Civil Society 2.0 is an initiative to assist non-governmental (NGOs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) in using new digital tools and technologies to increase the reach and impact of their work.
The State Department convened technologists, CSOs, and those who understand the interface of the two groups. Through specific regional events, we gather an understanding of the challenges CSOs face and engage the technology community to help solve them appropriately. In November 2010, a Tech@State: Civil Society event introduced this idea, and its first application, TechCamp, took place in Santiago, Chile.
For TechCamp Santiago, the Department of State and its partner, Personal Democracy Forum (PdF), convened technologists and civil society leaders from around the Americas to identify and implement improvements. Goals of the program include increasing regional civil society organizations' digital literacy, sharing information, building networks and matchmaking like-minded individuals to organizations. By expanding capacity overall through the digital sphere, organizations will be able to work more efficiently toward their goals.
Global and regional technology and social media experts worked together with regional civil society representatives to determine specific need and build practical applications on the following themes:
- promoting social and economic opportunity;
- ensuring the safety of our citizens;
- strengthening effective institutions of democratic governance;
- and addressing the challenges of energy security and climate change.
The issues identified during TechCamp Chile fed into the global Random Hacks of Kindness event in December 2010. The combination of TechCamp training and Random Hacks programming allowed technology volunteers from around the world to assist in developing solutions for the civil society organizations in attendance in Santiago.
TechCamp, a key program of Civil Society 2.0, is a two day training event through which the Department of State pairs leaders in the technology community with civil society organizations to provide training, resources, and assistance that enable civil society organizations to harness the latest connection technologies to build their capacity and advance their missions.