Online Communities for International Do-Gooders

Today I discussed the importance of developing a critical consciousness (along side a compassionate consciousness) with someone in the San Francisco Bay area who is supporting a local organization in Malawi.

But how does a person actually go about this, especially someone who may be new to international assistance? As we all know, openness to learning and seeking out advice from others with experience is vital.

As it just so happens, this week I’ve also been compiling a list of online communities related to international development for a project I’ve just started. Whether you are a seasoned professional or someone just getting involved, I hope the following list can give a glimpse of the growing variety of opportunities available online to connect with others and gain exposure to the various contexts and complexities of international assistance and foreign aid.

For the purposes of this exercise, I have defined online communities as “websites where people congregate online to discuss the topic of international assistance or to identify themselves for possible networking or information-sharing purposes.” Online communities that are locality-specific, such as the Boston Network for International Development, or institution-specific, such as the MIT International Development Network, were not included in this list.

Eventually I intend to add this list as a permanent page on my blog (such as the current links and resources on aid effectiveness and reform). This list would certainly grow with the inclusion of relief work, community organizing, or human rights networks. So please suggest these and others I may have missed in the comments.

Why do we engage, whether online or off?

Because, as a wise woman once told me, “You can’t know what you don’t know.”


International Development Online Communities (General)

Aid Workers Network

Beyond Good Intentions, pioneering a major on-line dialogue about international aid effectiveness in an effort to bring about change

The Communication Initiative Network, an online space for sharing the experiences of, and building bridges between, the people and organisations engaged in or supporting communication as a fundamental strategy for economic and social development and change

Conversations for a Better World, a social platform for raising global issues and finding solutions

Dadamac, Integrating Education and Development in Africa and Online

The Development Café, a global network and interactive website for development professionals and social scientists, Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development, an online community of individuals working for the welfare and betterment of our society (~2,800 members)

Devex, a global community of 500,000 development professionals and one thousand donors, companies, and NGOs

Disasters Emergency Committee

The Eldis Community site, a free-to-use online community where you can meet others involved in international development, discuss issues that are important to you and share useful resources

Galway One World Centre, Education for Global Justice, working towards raising awareness and changing attitudes of people in Ireland regarding global development and justice issues

GenARDIS – Gender, Agriculture and Rural Development in the Information Society (in English and French)

Global Focus Aotearoa, a specialist provider of information and education on global and development issues

Global Humanitarian Assistance, designed to provide impartial and unedited access to data and information relating to humanitarian aid around the world

The Guardian UK’s Global Development Talk Point, a space to connect with other users and share your knowledge of development issues

Healthcare Information for All, HIFA2015, a global email forum promoting the availability and use of relevant, reliable healthcare information for providers in low-income settings. HIFA2015 has more than 3,000 professional members in 157 countries worldwide.

The Huffington Post’s feed on International Development

Humanitarian Dating, meet the world in one place

International Council of Voluntary Agencies

INTernational DEVelopment NETwork (Beta site), a professional networking site for students, scholars, professionals, academics, practitioners and activists dedicated to constructive change and development

The Knowledge Brokers Forum, a collaborative space to promote knowledge sharing and dissemination around intermediary work in international development. It aims to foster a dynamic community for topical discussions, peer advice, and posting knowledge-related blogs., a practical resource for those who work with communities (in the wider sense of the term) to help them identify and adopt more sustainable practices

Mary’s Pence Making Connections, interactive website that allows people to deepen their involvement with the grassroots social justice movement throughout the Americas, a global network of people using mobile technology for social impact

Monitoring and Evaluation NEWS, a blog style website & news service (since 1997), and email list (since 2004) focusing on developments in M&E methods relevant to development programmes with social development objectives. Managed by Rick Davies, and now having 2600+ members worldwide.

MojaLink (Beta site), a professional and organizational network, international altruistic and development directory, and philanthropic communication platform, built to provide collaborative solutions to users and organizations

New Tactics in Human Rights, an online community of more than 2,500 human rights practitioners in more than 130 countries.  Users have access to a database of over 190 specific and successfully-implemented human rights tactics.  The website hosts peer-to-peer exchange through monthly Tactical Dialogues, forming an online global community of human rights advocacy.

