Countdown to Book Launch
The wait for South Africa’s only verifiable source of information on the development sector, to be published in hard copy, is almost over. PRODDER - NGOs and Development in South Africa 2008 will be launched on 29 November 2007 - just in time to make it to your bedside table and research desktop before the start of the New Year!
For the first time since PRODDER the book was published 20 years ago, pages of data will now be supported by stories and articles providing context to the socio-political environment in which civil society organisations operate in South Africa.
The recent history of PRODDER involves the migration of directory listings from the Human Sciences Research Council print genre to the exclusively on-line environment at SANGONeT. In taking on the PRODDER programme, SANGONeT came face-to-face with one of the NGO sector’s greatest challenges: that of closing the digital divide in the sector. SANGONeT’s strategic objectives involve creating greater access to ICT communications, while also providing a web-based information service that we would like the entire sector to benefit from.
No sooner had PRODDER launched on-line in July 2005 when requests for a print version of this highly sought-after resource started coming through.
In remaining true to our ‘ICTs for Civil Society’ orientation, we have maintained our focus on-line. Traditionally, our experience has been to assist NGOs to convey on-line what already exists in other mediums.
However, with PRODDER 2008 we are taking the on-line environment to print in celebrating the development sector’s strategic leap to cyber space communication. It contain almost 2,000 entries of organisations with up-to-date websites; indexed according to thirty activity areas based on the International Classification of Non-Profit Organisations. These include Child Welfare, HIV/AIDS, Economic Development and Advocacy.
The on-line PRODDER, on the other hand, continues to list organisations that have not yet made it on-line, assisting these mostly community-based initiatives to secure a web presence. As can be expected with the flexibility of and availability of on-line tools, on-line PRODDER listings will contain a depth of information not included in the book. Thus readers and researchers will be invitated to reference the on-line resource for more information as well as updates and changes that occur along the way to our next edition.
The journey to compile PRODDER 2008 has taken us across the breadth and width of South African cyberspace. We have dipped into the minds of researchers, engaged with Corporate Social Investment analysts, knocked on the doors of bureaucrats and have delved deep into the profiles of NGOs, development agencies and networks to identify the stakeholders that shape development programmes and objectives in South Africa.
As if preparing for a print run is not enough, the PRODDER team has been further obliged by our organisational mandate to advocate for the use of ICTs as a means to surpass costly and politically self-absorbed mainstream communications methods. The result is a conceptually new approach to www.prodder.org.za.
As the world goes technorati and facebook crazy, SANGONeT is quietly compiling all the resources we can get hold of to develop a blog space alongside PRODDER listings. These new tools and capabilities will be available in 2008. Civil society programmes work largely as a result of organsations’ ability to network and pool resources. We have much to gain as the development of on-line tools for social networking invades office space, living rooms and internet cafés, transforming the way we communicate to both personal and public audiences.
The potential benefits on active citizenship and involved democracy range from the purely administrative to the possibly contentious as social movements and marginalised groups gain access to mass media.
This is likely to take a bit of time, but it is definitely something to look out for and an excellent reason for keeping your PRODDER Directory listing accurate.
To order your copy of the long awaited PRODDER - NGOs and Development 2008, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org specifying your interest to order the book costing R350 VAT inclusive plus postage.
- Aadila Molale, Project Manager: Directories, SANGONeT.