I recently had the honor of learning more about Computacion Olidata in Washington D.C. during the annual Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference. Olidata is the winner of our Citizenship Partner of the Year award and exemplifies an exceptional commitment to social responsibility. The Partner awards honor Microsoft Registered, Certified and Gold Certified partners for delivering exceptional solutions and services in a number of categories. Award winners and finalists were chosen from nominations from around the world. There was stiff competition this year with nearly 3,000 entries for 67 categories submitted by partners from more than 110 countries.

It is always incredibly inspiring to read about the great work shared by our partners in the area of citizenship, using their expertise and resources to solve societal challenges and create opportunities. This year, our finalists included Training Camp from the United States and CTTC from Pakistan. Both of these companies should be congratulated for their passion and commitment in supporting economic growth in their respective countries through technology training.

Olidata has a longstanding focus on social responsibility, and that is one of the reasons they were chosen as the overall winner. Along with Microsoft and other local partners, they have supported the technology skills training of more than 600,000 individuals in Chile since 2003.

Their response to the earthquake in Chile in February of this year truly exemplified their commitment to helping their local communities. Olidata supported “ChileConect@Chile” to quickly restore public access to the internet via semi-permanent Community Technology Centers (CTCs), connecting victims with their loved ones through digitally equipped mobile containers (pictured below) placed in some of the most devastated communities. This initiative was carried out under the National Digital Literacy Program executed by the Rural Life Training Foundation (Fundacion Vida Rural) and supported by the Chilean government. The effort provides access, digital literacy skills and expanding opportunities for those impacted by this natural disaster. There are plans to install 50 container CTCs in the earthquake zone.

There is a growing expectation for the private sector to actively engage society to drive positive social and economic change. Judging by the volume and quality of submissions for this year’s Citizenship Partner of the Year award it’s clear that our partners are taking this responsibility very seriously.

Fred Humphries

Vice President, U.S. Government Affairs