Dynamics Matters Podcast Ep 105: How to bridge the technology equality divide

With special guest Tim Bachta, Vice President Of Global Technology, Children International.

We discuss:

✔ The role of technology in changing lives

✔ Top tips for fostering technology collaboration

✔ How nonprofits can successful adopt new technology

Transforming lives with technology: A journey with Children International

Technology, deployed and used well, has the power to do good for so many. And it has the power to bridge the gap between those who have access to resources and those who do not. A recent discussion with Tim Bachta,  Vice President Of Global Technology of HSO customer Children International, explored the technology challenges and opportunities faced by nonprofit organisations.

Nonprofit challenges in a digital world

Tim Bachta, speaking on behalf of Children International, identified one of the most significant challenges faced by nonprofit organisations: the digital divide. This divide is most evident when comparing the technological resources available in more affluent countries to the limited access experienced by children and families in impoverished regions. The rapid evolution of technology further widens this gap, as children in some countries have minimal access to the internet or tools for learning.

Bachta highlighted the stark contrast in educational opportunities. In the United States, students receive laptops for school, have assignments online, and learn essential digital skills from a young age. However, in places like Guatemala, Ecuador, and Mexico, access to technology and digital education is often severely limited.

Inspiring change through technology

Despite these challenges, Bachta emphasised the transformative potential of technology, especially for children and young adults living in poverty. Access to technology equips them with valuable skills, making them more employable and breaking the cycle of poverty. When introduced to technology, these children display a remarkable level of curiosity and eagerness to learn, soaking up knowledge like sponges. The key to unlocking their potential is providing the opportunity and resources.

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Technology adoption and transformation

Children International's adoption of technology, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, accelerated their ability to deliver support and resources effectively. Technology proved to be a powerful tool for improving efficiency and reaching a broader audience. Artificial intelligence (AI) played a role in automating mundane tasks, significantly reducing the time and effort required to perform certain activities. AI-driven solutions ensured that essential communication and support could be provided more rapidly, enhancing the connection between sponsors, donors, and the children they serve.

Additionally, some of the community centres run by Children International have introduced technology-related programs, such as robotics, which engage children's problem-solving skills and nurture their inquisitive minds. These programs have opened doors to new opportunities for these children, broadening their horizons.

The role of technology as a catalyst

The COVID-19 pandemic acted as a catalyst for Children International's embrace of technology. Bachta acknowledged that many organisations, including nonprofits, tend to be cautious about adopting new technology unless there's a compelling reason. However, he emphasised that adopting technology need not be prohibitively expensive. In fact, Children International found that leveraging technology wisely and working closely with technology partners, such as Microsoft and HSO, can lead to cost-effective solutions that deliver tangible benefits to their mission.

The power of collaboration and knowledge sharing

Children International's approach to technology transformation involves fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing among their agencies operating in different countries. Monthly meetings help share innovative ideas and problem-solving strategies related to technology. This approach has proven to be effective in enhancing the use of technology in the field and ensuring the benefits of technology adoption are shared throughout the organisation.

Advice for nonprofit transformation

For other nonprofit organisations considering a technology transformation, Bachta offered valuable advice. He stressed the importance of putting on a "business hat" and engaging partners at their level. It's essential to communicate the advantages of technology in a way that resonates with the organisation's mission and objectives. Furthermore, Bachta encouraged NGOs to prioritise simplicity and cost-effectiveness in technology solutions while maintaining a strong partnership between technology and business teams.

Children International's experience with technology adoption and transformation underscores the immense potential of technology to bridge the gap between those who have access to resources and those who do not. By embracing technology wisely and fostering collaboration, nonprofit organisations can make a significant impact in the lives of the communities they serve. Children International's story serves as an inspiring example of the positive change technology can bring to the world's most vulnerable populations.

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