Social Media for International Development

An exploratory study of social media use in development activities by Dutch Development NGOs.


The following research question has been investigated: how do Dutch development NGOs use social media to further the development activities of their organisations? The purpose of this study is to understand how development NGOs are trying to get to grips with social media.


The research has unveiled the relationship and interplay between development NGO’s strategic developmental goals, via its perceptions on social media, and the actual use within projects.  Richer insight has been gained in the deeper relationship of different NGO mind-sets simultaneously governing the NGO’s development activities within the same organisation and thereby requiring different approaches and use of social media for development.


01 September 2011 - 01 December 2019


Given the exploratory nature of this research, a qualitative research approach was adopted. Both case studies and the grounded theory method were used for this study. This combination is ideal because with a case study one tries to understand, or explore a phenomenon, whereas,in grounded theory studies, one tries to build theory.

Impact of the research

The possible transformation from some development NGOs to digital social enterprises have implications on the development sector. The NGOs’ development paradigms are linked to the uses of social media in development.

Insights form the research has been incorporated in various master studies and bachelors honours course on digitalisation & internationalisation.


HU researchers involved in the research

  • Anand Sheombar | Researcher | Process Innovation and Information Systems
    Anand Sheombar
    • Researcher
    • Research groups: Process Innovation and Information Systems
  • Pascal Ravesteijn | Professor | Process innovation and information systems
    Pascal Ravesteijn
    • Professor
    • Research groups: Process Innovation and Information Systems

Collaboration with knowledge partners

Extra information

  • Dissertation
  • Blog about the research project
  • ArticleSocial Media and Development: Understanding NGO practices and perceptions
  • Article: Constructing an Applicability Framework for Organisational Social Media Use by Development NGOs
  • Social media: Anand shares knowledge about digital developments with a broad audience of NGO's, academics en interested people in this facebookgroup

Any questions or want to collaborate?

Anand Sheombar | Researcher | Process Innovation and Information Systems

Anand Sheombar

  • Researcher
  • Research group: Process Innovation and Information Systems