Wednesday, 6 June 2007

SANGONeT shifts from information provider to facilitating peer sharing

Brussels, 6 June. Sangonet is a South African NGO, established in 1987, which evolved into an Internet Service Provider in 1990s with the aim of assisting NGOs with their ICT and information needs.

It made a strategic decision in 2001 to move out of ICT services role into ICT facilitation role, focussing on 3 main programme areas:

  • Providing information to civil society in South Africa

  • Brokering ICT services

  • Facilitating discussions around ICT issues
Sangonet's ultimate objective is to link NGOs through ICTs.

The Sangonet NGO portal was created at 2005, a culmination of past work and the desire to consolidate all its information activities into a single portal. Yet another reason was the institutional and financial challenges facing the NGO sector and the lack of focus on the NGO sector in the mainstream media. Only negative stories tend to receive media attention. The NGO sector in South Africa is therefore in a fortunate position to have a dedicated one-stop information resource and platform in support of its activities. The portal includes the PRODDER NGO Directory, weekly NGO Pulse e-newsletter, SN Announce e-mail advertising service, NGO profiles, toolkits and other information relevant to the work of the sector.

Sangonet's work also includes a large offline component, organizing conferences and forums, giving NGOs the opportunity to discuss and debate ICT issues.

The big future challenge for Sangonet is:

How do you make the shift from being the provider of content and information to the NGO sector to a situation whereby the content and experiences are a direct contribution of the recipients?

The Sangonet NGO portal will be relaunched in October 2007 and will include a number of interactive features aimed at increasing online dialogue, community-building and information-sharing in the NGO sector.

The challenge will be to introduce this new dimension to Sangonet's work in line with the capacity and ability of NGOs to benefit from, and engage with, this new approach.

Story by David Barnard

1 comment:

euforic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.