This is the second Grove update from Tech4Good Labs. Before we jump into updates, we’d like to take a moment to introduce our work.
At Tech4Good Labs, we have a passion for change makers and understand the extraordinary challenges they face. We believe that technology can help make change-making easier through collaboration and scale. That’s why we partner with change makers who are addressing complex societal issues and help them find and implement tech solutions that serve the communities they work with. Our structured, inclusive process keeps vulnerable communities at the center of the solution to unlock impact by activating collaboration and scale.
- Overall updates
In the first 6 months as we embarked on our mission of using technology for social good, we have taken some crucial steps towards building our team and internal capacities and this has all been made possible by the generous support from Rainmatter Foundation, FOSS United, Mekin Maheshwari and other individual supporters and well wishers.
- We’ve now found a new home in Kochi, thanks to the gracious Mehar and the Tinkerhub Community. Our team is now located at Tinkerspace, an innovative space established by the Tinkerhub Foundation. Here, we have access to cutting-edge technologies, as well as opportunities to participate in enriching activities such as meet-ups, hackathons, and mentoring sessions. It is truly an inspiring learning environment that encourages personal and professional growth
- We are pleased to announce that we have finalized our fellowship structure and currently have two fellows on board, based out of Kochi. Our fellows are already making a significant impact by supporting NGOs in improving their discoverability and visibility. They have been involved in creating websites, hosting them on Github to reduce costs, and setting up 3 bots that are now available at https://bots4good.org/. In addition to this, they are also in the process of learning the basics of ERPNext and are already proficient in the basic administration of the ERPNext which we use internally. We are hopeful that they will get certified in May/June. Our fellows have also been equipped with tools such as Kobo Toolbox and Whimsical and will be conducting training sessions for other changemakers in April. We have also sent out fellowship letters to two more fellows who will be joining us in June.
- Furthermore, our team comprises four enthusiastic volunteers who share our vision and are dedicated to supporting our mission. Additionally, we have a pro bono Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and a part-time accountant who provide valuable support to our work.
Capacity building is an essential component of our work.
We aim to provide last-mile support to NGOs and co-create tech solutions for them. We have partnered with several NGOs, including Anode Governance Labs, Video Volunteers, Kisan Mitra, My Choices Foundation, Kshetra Space, and Climate Asia, to understand their technology needs and find solutions that work best for them.
Additionally, Deepali from our team has recently obtained certification in ERPNext. In our efforts to enhance our ERPNext instance and aid our partner organizations, we have partnered with the Efeone team to provide support and customization services.
We also conduct workshops and capacity-building sessions for changemaker ecosystems, including NGO staff and students. For example - last month
Tech4Good Labs also recently held a co-creation workshop where two organizations were taken through a process to create/improve a collaborative online/offline grievance redressal/dispute resolution system to serve the needs of vulnerable communities. To support this initiative, Sherin K R from efeone supported the usage of ERPNext and Frappe. These capacity-building initiatives are aimed at equipping NGOs, fellows, interns, and volunteers with the necessary tools and skills to use technology effectively and efficiently
Our friends from Tech4Good Community conducted a session on using KoboTool Box at TinkerHub in Kochi for the Fellows, Interns, and Volunteers of Tech4Good.
In addition, a 4-hour design thinking workshop through Lego Serious Play (LSP) was facilitated with the theme of #climateaction. The workshop aimed to explore how individuals could contribute significantly to environmental sustainability and efficient natural resource management
Ecosystem building is another key focus area for us.
- We have identified the key stakeholders in the tech4good ecosystem, including NGOs, tech companies, government agencies, donors, and community groups. We are building a diverse and talented Tech for Good fellows community that can contribute to this ecosystem. To achieve this, we have established partnerships with NGOs to understand their technology needs and mapped out key stakeholders.
- We have been attending different conferences and avenues to landscape out the ecosystem including Dasra Project Tech4Dev , Agami Summit and the Online Dispute Resolution Conference , Omidyar Network for their Responsible Tech etc.
- Arunabha has been awarded a scholarship from FOSS United to pursue the prestigious Tech and Public Policy Course offered by Takshashila. We are optimistic that the valuable knowledge and extensive network he will gain from the program will contribute significantly to the growth of the Tech4Good ecosystem and the Open Source Community.
We have been working on the MigrantLine project, and we have been meeting with various stakeholders, including vulnerable communities, frontline workers, experts, and government officials. To get a better understanding of the needs of migrant workers, we conducted a detailed survey with 50 migrant workers in Bangalore. We have also reached out to organizations that provide similar or adjacent support to migrant workers.
- As change-makers, we know that technology can sometimes feel daunting. That’s why we’ve created a space where we can gather, converse, collaborate, and celebrate all things related to tech for good - from topics and events to opportunities and more! Join us for free on our forum at https://t4glabs.discourse.group/ to ask for help and offer your expertise as we collectively strive to use technology with confidence and ease to amplify our impact.
- Any Challenges you may have face
In any project, challenges are bound to arise.
As a young entity we have faced a few hurdles along the way.
- For instance, regulatory compliance poses as an administrative burden, which required a significant amount of time and effort. To overcome this challenge, we brought on board a senior finance person who served as a probono CFO, as well as an experienced accountant who assisted us with accounting and compliance-related matters. These steps helped to streamline our administrative activities, freeing up more time for us to focus on our project goals.
- Another challenge we faced was the limited availability of tech talent in underserved rural communities. To address this, we established partnerships with organizations such as Saajhe Sapne, and Tinkerhub to identify and recruit suitable candidates. This approach helped us to reduce the risk of not being able to sustain our fellowship program.
- Furthermore, to ensure long-term sustainability of our project, we are actively seeking to diversify our funding sources. This includes seeking support from a range of donors, foundations, and corporate partners.
- Lastly, we recognize that education and training are crucial in ensuring successful implementation and adoption of technology in NGOs. As such, we are committed to providing demystifying , education and training to NGOs about the benefits of technology for their missions. We also offer ongoing support and technical assistance to ensure successful implementation and adoption, and showcase success stories and impact of technology on other NGOs. By addressing these challenges head-on, we are confident that we can continue to make a positive impact in the communities we serve.
3 ) Any new avenues of collaboration (with other Grantees of Rainmatter Foundation or other NPO/NGO)
Through our partnerships with Rainmatter Foundation and FOSS United, we have had the opportunity to collaborate with a diverse range of organizations. Our introduction to Tinkerhub Foundation at a FOSS event led to our relocation to Kochi - a pivotal move for our organization. At the inauguration of Tinkerspace, we were able to connect with many changemakers and explore exciting possibilities. Another collaboration was with the ASPIRE Fellowship, which introduced us to Video Volunteers.