Reducing the Cost of ICTs for Kenyan NGOs

Computing

There are approximately 4,000 non-profit organisations operating in Kenya today. These organisations make a significant contribution in response to the development and service delivery challenges facing the country.

The strengthening of NGOs’ capacity for service delivery increasingly requires that attention be given to their ability to manage, implement and integrate information communication technologies (ICTs) into their work. However, the issue of affordability remains one of the biggest barriers to increased investment by NGOs in their technology infrastructure and capacity. In an environment where the challenge of long-term financial sustainability continues to dominate internal NGO decision-making, the cost associated with technology investment impacts on the importance attached to building NGOs’ technology infrastructure and strengthening their work accordingly.

In response to this situation, the Southern African NGO Network (SANGONeT), in conjunction with the Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) in Kenya, is very pleased to announce the launch of TechSoup Kenya (www.techsoupkenya.or.ke), an online technology donation portal aimed at the Kenya NGO sector.

TechSoup Kenya aims to assist NGOs by providing software and hardware for very low or discounted fees in conjunction with ICT donor partners, as well as by supporting NGOs to maximise their ICT purchases and infrastructure. It will present Kenya NGOs with an opportunity to access software and other ICT solutions at discounts of up to 95% of the retail value.

According to David Barnard, SANGONeT’s Executive Director, “The introduction of this programme in South Africa and Botswana has already made an important contribution to the local NGO sector, and we are very excited about its potential impact in Kenya.”

TechSoup Kenya is a partnership between SANGONeT and TechSoup Global (www.techsoupglobal.org), a San Francisco-based non-profit technology capacity building organisation. TechSoup Global started in 2002 in the United States and currently operates its product donation programmes in 23 countries across the world with a network of local partner NGOs. With 35 donor partners currently, TechSoup Global has provided approximately 4.7 million donated technology products since programme inception to NGOs around the world. The retail price of these donations is roughly equivalent to $1.4 billion.

“We’ve grown the TechSoup Global Network by partnering with organisations that share our commitment to providing NGOs with critical technology resources,” said Rebecca Masisak, Co-CEO of TechSoup Global. “Both ALIN and SANGONeT have a track record of outstanding service to the NGO community. Their collaboration to bring technology donations and education to Kenya is a shining example of the power of our network.”

ALIN will be responsible for the implementation of TechSoup Kenya. According to James Nguo, ALIN’s Regional Director, “With a wide network among grassroots NGOs and focus on ICT4D, we hope to avail affordable technology to the people who deserve them most”.

The first TechSoup Kenya donation partner is Microsoft. Most of the Microsoft range of software will be available to Kenya NGOs at approximately 4% of the retail value. The products include operating system software, productivity software such as Microsoft Office, publishing software and server products.