What is NGO-in-a-box?
Tactical Tech's NGO-in-a-box project is a series of innovative toolkits designed to meet the specialised technology needs of non-profit organisations such as NGOs, activists, independent journalists and community groups.
As the name suggests, each toolkit is a box containing:
- CDs containing specifically selected Free and Open Source Software
- easy-to-use tutorials
- hands-on guides
- informative case studies
Each toolkit covers a specific theme, providing comprehensive solutions to the very real technological issues faced by today's NGOs – and produced specifically to address the realities of their work.
Four toolkits are currently available:
- Base-box: a collection of essential tools for setting up and running a small-to-medium sized NGO.
- Digital security and privacy: crucial security resources for human rights defenders and independent journalists handling sensitive information.
- Audio and video: the basics for producing and distributing audio video material.
- Open publishing: for producing and disseminating text and images.
All toolkits are put together by a team of international experts in each field and rigorously peer-reviewed by an editorial team – with the needs of non-profit organisations to the fore at all times.
All toolkits are provided to the non-profit community free or at low-cost.
How does it help?
NGO-in-a-box demystifies the use of technology for non-profit organisations.
It does this in five very important ways:
- Finding the right software: each toolkit selects the most relevant tools, making specific recommendations and choices, so that non-profit organisations don't need to trawl through the overwhelming amount of software available.
- Helping with implementation: all software is accompanied by guides, documentation and, where possible, training material – making it easy-to-use even for those with limited technological expertise.
- Improving access: distributed in CD and USB format, software is immediately available and easier to share.
- Providing legal solutions: by providing FOSS and fully licensed materials, we ensure that organisations have access to legal tools that can be freely shared and often improved upon and localised by their users.
- Diversifying access: toolkits can be easily localised and many have been translated into local languages. For example, the Security toolkit is currently being localised into Spanish, French, Arabic and Russian.
In practice, NGO-in-a-box frees busy advocates and organisations from the troublesome difficulties of finding, selecting and implementing the right software – freeing them to use their time addressing more urgent and immediate concerns, supporting people and communities in need.
It also provides a solution for those with limited and sporadic internet access, providing the tools and materials in-hand and in a form that is easy to copy and pass on.
Moreover, by putting the tools of production and distribution and the means of collaboration and mobilisation into the hands of the non-profit community, NGO-in-a-box helps to make that community – and all of its vital work – more effective and powerful.
How is it distributed?
Since 2003, Tactical Tech has distributed 4,000 hard copies of NGO-in-a-box ( boxes containing CDs and booklets) to organisations and communities worldwide. These are often distributed at training events and conferences or by post.
All the information contained in the toolkits can also be accessed online and downloaded. Tactical Tech currently provides 2,000 downloads of materials and software from its website every single month.