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  • Technology for development group gets new name


The Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG) — which promotes sustainable uses of technology to alleviate poverty — will change its name next month to Practical Action.

With its new name and slogan, "technology challenging poverty", the organisation hopes to communicate its work "to a new, wider and possibly younger audience".

Although the charity's name is changing, it stresses that its values and its work will remain the same.

The reason behind the name change, it says, is the confusion caused by its old one: the charity has been variously misidentified as a computer company, a bank and even a fashion house.

After numerous requests from its supporters asking it to change its "terrible name and logo", the charity decided it was time to move to a name that more clearly indicates its function.

Cowan Coventry, ITDG's chief executive, told SciDev.Net that its donor base has growing numbers of younger people with whom the term 'intermediate technology' no longer resonates.

The new logo, a stylised image of two people with arms outstretched, forming a circle, has connotations of both 'community' and working collaboratively, says Coventry, but also of a 'widget' or bolt that signifies technology.

Branding and logos may seem more relevant for corporate companies, but Maureen Bosch of UK-based The Media Trust, an organisation that helps charities communicate, told SciDev.Net that branding is just as important for charities.

"The charity world is competitive — there are many organisations competing for donors' support," says Bosch.

"The biggest and most successful charities know that a strong brand sets them apart from the rest — how instantly recognisable is a red cross, or a red ribbon? But a brand is more than just a logo. It gives a first impression of your organisation and shapes the way in which the public perceives your work."

One non-governmental organisation with experience of changing its name is the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World — previously the Third World Academy of Sciences.

Speaking on behalf of the organisation, Daniel Schaffer said that name change had had "minimal" impact because the academy had retained its acronym (TWAS). "Its the acronym more than anything else that is our brand."

ITDG too plans to keep the acronym alongside 'Practical Action', showing that in some instances, you can change your name and keep your old one too.

Although rebranding can be costly, ITDG secured its consultancy services for free.
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