What we did for the 'Joy of Giving' week? giving back.. IT style!

By: techsoup
Mon, 08/10/2012 - 16:03

Father Adolf - encouraging volunteering as a must-do activity and not as an extra thing.

One thing we maintain at NASSCOM Foundation is that ‘giving back’ is most effective when it is the core competency of the volunteer that she provides to the beneficiary. So when we sat to design an event for the ‘Joy of Giving’ week, we concluded with the idea of ‘Find an IT Partner’ Event for NGOs wherein NGOs across Mumbai could team up with with IT volunteers. Our host and partner for this event held on 3rd Oct. 2012 was Don Bosco Institute of Technology (DBIT), Mumbai. This enabled the opportunity for IT students of DBIT to hone their professional skills in a live environment and to imbibe in them a culture of volunteering for social good. Prior to the event, about 20 NGOs had registered with us along with details of their IT needs which varied from being as simple as troubleshooting the website to as complex as creating an management information system for organizations spread across India.

After a brief introduction and welcome note, each NGO presented their project(s). FPAI, Sujaya Foundation, Salaam Baalak and Maharashtra Dyslexia Association were among the total 12 NGOs that were present.

Ms. Kate Currawala of Maharashtra Dyslexia Association wants a user-friendly website and ecommerce site for their publications. Ms. Zarine Gupta of Salaam Baalak Trust Mumbai Sujaya Foundation speaks about their program and need for online secured data transfer and multi-branch networking

The students zealously listened and then formed groups based on their interests to service the different projects. The student groups are to be mentored by the Comp Sci./IT faculty of DBIT with project timelines ranging from three to six months.

Yashbeer and group takes on the FPAI MIS projectProf. Imran & Deven Shah, Iris Business, taking stock of NGO projects and the students interest in themRahul, student of DBIT, forming a group for open source module customization for FPAI

By the end of the event, seven NGOs benefited from the event and in total eight projects found teams. DBIT student organizing team did a fantastic job of the logistics, etc. so that we could truly focus on the NGOs. A hearty thanks to them (Sydney, Elma, etc.)

As this was a pilot event for us, we hadn’t called in many IT corporates but had conveyed the idea to a few. Mr. Deven Shah from Iris Business was present for the entire time and will be contributing to two of the NGOs. Other corporates such as Cognizant, Mphasis, Mastek, etc. too have shown interest. So don’t be surprised if you see us organizing another one sooner than the next Joy of Giving week.

Next step for us is to work with the NGOs, DBIT faculty and students to scope the projects and plan towards deployment. Watch this space to know more about each project experience and results. Picture abhi baki hain!

12 NGOs brought their IT projects to the 30+ students of DBIT

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Some immediate feedback we got -

"Anyone with experience in the voluntary sector know that one of our biggest limitations is that our administrative systems don't always keep pace with our field activities. ..NASSCOM Foundation's 'Find an IT Partner for your NGO' Event yesterday hit the sweetspot exactly. .. Thank you for bringing us a JGW event that will continue to spread benefit and goodwill for way beyond this week, " says Kate Currawalla from Maharashtra Dyslexia Association.

Fresh from the ConnectIT workshop held from 26-28 Sep, Ms. Zarine Gupta Trustee, Salaam Baalak Trust said "Let me take this opportunity to thank Prashant Pandit who showed great leadership qualities in coordinating and networking with all partners and the NASSCOM Team for taking valuable time of their busy schedule and imparting the IT skills training for NGO's. It was a great learning opportunity for us and hope to put all that we have learnt into practice at Salaam Baalak Trust, Mumbai. This is a great achievement for all of us and I am sure a great CSR activity for NASSCOM ".

A hearty thanks to all who participated in the event either by bringing their projects or by volunteering to work on those projects.

We hope this small event shall scale up to the point where each IT professionals shall work hand in hand with the developmental sector of the country.