OpenNetworks Group to Provide Website
The Rural Women's Movement (RWM) of KwaZulu-Natal, found themselves on the receiving end of a generous sponsorship from the OpenNetworks Group, which has offered to build a free website for the NGO. The announcement was made on 08 March 06 at SANGONeT's ICTs for Civil Society Conference gala dinner which coincided with International Women of Colour Day.
David Glyn-Jones, Director of the OpenNetworks Group, approached SANGONeT with the offer to build a website for the NGO of our choice. SANGONeT's decision to award the sponsorship to the RWM is in line with our commitment to closing the digital divide and focusing on the empowerment of women from poor communities.
“During my first consultation with Sizani Ngubane, we sat down together and looked at a variety of content management solutions that would allow her organization to control the content that they own without having to rely on a third party every time they needed to upload, update or remove something from their website.”
It was during these initial discussions that it became clear to both Sizani and David that the key requirement for the RWM was the ability to establish an online marketing presence, which would promote the reputation of the organization. Practically, David foresaw the need for the RWM to change over from their current dial-up arrangement, which is both very costly and slow to a faster, more cost-effective ADSL option. This solution is now being investigated in order to ensure that the necessary Telkom nodes are available.
The RWM also needs to create a unique identity by way of a distinctive logo. In addition the prerequisite marketing materials need to be developed. Although this was not part of the brief, David has generously offered to provide these resources to assist the RWM in the pursuit of its objectives.
Whilst consulting with Sizani, it became clear that a large part of her time is consumed with activities that could easily be simplified through the use of innovative technology solutions. For example, the RWM co-ordinates a group of over 350 volunteers and the only way of maintaining communications with these workers is via cellphone SMS’s. Sizani has been painstakingly managing 350 individual communications when, in fact, a mass communication method would be a far better and faster option.
David identified that the CRM solution which ONG has developed, called OpenNetworks would meet the need. By deploying this online application, Sizani and her team will be able to send and receive both mass and individual SMS’s from the various volunteers and ensure that each volunteer is able to pick up these messages via their cellphones. David believes that this in itself could lead to substantial cost and time benefits for Sizani and her team.
With the initial groundwork completed, the ONG will be using PLONE to develop a CMS Website for the RWM and content population for the website will shortly be underway. In conclusion, David says he is excited by his involvement with the RWM and that ONG is happy that they have had this opportunity to give something back to the NGO community.
SANGONeT has created a special profile about RWM and their activities, which can be read online here.