From Cambridge to Shenzhen: An update of NGO2.0

Core members of NGO2.0

Core members of NGO2.0

NGO2.0 technology salon

NGO2.0 technology salon

Starting this past August, NGO2.0 evolved from a project originated in MIT’s New Media Action Lab into a Shenzhen-based Chinese nonprofit organization, the TuOu Center for Nonprofit Tech Development. The path from Cambridge to Shenzhen—China’s most progressive coastal city—was filled with obstacles and challenges. Made up of eleven dedicated volunteers, NGO2.0 started off in 2009 as a social-media literacy-training project designed to help grassroots NGOs in the underdeveloped regions of China to leverage new media to collaborate with each other, recruit volunteers, and explore innovative ways of serving their communities. To date, we have taught 340 NGOs across NGO issue areas how to use social media to make their presence visible to each other and to the rest of China beyond the small towns and villages where they are based.

Simultaneously, NGO2.0 has been building a change platform connecting partners committed to transforming China’s philanthropy and public interest sector. Together, the partners are working to create an enabling environment for change makers from different sectors to emerge, find each other, and form communities both online and offline.

Two of our most successful change platforms are the NGO-Techie Group and the NGO2.0/Oracle China’s Nonprofit Technology Group. Each network has drawn participants from foundations, NGOs, IT companies, universities, nonprofit technology startups, software developers and interaction designers’ communities.

We believe in leveraging local resources to solve local problems. But the networks focus less on solutions per se than a socially constructed approach to change, which means building cross-sector dialogues and giving every participant the opportunity to share problems and propose strategic alternatives. In a culture such as the Chinese where “collaboration” is easier said than done, community building will be a prioritized task for us, which includes establishing a network with provincial support-type NGOs that can reach deep into the hinterlands of the country.

Meanwhile, through a connection via the MIT Center for Civic Media, we got in touch with an Egyptian NGO Helwa Ya Balady that expressed interest in using the crowd-sourced map developed by our chief engineer Yu Wang, a CMS graduate student. This chance encounter allowed NGO2.0 to open up the source codes of our map (www.ngo20map.com) sooner than we expected. We are making plans to visit Vietnam to find opportunities for similar collaboration.

Jing Wang

About Jing Wang

Professor Jing Wang is the founder and director of MIT New Media Action Lab and serves as the Chair of the International Advisory Board for Creative Commons China. She holds a joint appointment in Global Studies & Languages and Comparative Media Studies/Writing. Her first book The Story of Stone won her the 1992 Joseph Levenson Prize for the “Best Book on Pre-Modern China.” Her third single-authored book Brand New China: Advertising, Media, and Commercial Culture came out in Arabic, Japanese, and Chinese translations. Her edited volume (with Winnie Wong) "Reconsidering the 2006 MIT Visualizing Cultures Controversy" won the Council of Editors of Learned Journal's "Best Special Issue Award" in 2015. She is currently working on a book manuscript "Activism 2.0 and Nonconfrontational Politics in China." In spring 2009, she launched NGO 2.0, a nonprofit organization that specializes in ICT powered activism. Ford Foundation awarded her an eight-year grant (2009-2017) to develop NGO2.0. A new book INTERNET PLUS PUBLIC GOOD: PLAYING WITH NEW MEDIA was published in 2016. Wang’s current research interests include advertising and marketing, civic media and communication, social media action research, popular culture, and nonprofit technology, with an area focus on the People’s Republic of China.

 
 

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