Youth & Opportunity
Engineering , Math
Cross posted from the Microsoft Canada Blog
Using the transformative power of sport and play, Canadian-founded international development organization Right To Play is improving the lives of children in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the world.
Today, RTP is running about 50 projects across Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America, and in 2009 its programs reached a total of more than one million children in regular weekly programming and special sports events and festivals. By the end of 2009, RTP was also reaching more than 700,000 children in weekly, regular sport and play activities.
But as a rapidly growing organization, RTP was facing several challenges: communications between staff members and with donors wasn’t working well, and financial tracking wasn’t very time efficient. RTP asked an external consultant to review the organization’s technology infrastructure and based on the recommendations from the resulting strategic IT plan, RTP decided if it was to truly improve its day to day operations, it would need to implement a major technology overhaul.
“We really needed to take an overall look at our technology needs and catch up to where we should be in terms of providing our staff and volunteers with the type of infrastructure that is required to run an organization approaching 500 employees across 26 countries, and a donor-base that is equally as geographically dispersed,” says Robert Witchel, RTP’s National Director.
RTP decided to reach out to Microsoft for support and Microsoft provided enough software for the team to realize a significant portion of its new five-year plan.
“Microsoft quickly pointed us in the right direction,” says Witchel. “We were absolutely thrilled to receive a grant of software in the amount of $750,000. It allowed us to accelerate our technology plans at a rate that was, just a few months earlier, unthinkable.”
Witchel says the improved technology has directly impacted the organization’s day-to-day operations.
“It has already transformed the way that we work,” says Witchel. “It has freed people to manage their time more productively, operate more efficiently, and improve communications and donor outreach.”
“This is just an incredible thing for us because the impact that we can have on children around the world is directly related to our ability to raise funds,” he says.
Here is a quick snapshot of just some of the key benefits Witchel shares:
· Improved communications: Microsoft CRM Dynamics was deployed so the charity would have the tools and technology to improve communications with its donors. One office was even able to triple its campaign letters from the year before and double its campaign revenues, because the solution improved the team’s ability to organize its contact-base.
· Websites: Microsoft SharePoint allowed RTP to design an externally facing website that could easily be duplicated across each of its national offices, giving the teams the flexibility to populate their own sites while staying within the RTP brand.
· Intranet: RTP now also plans to build its intranet portal on Microsoft SharePoint, making it possible for RTP staff and volunteers from all over the world to share stories from the field, as well as photos and reports, with the entire organization.
But they’re not stopping there. In the future the RTP team hopes to leverage Microsoft technology to distribute program resources to teams in the field, participate in video training, and maybe even connect children of various languages and cultures together.
“Our partnership has been wonderful so far,” Witchel says. “We really enjoy Microsoft’s collaborative approach, and we hope that we’re just at the beginning of what will be a long relationship.”
To learn more about Right To Play visit: www.righttoplay.ca
Be sure to tune in next week for more Nonprofit Technology stories during #11NTC, March 14-20:
Microsoft.com/Citizenship will be taken over by KEXP.org, The American Red Cross, The Nature Conservancy, Boys and Girls Club of America, and Kids in Need of Defense (KIND).
To stay up to date on the latest Citizenship Stories:
What would it look like if you could gather a group of advanced social media minds, search engine marketing experts, rock star product designers, and platform evangelists from the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Bing, Google, Microsoft, REI, and WebTrends in one room?
Sounds like a party for the ages, but more importantly it creates a think tank that can produce compelling ideas on solving some of the toughest challenges that nonprofits face online. Working with DonorsChoose.org, the group discussed how to most effectively use online tools and processes for maximum impact.
The result? A free eBook called the “Goodness Engine: Driving Greater Social Impact in the Digital World” has been created to help other nonprofits learn about a whole range of topics from driving online traffic to creating dynamic content and managing online engagement. Feel free to share this eBook with anyone you think it could help!
