A total of 52 participants, comprising NGOs from Penang, Perak and Kedah, attended the first NGO roundtable event held in Malaysia on 5 April. Ms Yap Soo Huey, the Science and Technology officer from the Chief Minister’s office represented the Penang Tech Center and lauded the event as highly beneficial for participating NGOs. YBhg Dato’ Mary Ritchie, Governor of the Tun Sardon Foundation, stated that the roundtable is a first step towards engagement with Microsoft, and saw this as new ground for further collaboration.

Jasmine Begum, Corporate Affairs Director of Microsoft Malaysia, shared her insights on how cloud computing could help NGOs further reduce their overhead costs, while serving the underprivileged community. Gillian Pearl, Non Profit Technology Lead, then shared her thoughts on social media for nonprofit organizations – including best practices and the dos & don’t in social media. Many NGOs found the session particularly insightful, as the tips and tricks could potentially help them reach out to a larger number of beneficiaries and stakeholders. The participants also had the opportunity to hear from Vio Monsayo from the Visayan Forum Foundation. He shared his experiences on how technology enabled higher productivity and communication in his organization.

Finally, Mandeep Kaur, Community Affairs Manager for Microsoft Malaysia, shared information on programs available to NGOs, including those offered by TechSoup Asia, an organization that delivers technological resources to NGO’s and civil society organizations in Asia Pacific.

All in all, the event was a hit. Rashidah Begum, Friends of Penang Botanic Gardens Society, summed it up by saying, “It was a very good information-sharing session by the Microsoft staff, who showcased a secure understanding of NGOs in Malaysia.”