This post is part of a series spotlighting Asia Pacific nonprofit organisations that have incorporated a thorough understanding of technology and education into their learning programmes for youth. These organisations attended Microsoft’s Tech4Good Summit (12-13 February 2014) in Singapore.
In Hong Kong, you can get the world’s best technological infrastructure, however, there is a considerable number of disadvantaged and deprived people who remain on the sidelines. Digitally excluded groups are mired in a vicious cycle as they continue to be socially and financially disadvantaged, and closing the gap has become a priority for the Hong Kong government and civil society.
One such nonprofit is The Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs Association of Hong Kong (BCGA), which has been promoting the well-being of children and youth since 1936, through direct services, advocacy and research on issues such as the mental well-being, special needs and resource needs of vulnerable families, children and youth.
Children trying out sound recording.
Ida Lim, Assistant Supervisor at BGCA, said, “We’re constantly following changes in society. For instance, the new government cabinet, new secondary qualifications and widening income inequality all affect the young people we work with. We have seen technology help vulnerable groups in certain ways, but we are also seeing low-income families finding it harder and harder to catch up.”
BGCA is now spearheading a chain of educational programmes on digital technologies that aim to do more than simply impart awareness and basic knowledge. These new courses have a heavy focus on coaching participants to solve problems, collaborate and create, effectively training young people to go beyond being mere consumers of technology to being content producers.
One programme, the Digital Creativity Project (DC@7), has monthly workshops to provide hands-on experience with the latest technology such as animation, programming, photo-editing and QR code generation. Children have an avenue to express and explore their creativity through trial and error. This approach not only empowers them with digital literacy, it also drives them to innovate, as well as reinforce their critical thinking and interpersonal communication skills.
A boy tries his hand at drawing with a stylus during DC@7.
Hard and soft skills empowerment is only the first step, as underprivileged youth still need support in accessing opportunities. BGCA and Microsoft have partnered on the ‘Excelling Microsoft Training Programme for Youth’ project to provide 640 underprivileged youth participants with computer skills training, and more importantly, career guidance and entrepreneurship referrals to BizSpark, a Microsoft programme that provides free software, support and visibility to help startups succeed.
Microsoft Corporate Citizenship caught up with Heather Mansfield, Principal Blogger of Nonprofit Tech For Good in Melbourne, Australia to get her perspectives on social media and advice for nonprofits in Asia Pacific.
As part of its Technology for Good programming in Asia Pacific, Microsoft hosts social media workshops for the nonprofit sector. To read about past events, see the event summaries on Storify here. To find out more about Microsoft's resources for the nonprofit sector and upcoming events in your country, subscribe to the Tech4Good e-newsletter.
Stay tuned for the next two parts in this three-part interview series with Heather Mansfield and visit the Nonprofit Tech for Good blog for valuable resources about nonprofits and social media.
Observed since in the early 1900's, International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.
Annually on 8 March, thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements. A global web of rich and diverse local activity connects women from all around the world ranging from political rallies, business conferences, government activities and networking events through to local women's craft markets, theatric performances, fashion parades and more.
So make a difference, think globally and act locally! Make every day International Women's Day. Do your bit to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding.
Join us for this FREE webinar on "Women, Girls & Tech", Thursday, 20 March 2014, at 12:00 pm (Singapore time).
In honour of International Women's Day on 8 March, this month’s webinar will focus on women and girls, showcasing technology solutions and programmes that have impacted their lives. Our panellists come from non-profit organisations that promote women’s rights, health and employment opportunities and women in leadership roles. They will share stories about the role technology plays in their organisations and how it helps to advance their programmes in Bangladesh, Hong Kong and the Philippines.
