Tech4Dev 2.0 

As we consolidate our learnings from the first phase, our vision to build an ecosystem of NGOs and foundations that leverage technology to best serve their beneficiaries is further solidified. We aim to realize our vision in the next phase(Tech4Dev 2.0) by:

  1. Continuing to create affordable, high-quality, open-source technology platforms and services for NGOs
  2. Helping NGOs create and implement technology strategies by providing fractional CxOs
  3. Encouraging more technology professionals and companies to join the tech-for-good space, while bridging the gender gap.
  • Glific

    Glific is a WhatsApp based two-way communication platform (and SaaS service).

    Glific uses a combination of automation and manual processes to enable NGOs to easily scale to thousands of conversations a day with few staff. It empowers NGOs to distribute content, provide the right information at their pace & get feedback over Whatsapp. Glific also integrates with Google BigQuery & DataStudio so NGOs can analyze their interaction, see the users’ pain points, and visualize & measure their impact.

    Glific has been deployed by NGOs supporting various SDGs, such as

    • for education programs, to send learning resources and activity based evaluation, 
    • for career counseling, 
    • to disseminate farming advice, 
    • as a helpline for intellectual and developmental disabilities

    Some of the case studies can be found here.

  • Avni

    Avni is an open-source platform for community service provisioning. Using Avni, organizations can easily create applications for their fieldwork programs for managing their interactions with community members, recording and reviewing community members data. Avni goes beyond data collection/reporting and provides a complete solution. 

    Avni is sector agnostic, already used to power a wide spectrum of applications in areas such as Health, Water Management, Sanitation Facilitation, and Social Security Facilitation. Around 25 organizations have used Avni to serve more than half a million beneficiaries. Here are Avni’s current usage metrics. Some case studies are available here. 

    Organizations choose Avni

    • To adopt a single solution for different stakeholders across multiple community programs 
    • To easily and comprehensively analyze data, visualize trends and patterns 
    • To make decisions backed by data – in the field and in the office 
    • Because It is the most affordable solution in the market 
    • Because it is Reliable, Secure and Scalable
  • Fractional CxO

    NGOs typically don’t have in-house technical expertise and they feel intimidated by technology. Often, the NGO staff have the vision but because of their non-technical backgrounds, they feel unable to engage with technology professionals. This pattern is fairly prevalent in the social sector in India.

    Over the past few years, Tech4Dev has built a network of whetted and reliable software partners who know how to work with NGOs, have proven experience of working with NGOs building applications for them and work with NGOs professionally and with high integrity. Tech4Dev technologist associates act as Fractional CxOs to evaluate technology needs, help recruit technology personnel and to recommend and evaluate a reliable and proven software firm to carry out software projects. 

    We see this program to help NGOs that don’t have any technical expertise in-house as well as those that need help evaluating their technology needs, suggest solutions etc. The details of the program are as follows

    • An engagement with a technologist who spends a few hours a week with the NGO.
    • Assistance with identifying a technically sound solution
    • Assisting with hiring technology personnel at the NGO

    We believe this program will also help NGO participants to demonstrate to their funders that they have a reliable organization helping them with capacity building. 

  • Women In Technology Fellowship

    This is a paid fellowship for women from technology institutions; we solicit candidates from all years of college. Tech4Dev runs this fellowship with its partners and focuses on engineering institutions from Tier II and Tier III cities.

    The program mentors fellows in a wide range of non-tech related subjects such as written and oral communication in English, business communication etiquette and tech-related subjects such as digital technology, programming in general and Python and front-end technologies. The goal is to make them more confident, well-spoken and technically proficient candidates as they enter the workforce for internships and beyond. 

    Tech4Dev plans to run this fellowship in cohorts from engineering colleges in different parts of the country, The fellowship cohorts are run by two partners at a time: one partner providing mentoring on soft skills and one partner focusing on their technical development. 

    The first cohort is in the Tehri area with Hyperverge Academy (HVA) and ColoredCow. HVA on soft skills development and has deep experience in running such fellowships and they have demonstrated success in previous cohorts before this Tech4Dev cohort. 

    Technology mentoring and standups for the first cohort are managed by ColoredCow, a Tech4Dev partner with offices in Gurgaon and Tehri. ColoredCow manages the technology part of the curriculum, holds regular standups and guides the fellows in their technical advancement.  

    Our next cohort will be run by HVA and Soft Corner with students from various colleges in Nashik/Satara area. Soft Corner is a founding partner of Tech4Dev and has been in the software business for over 25 years. They are headquartered in Pune.

    Our fellows write regular blogs describing their experiences and learnings. Read the blogs from our fellows here.

  • Development Data Platform

    The Development Data Platform (DDP) provides a low maintenance, low cost, SaaS data platform composed of open source software elements to tackle data ingestion, storage, transformation and visualisation. It mirrors a modern data stack found in the private sector, while specialising in integration tools and is tailored to the needs and goals of the development sector. 

    This platform came about from our experience of working with multiple organisations in the Indian NGO ecosystem where we saw challenges in disjointed data sources, data ingestion pipelines constantly breaking down and needing to be fixed with changes in data schemas, data synchronisation problems between source data and data warehouses, data quality issues, up-to-date versioned documentation of data transformations and aggregations, and usage of open source visualisation tools.