Partos Plaza – Netwerken Voor Internationale Samenwerking (in Dutch)

Peace and Collaborative Development Network, a free professional networking site (with over 16,400 members from around the world) to foster dialogue and sharing of resources in international development, conflict resolution, gender mainstreaming, human rights, social entrepreneurship and related fields

People in Aid Interactive, an online network for people management in the aid and development sector, an international platform and online resource and communication tool for all those with an interest in Sport and Development

Society for International Development Forum

Ubuntu Toolbox, a meeting place for those engaged in cross-border understanding, conflict resolution and promotion of diversity

Water for People’s Tap Portal, a social networking site to allow collaborative groups to have deeper conversations on relevant water and sanitation topics, the social network for sustainability

The WiserEarth Directory The world’s largest free and editable international directory of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and socially responsible organizations (over 110,000 in 243 countries, territories, and sovereign islands).

WiserEarth Community A vibrant community of 41,000+ members making connections, sharing resources, solutions, jobs, and events. (Also includes groups, social movement taxonomy and local face-to-face gatherings.), an online network for knowledge-sharing among development professionals worldwide. It has 60,000+ members and nearly 100,000 publications on a wide range of development issues. It is an information service provided by the Development Gateway.

Learning Communities

Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP), a sector-wide network which brings together the major actors involved in international responses to conflicts and natural disasters

Evidence Based Policy in Development Network, a worldwide community of practice for think tanks, policy research institutes and similar organisations working in international development, to promote more evidence-based, pro-poor development policies.

Knowledge Management for Development, a community of international development practitioners who are interested in knowledge management and knowledge sharing issues and approaches

North South Observatory (IHP+Results), network for mutual monitoring and evaluation, analysis and debate of the International Health Partnership and Related Initiatives (IHP+)

Outcome Mapping Learning Community, a virtual hub for you to share experiences, contact other users of Outcome Mapping, and have fun!

Pelican Initiative: Platform for Evidence-based Learning & Communication for Social Change, this space seeks to bring together development practitioners from different disciplines, specialists and policy makers to explore: 1) evidence and learning for policy change, 2) learning in organisations and among partners, 3) society-wide learning among a multitude of stakeholders. The central question is: “How can we learn more from what we do while at the same time having the biggest possible impact on the social change processes in which we engage?

ReliefWeb Communities of Practice (various topics)

The SEEP Network, connecting global microfinance practitioners in a global learning community

Socialbrite, a learning hub and sharing community that brings together top experts in social media, causes and online philanthropy. We’re here to share insights about tools and best practices that advance the social good.

Solution Exchange is an initiative of the United Nations Country Team in India that offers communities of development practitioners a UN-sponsored space where they can provide and benefit from each other’s solutions to the day-to-day challenges they face. We are connecting people who share similar concerns and interests, bringing them together virtually and face-to-face towards the common objective of problem-solving.  As a member of one of our communities [in various sectors], you can proceed with the confidence that you are not reinventing the wheel.


Akvopedia, the open water and sanitation resource, 315 files

Appropedia, a wiki site for collaborative approaches to sustainability, poverty reduction and international development. So far contributors have made 140,291 edits and uploaded 11,859 files.

Global Scale, aiming to create a wiki resource for NGO practitioners where guidelines, lessons learned, tips, links and other help for ‘scaling up’ effective programs can be found

My M&E, a wiki platform to share knowledge on country-led M&E systems worldwide. In addition to being a learning resource, My M&E facilitates the strengthening of a global community, while identifying good practices and lessons learned about program monitoring and evaluation in general, and on country-led M&E systems in particular.

LinkedIn Groups

Sustainable Development International Network – MojaLink™ connects professionals around the world for collaboration. Non Government Organization, NGO, ONG, IGO, economic, community, poverty, social, non profit, sustainability, fair trade, co-op, microfinance, social public policy, green, change, health, environment, empowerment (~4,000 members)

International Development (~1,900 members)

Base of the Pyramid (~1,500 members)

International Development Professionals (~700 members, focused on growth of markets)

Society of International Development (~600 members)

Sustainable Development Africa (~500 members)

Aid Transparency (~130 members)

PMI International Development Community of Practice (~110 members)

Research-Focused Networks

Global Development Network, a leading International Organization of developing and transition country researchers, policy and research institutes promoting the generation, sharing, and application to policy of multidisciplinary knowledge for the purpose of development (~8,000 members)

Hii Dunia aims to give everyone with knowledge or experience in the Development sector the opportunity to share their work in the form of academic research, papers or dissertations. Hii Dunia welcomes submissions from non-professional, semi-professional or wholly professional collaborations or projects.


