At Microsoft, we just recently kicked off our companywide Giving Campaign in the United States, which is a great opportunity for employees to donate their time and money to help support a wide range of charities that they personally believe in and are passionate about. One of the charities that I've pledged to support is NetHope.

NetHope is a unique collaboration of the world's leading international humanitarian organizations – working together to solve common problems in the developing world through smarter use of technology. NetHope’s 32 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) represent more than $33 billion dollars of humanitarian development, emergency response, and conservation programs in 180 countries. Since 2005, Microsoft has partnered with NetHope to help transform the way the world’s largest humanitarian agencies work…and since the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti back in January, Microsoft and its employees have donated more than US$2 million year to date, to enable communications and equip humanitarian staff for relief and recovery efforts. (The picture above is of the destruction at L'Ecole Supérieure d'Infotronique d'Haiti.)

We also realize that Microsoft’s investment must go far beyond essential relief and recovery efforts. We must help provide local schools digital access so learning can continue. As I’ve blogged a lot about recently, everyone…child, teenager and adult…has the right to a quality education…and that is so important as Haiti rebuilds and the people there look toward a brighter and more prosperous future.

At the Clinton Global Initiative 2010 Annual Meeting this month, Microsoft, along with Inveneo and the EKTA Foundation, committed to invest US$1.5M in communications, technology and capacity building for schools and NGOs.  This commitment represents anticipated impact that includes:  

  • 60+ entrepreneurs in the IT sector will gain access to new clients and the ability to deliver relevant ICT services through training and mentoring;
  • 200+ NGOs will gain improved communications and IT capabilities to improve their service delivery;
  • 40+ schools and 24,000 students will gain access to improved education through technology;
  • 100,000+ people will gain basic computer literacy skills; and
  • 400,000+ people’s lives will be improved through access to Information and Communications Technologies they never had before.

You can read more on Inveneo's blog here. I’m excited to see this work kick off this month.  On October 25, in partnership with NetHope, Microsoft is installing its first “lighthouse” lab in Haiti to help bring the country's leading computer science college back online– a local center of excellence in collaboration with nonprofits and for-profit partners from around the globe.  We hope this work we will inspire our other partners to get involved to help transform education and to build a better future for our children – one school at a time.