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ATD Blog

Giving Back to the Profession with LINGOs


Fri May 04 2012


Non-Governmental Organizations may be unique in being named for something they are not. Estimates place the number of these cause-oriented international entities at about 40,000, most of which face these two daunting challenges: lack of funding specifically for employee development, and staff dispersed around the globe in hard-to-reach places.  

For retired software and training company executive Eric Berg, who was looking for a way to give back to the profession, this situation was an opportunity calling. In 2005, working with the leaders of several large, international NGOs, including CARE, Save the Children, and Habitat for Humanity,  he co-founded Learning in Non-Governmental Organizations, known as LINGOs. Its mission - to provide learning to the employees of international NGOs operating in three or more countries – is made possible with donations of courses and technology by for-profit training companies, and donations of time and expertise by learning professionals.


LINGOs members are international non-governmental organizations involved in the fields of relief, development, conservation, and social justice. LINGOs partner companies from the learning industry include Articulate, Blackboard Collaborate, eCornell, eLearning Guild, Harvard Business Publishing, Ninth House, The Performance Management Institute, and many others. Their donations enable LINGOs to provide elearning development tools, virtual classroom software, and course catalogs to LINGOs members as part of their low annual membership fee.

Volunteer opportunities

Individual volunteers and corporate teams from the training profession also play a key role in helping LINGOs achieve its goals. An annual competition, Global Giveback, provides the opportunity for course developers to work with international non-profit organizations to develop online courses.


This year, for the first time, Global Giveback will focus on a single area of content ― people management.  Teams will work on a collection of courses that are intended to complement one another.  Together, the courses will comprise a learning library entitled Last Mile Learning targeted to the staff of local, rather than international, NGOs. “There will be 24 courses in various delivery modes that anyone in these local organizations, anywhere on the planet, can access free of charge,” says Berg.


Learners will have the option to complete a single course, or a series of courses leading to a certificate in people management. Content can be delivered as self-paced elearning, synchronous or asynchronous virtual learning, or in a classroom.

For training suppliers looking to become LINGOs partners, contact Eric Berg, [email protected].

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