Our panelists this month are:
· Su-Mei Thompson: Chief Executive Officer, The Women’s Foundation (TWF), Hong Kong
· Dr Ananya Raihan: Executive Director, Dnet, Bangladesh
· Sam Raras: Secretary, Boart of Trustees, WeDpro, Philippines
About our panellists:
Su-Mei Thompson: Su-Mei is the CEO of The Women’s Foundation (TWF), a member of the Equal Opportunities Commission of Hong Kong and the founder of the 30% Club HK, a group of chairmen championing more women on corporate boards. She previously worked at Linklaters, The Walt Disney Company, the Financial Times and Christie’s. TWF is a leading NGO dedicated to the advancement of women in Hong Kong and recently partnered with Microsoft to launch GirlSpark, a new programme to encourage girls to consider careers in tech.
Dr Ananya Raihan: Ananya, an Ashoka Fellow, is the Executive Director of Dnet, a social enterprise for promoting access to information and knowledge for all citizens through interactive digital media. He works to promote the concept of social entrepreneurship to link bottom-of-the pyramid markets with national and global markets. His new concept ‘Infolady’ opens employment opportunities to thousands of women in rural Bangladesh with the power of ICT. Dr Raihan has also been instrumental in launching the first of its kind globally national scale mHealth service ‘Aponjon’ for expecting and new mothers.
Sam Raras: Sam, Secretary of WeDpro’s Board of Trustees, has extensive experience in the areas of Knowledge Management, Gender and Development, Information and Communications Technology and Data Analysis. She has been volunteering for WeDpro since 2005 and has served the organisation in different capacities. Sam has also volunteered in other international development organisations such as GIZ and is a United Nations Volunteer. WeDpro is a nonprofit collective in the Philippines that works in the area of human rights by defending the rights of women, children, youth and their communities through gender responsive development programmes.
We look forward to having you join us for this FREE webinar on Thursday, 20 March 2014, at 12:00 pm (Singapore time).
While Indonesia’s economy is fast rising to be the largest in Southeast Asia, its education sector is still struggling hard to catch up with its economic improvements. The lack of funding and infrastructure continues to challenge the educational progress of many Indonesian children who make up nearly 30 percent of the archipelago nation.
Despite these difficulties, Nura Uma Annisa, teacher and information and communications technology (ICT) manager at pre-school KB-TK Islam Al-Azhar 22 Semarang in Java, persevered so that her school and its 200 students, aged between five and seven years old, would enjoy early years education on par with better-equipped pre-schools.
As an advocator of technology in education, Nura is no stranger to Microsoft. In 2011, she won the Most Edutaining award in the Microsoft National Innovative Teachers Competition, and attended the 2012 Partners in Learning (PiL) Global Forum in Prague. Driven by her passion for better educational outcomes, Nura led her school to participate in the Microsoft IT Makeover Contest Asia Pacific, which saw entries from sectors as disparate as agricultural equipment manufacturing and handicraft-making, and successfully pulled ahead of the other eight finalists to emerge champion.
“Our school’s IT facilities were very outdated. We were using old computers and doing administrative work manually. What we could do was limited, as some computers were running on older Office versions like Microsoft Office 2003,” explained Nura. “That’s why I jumped at this opportunity, for if we were to win, we could transform the way our school operates and advance our teaching methods.”
As the winner, KB-TK Islam Al-Azhar 22 Semarang received US$15,000 worth of Windows 8 Pro devices, Office 365 Small Business Premium seats and Microsoft Support Services. School operations have become more systematic, collaborative and cost-effective; paper usage has been reduced; and staff have increased their teaching productivity.
“Now, the headmaster and teaching staff are able to easily share study plans using OneDrive and Office 365, and are collaborating with the Al-Azhar Pre-School headquarters in Jakarta on the curriculum and study materials. Most importantly, our children are enjoying Windows 8 immensely, as they get to learn and play at the same time!” enthused Nura.
Started in May 2013, Get2Modern SME IT Makeover Contest is aimed at encouraging small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which include educational institutions, in Asia Pacific to enhance their management and simplify increasingly complex business operations with the use of technology.
According to Lucky Gani, Business Group Head, Windows Division, Microsoft Indonesia, “Through this competition, we want participants to look at technology as an essential means of boosting operational productivity, not just an added, optional feature. It is all about modernising their operations and focusing on what matters most for their organisations.”Nura using Microsoft Surface and Windows 8 to teach her early years class
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