Youth & Opportunity
Engineering , Math
2011 will mark an important year for the Microsoft Community Technology Skills Program (CTSP) in Mexico. In collaboration with several local NGOs, the country’s team is busy creating nine Community Technology Centers (CTCs) to help improve job opportunities and increase productivity for more than 11,000 people in underserved communities in Chihuahua, Coahuila, Distrito Federal, Estado de Mexico, Guerrero, Oaxaca and Puebla. This adds to the already existing 125 Microsoft-supported CTs in the country.
This collaborative project kicked off in September with a workshop led by Microsoft Mexico, where Fundemex a CTSP nonprofit partner-- and representatives from organizations that benefit from the CTSP program participated in laying the groundwork for the creation of the centers. This project was unique and created a working model that will ensure that centers comply with the shared goals of partners and make a meaningful use of technology to provide assistance to deserving communities.
In October, Microsoft and Fundemex announced the grant recipients. In addition, Microsoft Mexico’s general manager, Juan Alberto González Esparza, shared news about a company donation of 1 million pesos in funding, software and digital literacy courses to support the project.
Building the centers will create a much needed community resource in the seven selected states. NGOs are critical partners in helping to reach people who need technology training the most, but don’t have the opportunity to participate or benefit from other programs, especially in hard-to-reach border towns.
Alejandro Ramírez from “Fundación Ayú”, one of the organizations who will create a CTC, best describes the impact of technology in helping communities: “social development is key for improved opportunities for families and neighborhoods and skills training are essential for helping them realize their potential.”
Ramírez adds that Microsoft’s easy to use products not only help build technology skills, but also help provide tools so that rural communities like the ones they serve can promote and sell the products they create.
We are very excited to follow this project through completion and will provide updates on progress and achievements.
Karla Solís, is a Marketing Specialist and Community Affairs Coordinator at Microsoft Mexico
Note: Spanish version of this post.
Like our colleagues in other countries the work we do in local communities is very important to us and as we move closer to Christmas it's great to be able to tell you about something that Microsoft UK is doing to help the vulnerable and underprivileged children in our communities this festive season.
For ten years now we have run our 'Giving Tree' campaign in the Microsoft Thames Valley Park offices, situated in South East England. In recent years we've also expanded our Giving Tree campaign to other offices across the United Kingdom.
Each 'Giving Tree' is decorated with Giving Tags, each of which contains a wish from a child with a disadvantaged background. Local charities know these children – some of them are in care, have lost their home, or are in Women's Refuges with little more possessions than the clothes they came in. Our employees pick tags from the Giving Tree and buy the gift which is then sent to the child to brighten their Christmas.
This year, we made the decision to open an 'online branch' of the Giving Tree, giving employees who don't work in one of our main UK offices or workers based at home the opportunity to browse the Giving Tree via the Microsoft intranet.
We took the idea to two of our fantastic technical interns from Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS). They built the new online Giving Tree on Microsoft technology using our Microsoft SharePoint Server technology with a user interface written in Microsoft Silverlight. Now an employee simply needs to visit our Giving Tree intranet site and 'drag' the virtual tags from the tree. Our MCS interns also developed functionality that provide access for users with limited dexterity or those using screen readers.
Pictured: The team behind the online Giving Tree (Left to right: James Glading, Technical Consultant, MCS; Michael Tsikkos, Technical Consultant, MCS; Adam Jackson, Community Affairs Coordinator, Microsoft UK)
We anticipated that around 30% of our Giving Tree tags would be taken this year using the online application. However happily this was rather an underestimation, in fact around 70% of our Giving Tree tags have had to be put online to cope with demand. One week into our campaign we've already distributed more tags than over the whole campaign last year, and we're running out fast. Of course more tags mean more happy children this Christmas.
Find out more about our Thames Valley Park Tree and one of the organizations we're supporting this Christmas at http://bit.ly/fVnqMi.
You can find out more about Microsoft’s Citizenship efforts in the UK here.
Adam Jackson, Community Affairs Coordinator, Microsoft UK.
Adam is on a year-long internship with Microsoft UK. He looks after Employee Engagement, Work Experience and Environment communications. He is studying Human Resource Management and in his spare time enjoys travel and volunteering.
Typically, helmets, riding suits, gloves and goggles that are the best way to keep motorcyclists safe on the road.
It’s time to add PowerPoint to the list.
Motorcycle-related accident statistics are sobering. Motorcycles represent 4% of the United Kingdom’s road trips, yet make up a staggering estimated 40% of traffic casualties.
In West London, the all-volunteer charity Middlesex Advanced Motorcyclists (MAM) helps train bikers in advanced riding and road awareness techniques to keep them out of harm’s way.
Software donated by Microsoft through its global nonprofit donations program, which is operated by TechSoup Global and in the UK by the Charity Technology Exchange (CTX), has quickly become an invaluable tool in the charity’s training armory.
“PowerPoint is very good for what we need,” says Paul Brown of MAM. “We use it to produce presentations for the courses, including instructional videos. There are a lot of theory-based sessions, and now we can present information from the police riders’ manual more effectively.”
PowerPoint has made a noticeable difference in how the charity educates motorcyclists. Paul further explains, “We run courses that raise the riders’ skill levels and aim to make them more aware of their surroundings on the road. In this way, we aim to reduce casualties and save lives.”
In addition to classroom training using PowerPoint, practical training is carried out using Observed Rides. The Associate rides out with an experienced Observer, usually on a one-to-one basis. An Observed Ride is two to three hours riding between 50 to 80 miles. More information here.
Photo Credit: Middlesex Advanced Motorcyclists
Bonus link: Becky Wiegand at TechSoup has published her five favorite PowerPoint features.
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