By Kirill Staroverov, a student Intern at Microsoft Ukraine

April 26th, 1986 was a dark day in the history of Ukraine. The destruction of the fourth power unit on Chernobyl atomic power station was the biggest ecological disaster known in human history. Radioactive pollution spread out across modern Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. Even today, scientists, ecologists and doctors are still dealing with consequences of this disaster.

A group of mothers were concerned about their children’s futures. They wanted their kids to live in safe, pollution free, eco-friendly environment, so they decided to take action. In 1991, just after Ukraine gained its independence, the Ukrainian National Environmental nonprofit, MAMA-86, was established to protect future generations’ right to a clean environment.

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©Transportation of obsolete pesticides by prepared team of "cleaners”, Lubyanka, Kiev region, Ukraine -- Yury Onisimov/UNENGO "МАМА-86”

Today, MAMA-86 has become one of the biggest ecological organizations in Ukraine . It has 17 branches and around 200 members all over Ukraine. They have dedicated their work to three major areas: Promoting ecology-centric policies and practices for the sustainable development of Ukraine, improving people’s access to safe drinking water and sanitation, and reducing the risk of chemicals’ impact to human health and the environment.

The MAMA-86 network, in cooperation with numerous partners, holds public consultations and hearings, roundtables and conferences, trainings and workshops all over Ukraine on the pressing issues of environmental protection and sustainable development.

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©Express test of water supply, Sadky, Kiev region, Ukraine -- Yury Onisimov/UNENGO "МАМА-86”

But the organization has faced a lot of difficulties with coordination of their projects. Because they operate nationwide, they have to send a lot of data to every single participant using post and e-mail. They worried that data would get lost in the numerous correspondences. They wanted to use technology to address the problem and to help different members work simultaneously to increase awareness of their projects to the public. To help them achieve this, they requested a software donation from Microsoft.

Now, MAMA-86 is running their operation using Microsoft Small Business Server. They have an internal web site where they can store their information and keep their data up-to-date and accessible. They are also planning to launch a new web site where everyone can find information concerning the environmental situation in Ukraine, participate in discussions, and attend workshops. Small Business Server helps everyone working in MAMA-86 share their contacts and calendar, collaborate on projects simultaneously, and work together on their newspaper using SharePoint technology.

“What you are going to do next?” I asked their IT Director, Yuriy Onisimov.

He replied, “We saw opportunities to grow, but we couldn’t do it. All the time we faced problems with our internal communication. We had to delay our projects again and again… and now we have the capacity to increase the awareness of ecology problems in Ukraine. We became more effective and efficient”.

For more information about MAMA-86, visit www.mama-86.org.ua

Let your favorite nonprofit know how to request a software donation from Microsoft, or have them visit www.microsoft.com/nonprofit to learn more.