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It seems appropriate to use SANGONeT’s slogan as the title for this launch editorial on our new development information portal for and about the NGO sector in South Africa (SA). What SANGONeT is achieving through this portal as well its launch via a four-city digital video conference (DVC) event is the essence of “linking civil society through ICTs”.

The launch of this portal signifies a new era for SANGONeT and for the NGO sector in general. For us it crystallizes the confluence of our varied civil society support programmes into a sharply focused, but comprehensively responsive support service for the NGO sector in SA. On the other hand, never before in SA has the NGO sector had access to information covering this diversity of issues and aimed at enhancing its impact on the ground.

This portal is primed to become the gateway to the South African NGO sector, boasting the most comprehensive, validated and easily searchable NGO directory in the country, containing information about approximately 2,500 organisations. This directory is augmented by wide ranging and diverse information for and about the sector, including, general news, press releases, campaigns, vacancies, event calendars, case studies, toolkits and research reports.

This is further enhanced by the inclusion of a technology planning and procurement facility. The bonus for the NGO sector is the inclusion of a donor database on the portal, viz., the Thusanang Donor Database, which has compiled information about more than 100 donors, including the kinds of projects they fund, the size of their grants, their geographic focus and their contact details.

Look out for NGO Pulse, which is the portal’s weekly newsletter that will be released every Tuesday, keeping you abreast of new postings on the site, including news, opportunities and analysis.

We are extremely excited about the potential of this portal, but also aware that its success depends not only on information sourced by ourselves, but on the proactive contributions of our NGO constituency. So please, call, e-mail and fax us, our team is on hand to process your contributions.

Needless to say, the launch of any new product is followed by a period of experimentation and review; we trust that you will bear with us as we build on what we have developed in response to your feedback and our technical boundaries. Kindly take this opportunity to review the portal by participating in the poll on the bottom right of your screen.

This portal is managed by SANGONeT’s Deputy Director, Fazila Farouk, if you have any queries, please contact fazila@sangonet.org.za.

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