Incubating Solutions to Fight Human Trafficking

Human trafficking, also known as modern slavery or forced labour, affects more than 40 million around the world. As the world’s 3rd fastest form of organized crime, worth an estimated USD150 billion dollar industry, it is easy to see the financial incentive to lure victims into forced labor. Every aspect of this crime is a business – from recruiting, transporting, organizing to monitoring and ensuring the forced labor continues.

Mirroring the stages of the traffickers, the non-profit sector working to combat this issue can briefly be categorized by their main objectives – awareness, prevention, advocacy, enforcement, shelter and resettlement. Although separate in their direction and functional objectives, these NGOs are dedicated in working towards one goal: to end modern slavery.

However, without the right tools, the majority of the non-profit sector working against the crime fall behind the sophisticated techniques used by the traffickers. Without using digitally secure networks, without knowing how to navigate cyberspace without leaving their digital footprints, without using the right communication techniques to speak to their target audience, much of their physical and digital safety is compromised, not to mention their hard work gone to waste.

Over the last few months from August to October, TechSoup conducted a series of workshops for the anti-human trafficking sector. Most participants were Malaysian based NGOs, a handful were unions and organizations set up to address the forced migrant labor issue. The training topics spanned from data visualization, digital security, communication tools, social media insights, fundraising, and even basic photography. The event culminated in an NGO Incubator Pitch, modeled after the “Shark Tank” pitches.

Each participating NGO had 10 mins to pitch their case. Their presentation started with the tech tools used to design and execute a short social media campaign of their choice; an honest sharing of their challenges and successes; and finally, the pitch: why should TechSoup and Yayasan Salam incubate and grow them?

The grand prize, worth USD1,700, comprised a customized training plan, 1-1 support, fundraising service support, mentoring with NGO start-ups, licensed software and a tech gadget of choice.

The winner of the NGO Incubator Pitch was Ziaur Rahman, a Rohingya refugee and a human trafficking victim who has been sold 7 times in his life. Since arriving in Malaysia, and obtaining his UNHCR status, Ziaur has campaigned tirelessly on violence against Rohingyas. The panel of judges were impressed with his ability to demonstrate clearly his goals, his vision for the road ahead, and mostly, that he was able to articulate how this incubation was important in ending modern slavery.

Second prize winner was Tenaganita who received a prize value of USD800, which includes customized training, licensed software and 1-1 support. Honorary mention that won a prize value of USD300 was Friends of Women Organisation, Selangor (Persatuan Sabahat Wanita, Selangor).

The winners will be incubated from November 2018 to April 2019. During this period, the winning NGOs will receive additional resources, support and help for them to campaign more effectively against human trafficking.

The project is funded by the U.S Embassy of Malaysia, and carried out in partnership with Yayasan Salam Malaysia. For more information on the project, please contact Elizabeth Liew at eliew@techsoupglobal.org

Bridging HIV Awareness and Technology

In a program led by LINKAGES Indonesia, a consortium of FHI360 and PACT, TechSoup Asia-Pacific and our Indonesia partner NGO Kitabisa  are currently managing a program dedicated to strengthening of the digital outreach capacities of working in HIV prevention.

The program includes a 16-module ICT training that has been divided into four workshops held across a three-month period. The 16-module course was specifically designed to focus on utilizing popular online communication tools, resources and methodologies that outreach workers can use to communicate with key populations.

Partaking in the 3-month training program are 20 local grassroots non-profit organizations within and outside of Jakarta. In preparation for the program, TechSoup and Kitabisa rolled out an ICT Assessment survey, a comprehensive set of questions to determine the organizational ICT capacities, from hardware, gadgets and servers, usage of software licenses, data protection, to their digital outreach capacities. The surveys also measured capacities on two accounts – on an organizational level,  and as individuals from the organization.

Using results from the ICT assessment as a baseline indicator of each NGO’s knowledge and skill sets, TechSoup and implementing partner Kitabisa were able to design a digital outreach curriculum to help the NGOs improve their digital outreach methods.

Through these assessments, results showed:

  • Among the 20 organizations, the pre-assessment shows 80% of the organizations identifying themselves as having low knowledge in digital security measures. Although many of the respondents were aware of their vulnerability to digital attacks,the majority of them do not perform backups on their devices.
  • Around 70% of the NGOs responded positively to social media usage, knowledge and capacity in relation to their digital outreach work. However, despite their familiarity with social media platforms and instant messaging, the biggest challenge for them was a lack of a structured digital outreach plan.