Related Posts

Aid Worker: First, Know Thyself

Changing the aid system: 5 more ideas from the inside

Development Aid 2.0

Diving into the Deep End

What is our true job?


  1. Pingback: Twitted by savasavasava

  2. Thanks – there’s a lot there I hadn’t heard of.

    Another one is – not that I’ve engaged there much, but it seems active.

    There’s a lot of overlap, and conferences in activity levels. Something I found, in preparing a report on wikis for sustainability and development, is that most of them languish, because it’s easy to set one up, but takes a long-term commitment by several people to keep one going. The only really active wikis for development I know of are:
    *, which has a handful of committed people at the core, plus several service learning classes creating and editing pages as part of their assessment
    * Akvopedia, (less active, and focused more narrowly on water technologies) which has people from the sponsoring NGO working on it

  3. Dear Friends/Colleagues,

    Slums Information Development & Resource Centres (SIDAREC) is mobilizing resources for the completion of Children and Youth Rescue Centre in Mukuru Kwa Njenga slums, Nairobi-Kenya, enabling young people access to library and technology thus improving education standard for people living in the slums.

    If you know of organizations that could donate or individuals who would wish to donate to support our initiative, please reach them out on our behalf.

    I look forward to your support as we push to Raise the Radio in September.

    Kind regards,

    George Onyango
    Deputy Director, Slums Information Development & Resource Centres

  4. RAFFA aims to promote community development and reduce poverty by encouraging enterprise and increased productivity amongst individuals.

    An innovative approach that uses the power of social action as a tool for International Development !

  5. Pingback: Twitted by pfanderson

  6. Pingback: Twitted by dwescott1

  7. Pingback: How Matters / Online Communities for International Do-Gooders « Social Computing Technology

  8. Anne-Marie Heemskerk, Partos

    Thanks for mentioning Partos Plaza Online! Better to provide the link to the homepage. (Sorry, in Dutch only)

    We have another forum, that is strictly for those members of Partos who are involved in applying for program funding from the government, with the aim to exchange information, stimulate cooperation and harmonisation of strategies and activities.

  9. Pingback: links for 2010-09-13 // Aaron Gladders

  10. HIFA2015 is a global email forum to prevent avoidable death and suffering due to lack of availability and use of relevant, reliable healthcare information for healthcare providers in low-income settings. Our goal: By 2015, every person worldwide will have access to an informed healthcare provider. HIFA2015 has more than 3000 professional members in 157 countries worldwide.

  11. Solution Exchange is an initiative of the United Nations Country Team in India that offers communities of development practitioners a UN-sponsored space where they can provide and benefit from each other’s solutions to the day-to-day challenges they face. We are connecting people who share similar concerns and interests, bringing them together virtually and face-to-face towards the common objective of problem-solving. As a member of one of our communities, you can proceed with the confidence that you are not reinventing the wheel.

  12. Very Informative website. Please continue this efforts.

    With Best Wishes

    Dr Alka Singh
    AMRITA [Agency For Multidimensional Research, Implementation,
    Training & Advocacy], India

    AMRITA is a NGO working on social developmental issues, likes, climate change, disaster risk reduction, gender and women development, food security, livelihood promotion, gender, community development etc mainly through capacity building, research and studies and implementation.

  13. Please consider adding Dadamac – Integrating Education and Development in Africa and Online. We introduce people. We help them to work together or to learn from each other. We have been pioneers in effective cross-cultural online collaboration (UK-Rural Africa) since 2004. Our linked organsations in Nigeria are Fantsuam Foundation (annual report
    and Zittnet We also connect with other individuals and organisations active in Africa and with other individuals and organisations active on the Internet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *