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OneWorld South Asia: International NGO relies intensively on open source solutions

by xavier last modified 2009-06-30 10:57

OneWorld South Asia (OWSA), the south Asian centre of OneWorld International Foundation, works to facilitate human rights and sustainable development in the region by leveraging a range of media and Information Communication Technologies (ICTs). For its IT projects, this international NGO, rely intensively on Plone, an open source Content Management System (CMS) and Zope an open source application server.

OneWorld South Asia, New Delhi - April 2009

OWSA has been intensively using the open source softwares Plone and Zope for the last 6 years. Using these technologies, the OWSA team has built over 100 portals with various degree of customization for a wide range of organizations. It has trained over 200 members of NGO communities in developing Plone / Zope based solutions. OWSA is currently working on designing a robust taxonomical map in “Plone Taxonomy” for their work on Climate Change Adaption.

Example of large scale projects built on Plone / Zope

The OneWorld network spans five continents and produces content in 11 different languages, published across its international site, regional editions, and thematic channels. It has been a technical challenge to integrate the content from all sites which were developed using different technologies and platforms.

The mother-site receives RSS Content Feed from various regional editions and it processes the content on a taxonomical map, which draws the commonality and aggregation of development issues from all sites and generate with very minimal editorial oversight. This site is build on Plone3.0 and is 98% W3C compliant.

SAPPLPP is FAO sponsored initiative, collaborated with OWSA to create their knowledge exchange platform: . This was developed in Plone 2.5 with intranet exchange functionalities built within the solution. It also contains discussion and documentation module to facilitate their on-line information sharing.

This site was originally designed for the Asia region of the United Nations Millennium Campaign. It is another example where OWSA technical team relied on high degree of customization in Plone 2.5. These portals are equipped with personalized interaction and communication modules.

  • OWSA used Plone for several additional portals including:
  1. the South Asia Regional Edition (,
  2. the Digital Opportunity Channel (,
  3. the Africa Regional Edition (


Contribution to the open source community

The NGO technical team has worked on various tool and products and actively contributed to the Plone  and Zope communities. It has extensively worked on Archetype to develop custom products, i18n to build multilingual website, psycopg/ZMySqlDA to connect to postgres/MYSQL and many other tools under Zope framework to deliver quality solution.