence.
“I know little bit lah, but not so pandai (clever in Bahasa Malaysia). Can teach Aunty?”

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Enthusiastic learners from the nonprofit community in Johor

This was the typical response we received during our training for nonprofits: they’ve heard, they’ve seen, but never explored.

Be it Skype, Slack, MailChimp, Outlook, Google Drive, or WordPress, they’ve definitely heard of one or more of these tools, but not ventured very far.

Skype icon  Slack CMYK MailChimp-logo  app_launcher_select_calendar  google drive    wordpress

At the TechSoup Asia-Pacific roadshows in Malaysia, I observed that each group (geographically divided) had varied technology skill sets and gaps.

In Johor, the southern part of Peninsular Malaysia, their skill gaps centred on free communication and social media fundamentals such as Skype, basic Facebook marketing and free newsletter softwares such as MailChimp.

The majority of the civil organizations in Johor Bahru who attended our event were technology newbies: beginners who were just understanding the power of the Internet and social media. They had little knowledge of digital security, websites, or social media. These participants would be a perfect Digital Literacy Basics 101 group.

In Kuala Lumpur, the capital of the country, city folks sat on the intermediate scale of digital literacy. This Basic Intermediate 201 group were the ones who had toyed around with social media tools, promoting their fundraising events on Facebook and regularly posting updates as part of their public awareness and outreach. They understood cost savings from digitizing their work. They understood the impact of a powerful one minute video. They understood regular communication and updates are part of a wider PR and Marketing strategy.

Nevertheless, they were still eager learners. The trail of questions continued trickling in:

“How do we sign up for GoogleAdWords for nonprofits?”
“Can you teach us more about cloud computing?”
“What other products from the TechSoup Asia-Pacific catalogue would you recommend to my nonprofit?”
“Is it hard to make a website? Can you teach us to how to make one?”
“Will you host workshops on digital storytelling?”

Khairdah Mahmood during a half day workshop for NGOs
Khairdah Mahmood from TechSoup Malaysia during a half day workshop for nonprofits in Kuala Lumpur

Increasingly, nonprofits are realizing the benefits of digitizing their work and how digital literacy impacts their organization, internally and externally.

In the coming months, the TechSoup Asia-Pacific team will be hosting webinars, conducting face-to-face workshops, and continue enabling technology to nonprofits across all sectors, so that they can continue to make a difference in Malaysia and the world.