Over the last few years, Microsoft Citizenship Asia Pacific has been supporting Connecting Up's annual nonprofit technology conference. This year, we also caught up with two of this year’s keynote speakers in a short series of interviews at the Gold Coast in Australia.
In this second segment, Beth explains to us the benefits of becoming a networked nonprofit, challenges they face as well as tips to get there, many of which should be relevant and happening right now in nonprofits all round the world.
Stay tuned for the second half of the interview and visit Beth Kanter's blog to view more blog stories of her own.
Join us for this FREE webinar on Monday, 25 November 2013, at 12:00 PM (Singapore time).
Due to its popularity in May earlier this year, we are once again offering the webinar “What Nonprofit Executive Staff Need to Know About Social Media”.
The foundation of a successful online communications and fundraising campaign is built upon a well-designed, well-written website and e-newsletter, as well as a clear understanding of how social media have fundamentally changed how organizations engage and inspire supporters and donors.
The content of this webinar is specifically tailored for executive staff in the nonprofit sector, particularly those who may be skeptical or unclear of the value of social media. The webinar will:
• Demonstrate the value of social media to increase online fundraising and online brand recognition.
• Discuss how much time successful social media communications require, and consequently highlight the need to modify job descriptions of development and communications staff.
• Illuminate how social media success requires professional experience or training in online communications and fundraising.
• Put forward a minimal budget to be successful on the Social Web.
• Examine the need to create a social media policy.
• Present a system to track Return on Investment (ROI).
• Discuss the urgent need to prepare for the Mobile Web.
We look forward to having you join us for this FREE webinar on Monday, 25 November 2013, at 12:00 PM (Singapore time).
This webinar series is being delivered by Heather Mansfield, principal blogger at Nonprofit Tech for Good, as part of Microsoft Citizenship’s regional Tech4Good programme.
“There was a child at the center who was buried by his own parents in the backyard,” said Allen Bailochan Tuladhar, Country Director of the Microsoft Innovation Center Nepal. He shared this after his recent visit to the premises of Self-help Group for Cerebral Palsy (SGCP) with the youth participants of Microsoft Student Partners (MSP) programme.
While the infant was later rescued by his grandparents, others have faced worse fates. In Nepal, it is common for parents of children with cerebral palsy to abandon their children “when they realise it is a health condition that cannot be treated, but has to be lived with,” Allen added.
While Nepal has been successfully reducing poverty, social and welfare services are wanting, including those for people with cerebral palsy, who number around 80,000.
Twenty-six years since it opened in Kathmandu Valley, SGCP remains the only organisation in the country to be dedicated to the rehabilitation of children with cerebral palsy. People with cerebral palsy are “much neglected, and their plight is almost beyond description”, said SGCP in an appeal letter. It’s a “hidden catastrophe”.
MSP students interacting with the children at the SGCP centre
Stigma worsens the situation. There remain strong beliefs that disabilities are due to sins in past lives, and to fate, preventing Nepali parents from accessing appropriate healthcare for children with disabilities. Rural folk also believe that a child is born with cerebral palsy because the mother was possessed.
“The father would abandon the mother and child, making it even more difficult for the mother to provide for the child,” Allen wrote. “In such cases, these children would be caged up, left with food and water and only visited occasionally.”
Girl with cerebral palsy experiments with a tune
SGCP’s long history of providing rehabilitation, counseling and special education for children and adults with cerebral palsy has also seen new grassroots organisations turning to it for support.
Working with SGCP, MSP students decided to give voice to the inner worlds and realities that the 38 children at the centre occupy, as well as raise funds for its wide remit of work. They will apply their skills in digital media by launching a social media campaign this November. To prepare for this, they visited the centre with Allen in July where they observed healthworkers and teachers at work, attended painting classes with the children and interviewed parents.