Find out more on:
For more information on Microsoft’s Citizenship effort please visit:
Guest post by Jean-Philippe Courtois, President of Microsoft International
In honor of International Women’s Day 2011, I posted a Q&A with Hege Skryseth (pictured left), Country Manager for Norway, to the Women at Microsoft Facebook page today. This day was first recognized in 1911, making this its Centenary Year of celebrating the accomplishments of women! Microsoft Norway’s leadership team is 40% female and the entire subsidiary is 28% female, which is slightly higher than the global average. (I’ll be visiting them in Norway on April 1.) This is the third in a series of interviews with our key female Country Managers which I’ve done for the Women at Microsoft page, the first two being with Tracey Fellows and Sandra Yachelini. As with the other two, I asked Hege one question just for my blog.
Q: What advice do you have for other women at Microsoft who are interested in becoming a CM?
The most important thing is to take on P&L responsibility. You can’t succeed in this role without that experience. I’d also say you have to welcome new challenges, both internally and externally. Building your external network is key if you’re going to be able to be the “face of Microsoft” for your country. Getting exposure to working with politicians is also a big help, because that is a special skill. Internally, you also have to ensure that you’re being visible in the organization. Be deliberate in setting up your career plan to seek out these responsibilities. And get a good mentor who will help you get a big picture view of the Microsoft world.
You can read the rest of our Q&A here, which I hope you’ll enjoy.
Microsoft Norway is a key sponsor of the largest female ICT network in the country called ODA, which is 5 years old, has 1500 participants and helps connect women in the Norwegian technology industry to mentors and management coaching. They’re participating today in an ODA event to recognize the day.
Guest post by Linda Lockhart – Managing Director, Global Give Back Circle
Participants of the Global Give Back Circle
1990 – In the outskirts of Kisumu, Kenya, not far from the home of Mama Sarah Obama (as she likes to be called), a baby girl is born to a very young mother. The baby girl is said to have entered the world ‘smiling’ and has not stopped since. Vivian Onano, was born into the Luo tribe, the same tribe as President Obama.
Although not common for a girl from this rural community to complete high school, Vivian’s mother did, and her education played an important role in Vivian’s journey to ‘I am’. Vivian was raised by her grandmother during the years while her mother worked hard to find employment in the town of Kisumu. Vivian had a happy childhood and loved helping her grandparents catch fish from Lake Victoria to sell in town. They lived in a typical rural area manner – in huts made from dung and mud without electricity or water. Every day, Vivian playfully walked cows and goats to the lake and on the way back she balanced a colorful container of water on her head. She made dolls out of mud and balls out of plastic bags. At night, she slept on the traditional bed of her village - a mat made of sweet reeds. Vivian was surrounded by love.
By the time Vivian finished 4th grade, her mother had a stable job selling used clothes in the open air market in Kisumu. Concerned that Vivian was not getting an education fitting her aptitude, she managed every way she could to enroll Vivian in a primary school where she would wear shoes to class and receive an education that would eventually propel her to being one of the highest primary school performers in her province and would secure her a place is a school for gifted, disadvantaged girls in Nairobi called Starehe Girls’ Centre.
In 2006, Vivian (pictured above) became a member of the Global Give Back Circle. In 2007 she wrote her first Give Back Commitment and learned how to Give Back 'Time & Skills' from reading GIVING. In 2008 she learned that a CGI Commitment for $350,000 came to fruition at the 2008 CGI Meeting and as a result she will not walk back into the circle of poverty when she graduated high school. In 2009 she participated in the 9-month Microsoft IT Course, which was a part of the CGI Commitment, and the computer connected her to the world in ways she could never imagine. She used it to research colleges and landed herself a full scholarship to Carthage College in Wisconsin, as a pre-med major.
In 2009 Vivian Committed to Ambassador Ranneberger, US Ambassador to Kenya, that she would help him in his efforts to get the private sector involved in societal interventions like the Global Give Back Circle, and she spent 6 months selling to CEOs the importance of ‘Good Economics’ a term she heard President Clinton coin as the sweet spot whereby the business strategy of ‘human capital development’ is linked with compassion as private sector invest in girls as an investment in the economic sustainability of their markets. Vivian figured she could help raise $1 M of private sector investment to enable 100 more girls to continue onto college, employment and global citizenship. She was part of a group of 35 girls who were already invested ‘in’ – thanks to CGI. She wanted to Give Back now.
