By SANGONeT JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, 30 August 2004
APC member, the Southern African NGO Network (SANGONeT), will be organising its first annual "ICTs and Civil Society" conference to take place from 2-4 March 2005 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Although many local conferences these days focus on ICT-related issues, very little dedicated attention is given to the relevance of ICTs to the civil society organisation (CSO) sector. During the last few years the Southern African CSO sector has experienced dramatic changes. The funding and related crises experienced by CSOs in the early 1990s have been well documented. Many CSOs were forced to close down because of a lack of funding and related organisational problems.
As a result, the critical challenge facing many CSOs today relates to their capacity to make a fundamental contribution to finding long-term and sustainable solutions to Southern Africa’s development problems.
The strengthening of CSOs’ capacity for service delivery increasingly requires that attention be given to their ability to use, manage and implement ICTs. Although many Southern African CSOs are already active users of ICTs, much more needs to be done to build their capacity.
CSOs face numerous challenges in keeping up with rapidly changing ICT developments. These include developing internal organisational and educational processes, making technology investments, developing and implementing electronic communication strategies, and staying abreast of a wide range of ICT policy issues impacting on the sector.
The conference will therefore focus specifically on these ICT challenges facing the CSO sector, highlighting and promoting practical benefits, opportunities and lessons learned to date. It will provide an opportunity to both CSOs that are ICT-enabled, as well as those organisations which are considering introducing ICT solutions to their work, to discuss critical issues of common concern and learn from one another’s experiences.
Specific attention will also be given to the activities and initiatives of various local and international CSOs involved in ICT issues.
The conference will also include an exhibition where CSOs, as well as a wide range of ICT service providers, will be able to showcase their products and services.
This conference is aimed at leadership staff and technical employees in CSOs, and individuals who work with these organisations, including donor agencies, the private sector and the government.
For more information, or to suggest specific issues and topics to be covered at the conference, please contact Refilwe Rakhibane at SANGONeT: firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional information on the conference will also be posted on the SANGONeT website – www.sangonet.org.za – during the next few weeks.
SANGONeT has been providing ICT networking, information and
training services to Southern African CSOs since 1987. Its mission is to be a facilitator in the effective and empowering use of information communication technology (ICT) tools by development and social justice actors in Southern Africa.
SANGONeT exists with the purpose of sharing information, building capacity, linking people and organisations through the use of ICTs in Southern Africa.
SANGONeT’s vision is a just, equitable and prosperous Southern African society, where the impact and contribution of sustainable development programmes are supported by appropriate, relevant and affordable ICT solutions.