Information and Communications Technology for Development Working Group - Vietnam

Aug 29, 2008

As I was playing with my ideas on the Program, I came across this Working Group: ICT4DEV.

It's a long story but I'll cut it short, hopefully. While I was managing the 15 May School mailbox, I kept receiving email digests from local NGO network' Mailing Lists. As my interest in community service increased, I started to join several of these and learnt more about the various activities that NGOs and social organizations were doing here. The VUFO - NGO Resource Center is the one who coordinates the networking and resources sharing between those organizations and it is at this center that information keeps flowing in and out and around. As I was thinking of working for some NGO that promotes technology (ok, it's one of my intentions), I found this particular ICT4DEV Working Group very interesting. This is their goal:

The aim of the working group will be to help NGOs enhance their use of ICT to improve the quality of their development work in Vietnam. Through advising, training, sharing resources and inviting special expert guest speakers, the ICT4DEV WG seeks to maximise productivity and communications in the development community in Vietnam by helping NGOs to fully harness the power of ICT in their development activities. [ICT4DEVWG TOR)

I contacted the people of the working group through their mailing list and "pitched" them my idea. It turned out that they were very supportive and at the same time enthusiastic. This WG is very new but it is catching attention :). There have been a lot of entries in their blog and at the moment they are planning on delivering workshops on Open Source and Web 2.0 technologies to local development organizations, which coincidentally is what my program is all about. But it's a bit different, I'm working directly with the children why they are working directly with NGOs and thus cover a much wider range of beneficiaries.

Knowing from one person who used to be the predecessor of Paul Griffiths, the current chairman of the WG, that technology in the NGO world is 10 years behind that of the corporate world and that working with an NGO to promote our Program would be very difficult as it is certainly not favored by such an organization. While this is a bit discouraging for us, we managed to find other ways to do it right. And this simultaneously encourages me to do my utmost for the Program to raise people's awareness of what technology can do for them, individuals and organizations.

While we are working on our own and there're lots of difficulties so be solved, the WG is already firmly established and can work more easily with local organizations. At the end of the day, I believe we are working on the same mission and all efforts will pay off.

If you are interested in how the WG is doing and in the development of technology in the social development field, you can keep yourself update by subscribing to the mailing list at:

If you happen to work for a local NGO and hasn't heard of it, these are the workshops that you may find useful: