eRiders Are Taking Off, I Hope

November 18, 2005

The concept of eRiders is deceptively simple: people with lots of tech skills don't need to be on the staff of every NGO or nonprofit, they can "ride" a circut of folks that they help. This idea is being presented at WSIS this week, and I think it is an incredibly powerful idea that will be used increasingly around the world.

TUNIS, Tunisia — One of the focuses of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) process has been on the cross-cutting nature of technology, and how it can act as an enabler of other development objectives.

Civil society has always had a significant part to play in development objectives and achieving the . Except for a few notable examples though, civil society has not fully embraced technology in its development work.

In a workshop session on eRiders at WSIS, Toni Eliasz from Ungana-Afrika today presented a "replicable and low cost ICT capacity building and support model" uniquely suited to enabling technology within this under-resourced sector.

He presented eRiders as an ICT consultancy solution for small, mission-focused NGOs which can't afford a full-time technology support person.

eRiders are consultants that work with a group of development organisations concurrently. They are motivated by the development objectives of the organisations they work with, but their focus is on helping these organisations employ technology to achieve their missions.

Although eRiders perform a number of technical functions, one of their key functions is demystifying technology and making the concepts accessible.

Initially, an eRider's focus will be on smoothening normal operational activities within an organisation. As the relationship develops, the eRider will encourage a more strategic approach to technology, and new program delivery innovations may become available through technology.

Internet & ICTs for Social Justice and Development News - APC