In September 2010 Vivian was the youngest speaker at the annual CGI Meeting in NYC, speaking on the topic of 'Democratizing Education'. She was able to be a voice for how technology is flattening the world. Vivian will always hold a place in her heart for Microsoft and the gift of ICT skills that they bestowed on her through their commitment to the ‘Unlimited Potential’ of women and girls. During CGI week, Vivian attended a reception with Pamela Passman (one of her role models, pictured left together) from Microsoft. She wore a traditional dress from her province in Kisumu. A traditional dress for a Luo. A traditional dress for a woman with unlimited potential.
In February 2011, in Nairobi, Kenya, Vivian's best friend, Wilkista (lost both her parents and also from Kisumu) rejoiced with other girls when it was learned that USAID joined the CGI Commitment with a $3.5 M GDA Award for the education & empowerment of GIRLS. This meant that the Circle’s original Commitment of $350,000 for 35 girls would escalate to a $7 M Commitment for 500 + Girls! A miracle created through the vision of CGI and the compassion of the citizens of the United States of America and the support of the people and government of Kenya.
In February 2011 - Wilkista visited Mama Sarah Obama and let her know the good news about the USAID Partnership and that the Global Give Back Circle would be in a position to help girls in the orphanage she runs, as they are just like Vivian and Wilkista, girls who wish to soar.
On March 8 Vivian will visit the White House as a guest of the First Lady for a reception to commemorate International Women’s Day. She will wear her traditional Luo Dress. If asked, she will speak about her CGI U Commitment to Action 'Hey Sister, Get Clued-Up' – a peer-to-peer social network website to educate African women and girls on issues related to health, financial literacy and social network protection. She will also speak about her upcoming trip to San Diego to be with President Clinton when she will launch the ‘Hey Sister’ Commitment to Acton with Wilkista, and two other colleagues who will travel from Kenya to represent the Global Give Back Circle at CGI U – a tangible reflection of how a circle of empowerment can become a sustainable model for change as beneficiaries transform into benefactors.
Posted by Brad Smith Microsoft General Counsel and Senior Vice President, Legal and Corporate Affairs
Cross post from Microsoft on the Issues Blog
This morning marked an important milestone in our work to improve the quality of education in Washington State. A number of us came together for the official launch of Washington STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) a new privately funded program to improve teaching and learning in the critical disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and math.
As a state we need to strengthen performance in these disciplines in order to prepare young people to compete in the fastest growing fields in a knowledge-based economy and to understand and make informed judgments about many of the most challenging issues facing society.
With global leaders in information technology, biotech, global health, clean energy, trade, agribusiness, and precision manufacturing, Washington’s economy is already driven by innovation. That trend will only continue, and projections are that by 2018, two-thirds of the jobs in our state will require college education. And while Washington ranks fourth in the nation in technology-based corporations, we are close to the bottom in student participation in science and engineering graduate programs.
As a state, we must redouble our efforts to prepare students to take advantages of these career opportunities, starting while students are in elementary and middle school. We need to interest more students in the STEM disciplines by providing them with engaging, inquiry-based instruction that provides a foundation of basic STEM concepts.
That is why Microsoft is proud to join Boeing, McKinstry, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and others as a founding partner of Washington STEM. Our company’s $6 million commitment over three years will help Washington STEM make focused investments in programs to improve student learning in these crucial areas.
Washington STEM announced today an initial class of 15 grant recipients, including such well-known and well-respected programs as MESA, a leader in STEM education programs for students from traditionally under-represented populations; Teach for America, which recruits outstanding recent college graduates to teach for at least two years in urban or rural schools; and the Technology Access Foundation Academy, which serves students in Federal Way and is looking to expand to serve Renton as well. Schools from around the state, from Bellevue to Neah Bay and from Chimicum to Tacoma, will receive grants to support and expand programs that are already effectively improving student achievement in the STEM disciplines.
We believe that Washington STEM can become a shining example of what can happen when businesses, non-profit groups, and educators join forces to improve the education we provide to the students of our state. And it is another example of Microsoft’s commitment to ensuring that kids in our state are better prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that await them in the coming years.
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