Today is World NGO Day, which is held to recognise, celebrate and honour the contributions and profound impact that these independent, not-for-profit non-governmental organisations have on the world.
Last year, CSO Go, in collaboration with The Cropper Foundation, hosted its first World NGO Day virtual fair.
The event attracted over 150 CSOs (Civil Society Organisations) to the two-day event and because of its initial success, addressing various topics such as the environment, and social and humanitarian issues, more participants have been registered for this year’s CSO Go’s two-day virtual seminar to mark World NGO Day 2023.
Day one, themed The Importance of good governance for NGOs, will be staged today, while The role of digitalisation in a modern NGO will be the theme tomorrow.
Speaking with the T&T Guardian over the weekend, Cropper Foundation CEO Omar Mohammed said: “We have over 200 persons registered over two days already, it’s a continuation of a very successful event from last year.
“This year, on February 27 and 28, we’re going to be focused on the role of digitalisation in a modern NGO and going to touch on the tools available to them.
“If you’re registered for non-profit in T&T, you have access to an amazing range of Microsoft products for free, as well as Canva, a free-to-use online graphic design tool for up to 20 persons if registered as non-profit.
“There’s also data privacy, what it means for NGOs, cyber security, corporate governance, what does it mean to have a board, what it means for NGOs in terms of transparency and accountability.”
Asked if there were any world or external influences that can affect the organisation, such as the war in Ukraine or AI (Artificial Intelligence), he said a lot of what they did was focused on sustainability and the concept of think global, act local approach.
Mohammed said everything was interconnected, noting the world food supply was affected by the supply chain disruption and exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, while climate change impacts every facet, from health and migration.
Regarding AI, he said the organisation had been focused on bringing this sort of innovation space within the Caribbean for civil society.
Mohammed added that the group had just completed a National Geographic grant and worked with TTLAB, from UWI, to pilot test how AI can be used to help small farmers in T&T and other islands by using drone technology to map their farms and gather more up-to-date ground data.
He suggested that AI can also be used to help pull citizen opinion together faster on issues such as policy and legislation.
Mohammed said regular citizens can support NGOs in many different ways, such as volunteering, providing financial support through donations and contributions, attending events by NGOs in their communities, and joining groups on social media with like-minded conscientious people who share their passion and interests.
He said CSO Go was created to be a voice for the civil society sector as a whole, and as a service exchange hub and digital platform that connects skilled professionals with civil society organisations.
Mohammed explained that CSO Go was led by TCF with some initial funding by the IDB and was meant to become a one-stop digital portal to support the civil society sector in several different ways.
He said having events like the World NGO Day seminars will enable them to build an e-learning platform on the site, with civil society-specific online courses and project management and others coming up, while people can also post jobs, volunteering and funding opportunities.