As HIV outreach campaigns primarily deal with sensitive information, this also shows how ensuring proper understanding and employment of digital security measures should also be considered as a top priority – one that is as important as improving digital outreach methods.

Outside of the trainings, participating organizations also received a tailored package of software via TechSoup’s technology donations program. These packages are inclusive of organizational essentials such as operating systems and productivity suites, along with antivirus licenses to help boost their current digital security measures, and Boost Training and Support packages to continuously feed them with learning content even after the workshops have ended.

Overall, while the collaboration in itself seeks to only empower 20 local organizations, the long-term impact of these organizations’ online visibility, and subsequently, outreachto the key HIV populations is very promising.

A guided tour of the Cloud: Empowering NGOs in China with Office 365

As most NGOs would attest to, one of the key limitations that hinder their growth and adoption of relevant solutions is their limited IT team and resources – or in some cases, a complete lack thereof.

Recognizing this issue, NPI – TechSoup’s partner NGO in China – has sought to address this concern by offering NGOs a hands-on training program that seeks to assist NGOs in various stages of implementing Office 365, beginning from the process of applying for the donations up to the actual usage of its various features.

In focusing on Office 365, NPI sees an opportunity to arm, educate and enable any NGO with essential cloud tools to make their operations efficient, that is flexible to any changes in their organizational size & structure, and most importantly, requires very little maintenance.

NPI to this day has been able to pilot this program on 3 separate NGOs, providing them a guided one-on-one experience that encompassed various stages of implementation. This ranged from as early as setting up their domains & user accounts, up to a more feature-focused approach such as training on SharePoint and Teams.

NPI’s initiative is not limited to hands-on trainings though, should an NGO in China want to receive quick support, they may also access NPI’s modules online through the links below:

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.

Data Bootcamp for NGO

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In September 15, Frontier Foundation and Open Culture Foundation (OCF) held this one-day data workshop for NGO workers. This event is part of Civic Tech Fest in Taiwan.

When talking about big data or open data, people often think it’s a hard thing needing lots of expertise. Therefore, the goal of the event is to provide basic data analysis concepts, and for participants to learn to use Microsoft Power BI to deliver data visualization work. Thus they can apply those skills to the data in their organizations or advocacy themes.

We had Ning Huang, co-founder of R-Ladies Taipei, as the lecturer. 35 people joined the workshop and broke into six groups. They needed to work together to observe the data, ask good questions, use formulas and Power BI to analyze the provided data. In the end, each group presented their findings and observation.

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

When E-hailing Met Crowdfunding

E-hailing has saved lives around the world – used as an ambulance service for its low price, used as a way to deliver emergency medication, and more commonly used as a safe way to get home to prevent drunk driving.

Kitabisa in Indonesia recently developed an innovative solution merging the two tech products : e-hailing and crowdfunding

An 11-second video showing a teacher swimming across an island where he teaches, went viral on social media. A local nonprofit Insan Bumi Mandiri started a fundraising campaign #perahuuntukpakguru (#boatforMr.Teacher) on the Kitabisa platform to help purchase and give boats to teachers, to enable them to teach on islands in East Nusa Tenggara area.

Following the fundraising campaign, on-demand e-hailing transportation company GRAB donated 2 boats (approx 150 million rupiahs or USD15,000) to the campaign, bringing it to a total of 528 million rupiahs (approx USD40,000).

The two boats were painted with GRAB’s bright green logo and color – a creative display of positive social impact and brand enhancement. The first of its kind in the country, it has attracted attention from the philanthropic and corporate sector.

“Since the GRAB donation, Kitabisa has been approached by various companies reaching out to do similar events,” adds Vikra Ijas, Chief Marketing Office for Kitabisa.

Click here for full story and here for Facebook updates.

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.

Vietnam’s New Community Philanthropic Tool

A central part of developing civil societies is to have an accessible integrated platform with relevant philanthropy resources that the local nonprofit sector can tap into.

Based on this concept, LIN Center Vietnam developed a unique bi-lingual platform “Vietnam Causes” marrying the various elements of philanthropy – skilled volunteerism, funding opportunities, a local nonprofit directory and community hub, and philanthropy resources.

