Empowering Grassroots Level Organizations Through the .ngo Top Level Domain

1 September 2014 - A Pre-event on Other in Istanbul, Turkey


Organisers: Digital Empowerment Foundation & Public Interest Registry


The .ORG is one of the globally identified domains, which have been shaping the identity of numerous global communities such as businesses, educational and academic institutions, large scale and small scale enterprises, communities, campaigns and individuals. Numerous entities all over the world today rely on the .ORG extension to propagate their various objectives ranging from strictly economic, commercial to more widespread political and social causes.

Globally across the Internet, the .ORG domain epitomizes a symbol of trust, global recognition, integrity, reliability and a tool to give that much needed edge for any organization to become visible and carve an identity in the highly networked information age today. The information producers and consumers on the web today not only strive to seek a virtual face and identity, but also seek an identity that, will speak volumes for the entity it represents to validate its authenticity. This is where the .ORG has been successful over the years in creating a benchmark standard for an organization’s visibility and credibility over the Internet.

The voluntary segment in India has been prominent since the post-independence days. However, these groups achieved a status of “non-governmental organization” (NGO) only in the 1980s. NGOs have had a huge role to play in India’s democratic functioning of the society by means of aiding Government agencies in addressing grassroots level issues or by bridging gaps in various development aspects of the society. Hence, these bodies come second in line to the government in terms of possessing huge amounts of information laying in the bottom most segment of the society.

India is home to more than 3.3 million NGOs, Self-help groups and other such units. However, more than 70% of them do not have a virtual face despite doing substantial ground work and having huge repository of information and content probably due to lack of funds, lack of accessibility to resources and lack of awareness. All this accumulates to the volumes of information that is just waiting to be showcased and tapped!

The Digital Empowerment Foundation who, actively works in information dissemination, community empowerment and digital content creation at the bottom most level using ICTs, found it necessary to tap such institutions and equip them with ICT and Internet tools to create a virtual presence and identity.

DEF along with Public Interest Registry (PIR) conceptualized the “eNGO” programme to address these issues. The “eNGO” is a web enabled facility for civil society and non-governmental organizations working at grassroots level to harness the power of modern information and communication technologies to help in dissemination of information, reach out to a wider audience and overall help achieve a holistic ICT integrated development in the communities served by these organizations.

The “eNGO” program since its inception has seen empowered over 2000 NGOs across India, Africa and South Eastern Countries and registered and created the much needed virtual presence and identity that has been lacking for these entities owing to lack of funds or awareness.

The session will make an effort to explain how eNGO programme has enabled grassroots organizations to not only must an entity have a virtual face and identity, the identity must also be such that it invokes a sense of recognition, integrity about its goals and trust and helps the organization achieve the visibility that it seeks. While the global world goes about creating online identities for information exchange and networking, only those organizations that have identities to vouch for their trustworthiness and reliability of the source of information will gain the extra mileage.

Format: Open session and small group work with moderator. The session will begin with brief comments by participant on priorities for this drafting process and then break-out groups.

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