Appropriate IT is a for-profit social enterprise that harnesses the power of technology to advance social justice, equitable access, and inclusive international development. Learn more about the people behind the organization, search open positions, or email partnership enquiries.
What We Do
Information and communication technologies (ICT) have revolutionized the ways in which people, organizations, and corporations communicate, collaborate, and create wealth. ICT is credited with creating a borderless world, accelerating globalization, fostering extraordinary communities, producing people-powered movements, and generating innovative sources of commerce.
Appropriate IT, founded in 2007, develops solutions and expertise to utilize the power and promise of ICTs for sustainable social change across the world, particularly for underprivileged and underserved populations.
AI is a social enterprise that provides different but related services through two program areas:
- Development Academy: Learning program that develops today’s youth, particularly girls and young women, into highly-skilled, employable and socially-engaged leaders of tomorrow. Free software development trainings for underprivileged girls and young women are subsidized with high-quality, fee-based corporate trainings in workforce development.
- Innovation Lab: Applied research and incubator services that pilot innovative solutions, explore emerging technologies, and establish collaborative ventures. The lab explores uncharted territories, searching for innovative, cross-functional and cross-sectoral solutions to long-standing social issues.
By combining these two lines of focus under one entity, Appropriate IT develops emerging technologies through the Innovation Lab and then carries that expertise into the design of optimal workforce development training curriculums for populations underrepresented in the field of technology. Our ultimate goal: an IT sector that is developing game-changing interventions not just for, but also by, underserved populations. We believe this will enable technology to have the greatest possible impact on communities.
Who We Serve
Appropriate IT’s Innovation Lab serves:
- Non-profit organizations that are looking for creative ideas, inventive partnerships, and innovative solutions that utilize current and cutting-edge technologies for social change
- Underprivileged communities around the world, particularly in the Global South, who are being underserved by the new world order being created by technology usage and ownership
Appropriate IT’s Development Academy serves:
- Youth, particularly young women and girls, who are unprepared in terms of the professional, interpersonal, and leadership skills necessary for success in today’s workplace and broader society
- Employers who are seeing high-quality workforce development trainings that prepares their employees with not just the necessary technical skills, but also the critical thinking, creative problem solving, personal responsibility, lifelong learning, and team leadership that today’s professional environment increasingly demands.
Why We Do It
At Appropriate IT, we love the potential and excitement around emerging technologies. We are equally, if not more, passionate about utilizing this cutting edge technology to design solutions for social change.
Why cutting-edge technologies?
AI works on the cutting edge of current and next gen technologies. Many of these are nascent technologies that are shaping the future of education, work, and life.
We have to be actively involved in cutting-edge tech so that we can effectively contribute to shaping the field as it is being developed. Being actively involved = developing technical expertise by undertaking software development projects through AI’s Innovation Lab.
Underprivileged youth, especially young women, should not just be the ‘beneficiaries’ or ‘consumers’ of these tools. We have to create opportunities for underprivileged youth to become ‘creators’ and ‘owners’ of these technologies. Creating opportunities = providing software development trainings in current and next-gen technologies through AI’s Development Academy.
What is a social enterprise? And, why a for-profit social enterprise?
Besides innovating on the technology side, we are also keenly exploring alternate models for doing business. Capitalism 1.0 with its sole focus of wealth creation for investors has resulted in a blinkered approach to the world, resulting in a lot of damage to many other aspects such as environment, eco system, traditions, culture, and community. A for-profit social enterprise model gives us the freedom to strive for a balance with multiple stakeholders – people, planet, and profit.
What makes AI unique?
Founded in 2007, it is run by a team of professionals seasoned in the information technology, finance, non-governmental and nonprofit sectors.
Why open source products at the Innovation Lab?
Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have been developing technologies and tools for many decades now. Many of these remain project-oriented with a lifecycle that ends when the project ends. Appropriate IT is interested in developing technologies that are released with open source licenses for community benefit. This will allow a tool developed for one project in one country to be used in a totally different context and region. If many such projects combine their software development effort and cost, it will be possible to create powerful technology solutions with a strong developer community around it. While releasing software with open source license requires additional effort in the short-term, it is the better option for the long-term.
Why heavy youth focus in the Development Academy?
Globally, youth unemployment is rising, resulting in a socio-cultural turmoil. Our vision for the Academy’s impact goes far beyond the initial value of high-quality workforce preparedness training. As globalization gathers speed, its emerging corporate leaders must be prepared to lead both effectively and responsibly–for the good of their own industries and for the world as a whole. With its emphasis on active citizenship, personal character, and social consciousness, Appropriate IT Development Academy is designed to develop youth not just as model employees and managers, but as future drivers of positive social change.
Why special focus on women & girls?
Revenues from AIDA services will support free and subsidized technology training and professional mentoring for low-income and marginalized young women who face additional language and socio-cultural barriers in accessing high quality jobs.
(note: = impact measurement process currently in progress)
Social Enterprise Financial Sustainabiliy:
AI may have the best training and software development model that creates the most impact on society. However, it will come to nothing if we are not financially sustainable. Our goal is to reach break-even point at the end of five years.
The Academy’s mission is to create highly-skilled, employable, and socially engaged young leaders. We are currently working with monitoring and evaluation (m&e) experts to develop a methodology to collect and evaluate impact in these areas.
The Lab’s mission is to create innovative and cutting-edge technology solutions to solve long-standing social issues. We develop technologies with cross-functional and cross-sectoral usage and release it under open source licenses so the entire sector can benefit. Our current technology footprint can be measured in the number of solutions developed, citizens served, partner organizations, and project countries.