This article has been sponsored by Facebook.
In the small village of Potnal, in Manvi Taluka, Raichur, Karnataka, ‘Jagrata Mahila Sanghatana’ (JMS) — an NGO, has been driving grassroots transformation in their community since 1999. Much like other NGOs, JMS followed conventional ways of record-keeping which invariably led to documentation loss during a flood.
Lack of access to technology is a huge challenge faced by many social organisations working in remote areas. Today, digital adoption plays a pivotal role in advancing nonprofit organisations through the use of the latest tools, applications, and innovations. Recognising this, Rinju Rajan, a professional working in the development sector along with two of her colleagues, Anusha Meher Bhargava and Akhila Somanath, were inspired to find a solution. After several months of deliberation and research, they started the Tech4Good Community in 2018. Based out of Bengaluru, this organisation aims to bridge the technology gap at the grassroots by creating awareness and increasing access of NGOs to advanced technology.
Tech4Good provides end-to-end support to improve the efficiency of NGOs, through technology tools that can help streamline operations, fundraising, and manage multi-level stakeholders. They also provide mentorship programs that enable grassroots workers to leverage tech solutions to the best of their ability.
“Starting Tech4Good was completely accidental. Based on our experience on-ground, the three of us were aware of the challenges NGOs face and knew how technology could solve them. But the lack of access to this technology was a huge hurdle in digitising their operations. When used for good in a country with more than 3.1 million NGOs, technology can help scale social impact to a massive extent. So we started with a handbook that tried to demystify technology for NGOs, and as we began to get a positive response, in time Tech4Good came to be,” says Rinju, a co-founder of Tech4Good.
To further enable Tech4good’s mission, Meta provided them with a grant through the Facebook Pragati initiative, a social accelerator program empowering women social entrepreneurs. Facebook Pragati is a unique initiative, carefully crafted to address the concerns faced by women entrepreneurs. The program assists in incubating and accelerating early-stage women-led nonprofits that are working in the areas of women entrepreneurship and to drive awareness and adoption of technology among women in India at the last mile.
This pan India initiative accepts applications from early-stage women-led non-profits that are working in the areas of women entrepreneurship to drive awareness and adoption of technology among women in India. Selected from among a pool of more than 1,300 applications, Tech4Good was among the four non-profits to become part of the first cohort of the Facebook Pragati initiative.
“There is a hunger for technology in the ecosystem but a lot of confusion around it as well. So the first step to demystifying it included us not imposing any tool but helping them understand its value and integrate it into their daily operations. Our conversations with the Facebook Pragati team helped us deepen our vision. With their continued support, we were able to set milestones and reach the last mile impact it set out to achieve. We launched the online capacity building workshops for non-profits called the Spotlight Series during the pandemic, where we trained and improved the operational efficiencies of over 300 non-profits,” says Anusha, co-founder of Tech4Good.
“We spoke their language and weren’t throwing tech jargon at them. Instead, we shared our journeys embracing these tech tools, our failures and eventual triumphs and how they could do it too. But most importantly, we never imposed a particular tool just for the sake of it. It always had to be done organically. Pragati triggered a massive transformation for us. Thanks to this program, Tech4Good has not only received financial support to scale our work and drive impact but has also gone from over 200 NGOs under its fold to helping more than 800 NGOs today. It was with the guidance received under this program that we managed to develop the ‘Online Tech Training Engagement Resource’ (OTTER),” adds Akhila, co-founder of Tech4Good.
“It is a big boost of confidence and credibility for us, and we are very grateful for it,” adds Rinju.
While Tech4Good works to help women-led NGOs equip themselves with the right technology-led tools, interestingly none of the three co-founders come with a technology background, which has worked in their favour to establish relatability in terms of on-ground challenges in the adoption of technology.
To know more about Tech4Good’s continuing work and the impact they are having, do have a look at their Facebook page here.