Recently I was at the Microsoft T4G event on Bintan Island in Indonesia and had a chance to meet with a wide range of organisations across the region. They are all doing great work with limited resources. Emerging from many conversations and presentations, some of the challenges in the region that struck me as central to supporting NGO’s in the Asia-Pacific region were:
- Reaching small and medium orgs – In most countries, the vast majority of the nfp’s that the TechSoup Asia donation program is designed to assist are , for a range of reasons, not recognised in official registration systems and look like remaining so. A major priority has to be to find a way to remedy this situation to the satisfaction of donors.
- Electricity – vast areas of the region do not have reliable 24/7 electricity supply, including many major cities, making reliable access to ICT difficult, if not impossible.
- Connectivity – allied with unreliable access to power is the limited internet access available in many areas, making cloud solutions problematic.
- Mobile technologies – while widespread access to mobile phones and other devices is rapidly becoming the norm in Asia, how to tap into this is currently not clear.
- Multiple languages and limited English-speaking outside main cities and the young creates difficulties, even in these sorts of meetings, and are magnified many times across the region.