    It was also influenced by how we can work with NGOs to use data in a “smart” manner to provide better, deeper and more meaningful insights for greater impact.

    DDP leverages the power of data to optimise processes and program operations. The platform replicates data from multiple existing tools used by the social impact space organisations (like CommCare, SurveyCTO, Glific, Avni, Google Sheets) as part of an open source data integration pipeline that has high visibility of issues and maximum uptime. Using top of the line open source packages for transformations and visualisations, DDP aims to satisfy the analysis and visualisation needs across most NGOs. 

    We are currently in beta mode piloting with a few non-profit  organisations.

  • Aam Digital

    Aam Digital is an easy-to-use case management software for the social sector that empowers field workers in their in-person interactions with participants. Having simple, reliable documentation helps improve the effectiveness and transparency of projects.

    For example, Aam Digital helps social workers and teachers of an education support programme to easily manage all information about students’ development, attendance and health. That way staff can spend time working with people rather than doing paperwork, while the tool helps them collaborate and keep an overview of progress and critical cases. This data also helps them evaluate the impact of their activities and show achievements to their donors. [also see case study]

    Aam Digital’s open-source platform can be adapted to different use cases and is currently used by NGOs across four continents. It’s designed for projects that

    • Regularly interact with participants over time and track various data and notes
    • Have to work offline and still share information across the team
    • Analyse individuals’ and programs’ progress beyond a simple spreadsheet (e.g. avoiding double counting or inter-relating various data)
  • Empowering Youth, Transforming Lives: The impact of Lend a Hand India

    In a country as vast as India, access to quality education and skills development is crucial for the holistic growth and empowerment of its youth. Lend a Hand India(LAHI) is an organization that is tirelessly working towards bridging the educational divide and creating opportunities for young people across the country.

    LAHI firmly believes that education is the foundation for a bright future. The organization is committed to providing quality education to children and youth from underprivileged backgrounds. LAHI collaborates with local schools, teachers and volunteers to create innovative teaching methods and curricula that cater to the specific needs of the communities. 

    Recently at Tech4Dev we’ve decided to work closely with some of the NGO’s and understand their program really well. Lobo connected us with the LAHI team and in the last two weeks we’ve spent quite a bit of time on each of the program which LAHI offers. Although online meetings are great and comfortable but we decided to actually go to Pune where LAHI team operates and work closely with them to understand the programs really well. We also invited Jishnu from Goalkeep and that really helped us in terms of asking the right questions. 

    The agenda was really tight and to the point. Through out the day we had back to back sessions on different programs and we started with one of their older programs which is Plan 100 and we also met members who are handling those programs. Some of the takeaways for me was their the Multi Skill Foundation Course (MSFC) program which began as a pilot study in two schools in Pune in 1986 and later expanded to 100 schools as “Plan 100” with the approval of the Maharashtra government. In 2016, it was introduced in Mumbai and Pune as “Project Swadheen Maharashtra” and eventually expanded to 1,900 schools across Maharashtra. MSFC received central government approval, enabling other states to implement the subject. LAHI took the responsibility of implementing the program, covering costs and resources. 

    MSFC focuses on vocational education and has four skill sections. 

    1. Workshop and Enngineering techniques: Carpenting, Welding, Construction
    2. Energy and ENv
    3. Gardening, Nursery and Agricultural techniques
    4. Food processing techniques, Personal Healtha and Hygiene

    LAHI implements the program through two models: providing technical support to schools or directly funding and managing the program. The ultimate goal is to increase enrollment and make MSFC the preferred subject choice among students. The program emphasizes practical learning, and a well-equipped workshop is essential for implementation.The evolution and expansion of MFSC through projects like Swadheen demonstrate the commitment of LAHI in promoting vocational education and empowering students with practical skills for future success. 

    Karigrar Program 

    At the end of the sessions we visited the Karigar – School of Applied Learning, located in Pune, Maharashtra, is an initiative by Lend A Hand India (LAHI) that serves as a Skills Hub, showcasing a model for multi-skill vocational education. Drawing upon LAHI’s extensive experience, Karigar offers training in a wide range of skills including food processing, electrical appliances repairs, food preservation, baking, gardening and landscaping, auto maintenance, information technology, media and entertainment, fabrication, carpentry, and plumbing. The primary objective is to popularize and universalize skill education, emphasizing the value of “working with hands.” The facility is not only used for skill training but also serves as a Training of Trainers center, an incubator for young entrepreneurs, and an innovation lab. Karigar aims to empower individuals with practical skills, encourage entrepreneurship, and foster innovation in vocational education.

    Sharing two photos from the program. LAHI has implemented a unique initiative as part of their program, featuring four mobile vans that travel across states to raise awareness about their vocational education program among children. These vans serve as mobile classrooms and interactive learning spaces, where LAHI demonstrates and provides live examples of basic skills to children. From repairing objects to fixing various items, these demonstrations bring hands-on experiences to life, captivating the children’s interest and showcasing the practical applications of vocational skills. The mobile vans play a vital role in spreading awareness, igniting curiosity, and inspiring children to explore the possibilities of vocational education.

    We will be sharing more about our learnings through multiple blogs. But this visit set the stage for us to think about their data problems and for creating a solution around it. Shoutout to Lobo and Vinod for pushing us to visit the team in person and for trusting us.