Ambika Maharjan, currently a sixth-semester student at St. Xavier’s College of Tribhuvan Unviersity, said, “I really wish I could do more for them, especially for the mothers who, as women here, are less empowered economically. But a friend reminded me that ‘no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted’, so I am happy to contribute whatever skills I have, which are currently photography and blogging.”
The visit was also significant for providing Ambika the opportunity to “translate the children’s lives into stories that flesh out their hopes and fears, and talk openly about their needs”.
Young people who are passionate about championing social causes are often interested to learn more about available opportunities for them to make a positive impact, as well as hear from professionals about how they overcome challenges faced in their own philanthropic work.
One such youth is Hae Jin Chang, a tertiary student from the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, who has volunteered for various nonprofit programmes to prepare for a career path in this sector.
Hae Jin Chang, a tertiary student from the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies was one of 28 youth who attended the recent Microsoft Korea event that showcased its commitment to addressing the needs of disadvantaged communities.
"As compared to my exposure to working with nonprofits, I feel that there are not enough opportunities to learn from multinational firms about their corporate social responsibility (CSR) work," she lamented.
Ms Chang was one of 28 youth recently invited to the Microsoft Korea office to take a closer look into the company’s commitment to address the needs of disadvantaged communities across the country, especially through the use of information technology (IT).
Jointly organized by Microsoft and Dream Together, a programme helmed by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the event provided Microsoft the platform to showcase its CSR initiatives in three main areas: human rights, environmental issues and corporate governance. Microsoft Korea employees who are involved in leading CSR efforts took the opportunity to highlight their own experiences in supporting community projects and making a social contribution.
Jin Hee Bae, Corporate Affairs Specialist at Microsoft Korea, said, “From my personal perspective as someone who joined Microsoft without much prior knowledge of CSR work, I have been exposed to many opportunities to learn through training and mentorship programmes, plus getting involved in our various social initiatives.”
Ms Chang said, “By interacting with Microsoft Korea's CSR team, I was able to gain valuable insights into how I can work towards accomplishing my dream job and learn more about how they execute their CSR programmes.”
The CSR team at Microsoft Korea is focused on a wide range of activities that have a direct social and environmental impact. These activities include participation in high-level discussions to help shape public policies, collaborating with local nonprofits and boosting the technology capacity of young South Koreans.
Under its global YouthSpark initiative, Microsoft Korea has launched a series of youth-focused programmes aimed at addressing youth unemployment and closing the opportunity divide. These include collaborating with around 149 South Korean universities to boost IT capabilities as well as encouraging young innovators to take part in the annual Imagine Cup competition, which serves as a catalyst for youth to develop innovative technology solutions to address global problems.
Another recent highlight of Microsoft’s programmes is the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed with the South Korean Ministry of Unification and the North Korean Refugee Foundation to provide IT education and training support for youth defectors from North Korea.
Hwan Lee Kim from the Korea Social Responsibility Institute (KOSRI) highlighted how the CSR initiatives from Microsoft Korea are setting a good example for other South Korean corporations.
Ms Kim noted, “Microsoft Korea has key CSR strategies such as spreading education and IT opportunity equally, which is deeply integrated into its business. I am delighted to attend this event because Microsoft's mission to help social enterprises is aligned with KOSRI's objectives. I am also grateful for this collaboration between Dream Together and Microsoft Korea, and hope Dream Together will continue encouraging Korean companies to further their social contribution.”
“The CSR team at Microsoft Korea is focused on a wide range of activities that have a direct social and environmental impact.”
Jin Hee Bae, Corporate Affairs Specialist, Microsoft Korea
What if building a home was as easy as connecting a series of cubes, a fast and relatively inexpensive process that didn't require any specialized skills or training? Three and a half years ago, this "crazy idea" came to Malaysian entrepreneur John-Son Oei, who at age 22 decided to act upon his dream to help the underprivileged indigenous people of his country.
Read more about young people like John-son and Microsoft YouthSpark programmes.
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