Posted by Djam BakhshandegiCitizenship and Partners in Learning Program Manager in Microsoft’s West, East, Central Africa and Indian Ocean Islands region
Since we opened our first African office in 1992, our work has been fueled by both a passion for this continent, and a belief that technology has incredible potential to transform the lives of people, governments and economies and to bring about positive change across African society. Our Citizenship work in Africa, we hope, has served as an expression of that belief, supporting our mission – to help people and businesses in Africa realize their full potential.
We recently published our Microsoft 2011 Corporate Social Investment Report for West, East, Central Africa and Indian Ocean Islands (WECA & IOI) – an important report not only because it’s a reflection of how we hold ourselves accountable as a global corporate citizen - but also because it’s a reflection of whether or not we’re holding true to our passion and belief in the transformative power of technology we were founded on now twenty years ago. I’m pleased to say, I believe we are. Having had the privilege of seeing our social investments in action - and to speak directly with individuals whose lives have been impacted – I can attest that this report represents much more than a summary of our activities. It represents a real transformation taking place in lives and communities in Africa - the result of concerted efforts by Microsoft and its many innovative partners across the continent to use technology to address some of the most pressing issues in African society today.
At the core of our social investment strategy in Africa lies youth and innovation – particularly relevant on a continent where 60% of the one billion plus population is under the age of 30. Here are just a few examples of the work we’ve accomplished in 2011 that I’m particularly proud of:
Understanding that providing for the practical needs of communities in Africa supersedes all, last month saw Microsoft surpass its commitment to support NGO’s responding to the Horn of Africa crisis. With the support of the Microsoft Community Affairs Corporate Team at our headquarters in Redmond, we have now provided over $10.5 million in software and added support to a number of on the ground activities. This collaboration is projected to increase by at least 30% in coming months.
You’ll learn about these and many more accomplishments in this report. We welcome your thoughts and suggestions on how we can better harness the power of technology to continue to meet tomorrow’s challenges in Africa.