By: Rebecca Furth, Senior Technical Advisor, Initiatives Inc.

Photo Credit: Rebecca Furth

African nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) often have trouble communicating their work and making their organizations known. This limits their ability to create partnerships, generate interest, and mobilize resources. In the past, skilled web developers were required to create websites, often at a prohibitive cost for NGOs with scant overhead funds. The advent of web-builder sites, such as Wix, Weebly, and Jimdo, provides an opportunity for African NGOs to create their own websites and increase their visibility without making large investments.

To address communication gaps and increase organizational visibility among the four local partners Initiatives supports in the Democratic Republic of the Congo under the Challenge TB project, Initiatives developed several tools that guide the selection and use of web-builder platforms and the creation of basic websites. In September 2016, we conducted an online seminar to orient our NGO partners to the different options, the skill and time investment required, and the associated costs of different web-building platforms. Most organizations were not aware that web-builder sites existed, or that creating a basic website could be done without programming skills. They were surprised that the costs of creating a domain could be as low as $7.50 per month, or that it was possible to create a website for free using a sub-domain. Using the tools Initiatives developed, our staff walked partners through an online presentation to familiarize them to the options available, the basic steps in creating a home page, and what basic additional pages they might consider adding, at least for a start. We also discussed different social media platforms as well as their uses and limitations for organizational communication.
 
Our partners have taken some important steps over the last four months. One organization has built a very nice website using WordPress that includes a homepage and four additional pages that describe the organization, the team, partners, and resources. Other organizations are in the process of developing their websites. In the meantime, three of the four organizations also have Facebook pages and one has even begun to post videos on YouTube. The Initiatives’ team will follow up with partners over the next six months to offer additional support to the organizations to help them complete and launch their websites, but the active use of social media platforms is encouraging.

Check out our partners’ website and Facebook pages below:
La Fondation Femme Plus 
Club des Amis Damien
Ligue Nationale Antituberculeuse et Antilépreuse du Congo
Les Ambassadeurs de Lutte contre la Tuberculose