Vietnam Causes is mutually beneficial to both the corporate and civil society sector: the extensive nonprofit directory allows corporates to look for partners who are aligned with their goals, match skilled volunteers to on-going community projects and post funding opportunities. Concurrently, civil society players who are registered in the database can list the social problems their organization is working on, the projects that need funding, and share upcoming events and resources that other organizations might find useful.

The LIN Center’s network currently serves more than 250 grassroots nonprofit organizations, more than 200 volunteers, individual philanthropists, and aims to “help local people address local needs”.

For more information on the platform, please contact Fundraising and Communications Manager at vicao@linvn.org

Data4SocialGood Hackathon in Taiwan

In June 24 and 25, Frontier Foundation and DSP held D4SG Workshop at NCCU. Data for Social Good (D4SG) is a long-term project set up by Frontier Foundation and DSP since 2016. Its goal is to provide a platform for data analysts and nonprofits to collaborate.

Originated from Code for Tomorrow in Taiwan, DSP focuses on leveraging the power of data to address social issues. DSP’s main mission is to train and recruit data analysts and provide consultancy services to solve problems across government, profit and nonprofit sectors.

While nonprofits are constantly trying to develop solutions to bring about positive social impact, they’re unable to do so without help to understand, analyze and process the digital data.

Therefore, Frontier Foundation Taiwan co-organized a two-day hackathon held at National Cheng-Chi University in June this year. A total of five nonprofits joined, including services for the disabled, long-term care for elder people, orphanage, community services, and sex abuse rescue.

With advice and support from the various mentors, participants had a chance to understand data collection, cleaning and ways to best use the data. Some of the proposals will be kept for the Data Hero Project, a three-month long project that encourages data analysis on a deeper scale.

Digi-monetization of India

In November 2016, India announced a complete ban on the 1000 and 500 rupee notes, as part of the government’s efforts to crack down on the counterfeit economy.

Operating on a 95% cash transaction basis, the sudden move to a sudden cashless economy left the majority of Indians in a panic – vendors who mostly dealt in cash, households with savings in cash, were lost.

While on a macro level, these changes were being hailed as positive and transformative, the direct impact on the economy and the citizens of India was too large to be ignored.

The government’s think tank comprising The NITI Aayog (earlier called Planning Commission of India), The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, nationalized and private banks, NASSCOM and NASSCOM Foundation, were tasked to contain this crisis. The team quickly developed an action plan to handhold citizens switch to cashless transactions.

Large scale DigiDhan Melas (translated as Digital Money Fairs) were organized across more than 100 cities with all banks and digital transaction players coming forward and showcasing their cashless solutions.

NASSCOM Foundation, provided volunteers from the IT-BPM industry through its MyKartavya (Meaning: My Duty) program to help the citizens visiting these fairs adopt at least one of the available solutions.

In its attempt to further amplify this initiative, NASSCOM Foundation created its own step-by-step, easy to understand curriculum for all categories of digital transactions including eWallets, Unified Payment gateways (UPI – Mobile app based payment solutions for direct bank account transactions), debit cards, Aadhar (India’s Unique ID equivalent to Social Security Number in USA) enabled payment system and USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) and organized volunteer drives under ‘Each One Teach Ten’ pedagogy across various cities.

The Foundation engaged with more than 2000 volunteers who in turn were able to train over 18,000 people on different cashless modes of transactions.

The Ministry of Electronics and IT also launched a free TV channel called ‘DigiShala’ (The classroom of Digital Learning and cashless financial transactions) and ‘Cashless India’ website to help the citizens get hands-on practice with cashless transaction tools. In partnership with NASSCOM, the Ministry also set up a free helpline service with a toll free number to help people complete their cashless transactions with ease. This helpline was able to resolve more than 300,000 queries from across the country.

Owing to these efforts, by March 2017, the digital transactions had grown 23 times to 6.4 million amounting for INR 24.25 billion. Today, despite cash being the single largest mode of transaction in India, people are much less dependent on it with the most underserved of the citizens having basic knowledge of how to use an e-wallet or a debit card or a UPI app or similar digital transaction tools – a massive win for a country who is not just witnessing but living a digital revolution.