The South Asian hub of the world-wide NGO-in-a-box initiative was launched at the start of this year by Mahiti.org, < ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Bangalore with the support of Hivos, Netherlands. NGO-in-a-box is an initiative of the Tactical Technology Collective, Netherlands with the aim of providing effective Free and Open Source Software applications tailored to specific needs of the non-profit sector.
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There are several 'boxes' of CDs containing tools that address needs such as open publishing, security and audio visual production. Mahiti.org will be distributing various editions of the boxes across South Asia over the next two years. In parallel they will be holding a series of workshops across India which will train NGOs in the use of the boxes and the issues they aim to address. Workshops are not only designed to address the training needs of NGOs but they will help organisations build up a sustainable technical self support network. This will be bolstered through the strategic use of a mailing list, online wiki, support forum and telephone support desk. It is hoped that the project will attract tech savvy students and professionals who will supply a second layer of support. The boxes themselves will be refined on the basis of feedback gathered from users and workshop participants. The NGO-in-a-box organisers are especially keen to support the role of women within beneficiary organisations and promote the use of Free and Open Source Software within women's groups. The first NGO-in-a-box workshop to be held in India will take place from 19th to 24th March 2007 in Pune, Maharastra.