The Church of United Brethren in Christ Social Service Division becomes the first local nonprofit organisation in Hong Kong to use Microsoft Multipoint Server for IT training.
The Church of the United Brethren (CUBC) launched its social service division in 1984 in Hong Kong. With 70 full-time staff and 3,000 volunteers, the division provides support, development and education services to young people and their families, regardless of their faith, who face financial, social or educational challenges, helping them realise their potential. It also helps unemployed youth, and runs a Cyber Youth counselling support service.
CUBC’s social service division has helped over 10,000 deprived individuals through educational and counselling programmes that are designed to increase skills, knowledge and just as importantly their sense of self-worth and confidence. Programmes are run from a number of service centres, some of which are set up inside Hong Kong’s disadvantaged communities. There are programmes for children with learning difficulties and leadership training for bright kids – all designed to unlock individual career potential and give them equal opportunities.
For CUBC, much of their teaching is either computer based or it’s about equipping young people with IT skills including social media. The organisation also relies on IT for student enrolment, course planning and to promote training activities.
At the heart of each CUBC service centre is a computer room with up to 16 computers. However, lack of IT resources meant that computer rooms were in constant demand, and unable to offer as much access as required. Despite the fact that running and maintenance costs were increasing CUBC was challenged to scale up their programmes as many youth were looking to them to level the playing field.
CUBC needed an efficient solution that would allow it to stretch its limited resources and cost effectively run IT training that would continue to enhance the computer knowledge and skills of growing numbers of low-income families and individuals. The solution - a Chinese version of Microsoft’s Multipoint Server operating system - was tailor-made for CUBC. A simple cost-effective way for more students and teachers to gain access to the latest technology, Microsoft Multipoint Server is designed to allow a single computer to support multiple users at the same time, each working independently using their own monitor, keyboard and mouse and with a familiar Windows computing experience. In support Microsoft also donated software such as Microsoft Office Professional 2010.
Along with improving learning and helping students prepare to compete in a digital economy, the Microsoft Multipoint Server and software system has allowed CUBC to stretch its budget, create a more attractive learning environment and better manage its operating costs. Cost savings include over 60 percent on hardware, energy and maintenance, and the same amount in efficiency improvements for IT technicians in software management, hardware maintenance and daily operations.
Both staff and volunteers are happier and more productive because the new system is simply making it easier to manage and less time intensive to prepare for new courses and teaching programmes. With Microsoft’s donation, there were no extra costs involved in upgrading computer accessories such as keyboard, mouse and extended power cables.
CUBC is the first non profit organisation in Hong Kong to introduce the Multipoint Server and it is already realising that as well as better engaging with students and empowering its volunteer, it can scale up to meet the growing needs of underprivileged youth without increasing costs or investing in more assets.
With Microsoft’s Multipoint Server, CUBC can effectively triple the number of Windows computers without increasing budget – and that means it can provide more people with what may be their only access to a computer and help them cross the digital gap. CUBC has already been able to double the number of classes per session – and that is just the beginning.
“We are a small NGO with limited resources but this system helps us tailor-make computer facilities (hardware and software) to meet the needs of local users. The Microsoft system has helped us provide more access to the most vulnerable in our society, to offer more services with less manpower and less cost. We can reach more people, run more classes and develop more programmes like cyber counselling and education. We want to bridge the digital gap between the poor and the well off and help them to have equal learning opportunities,” said Wong Sau Wa, service coordinator of social service division, CUBC.
The Multipoint Sever solution adopted by CUBC underpins a successful pilot that Microsoft plans to share among its Community Technology Learning Centers (CTLC), a network of 47 centres that Microsoft Hong Kong launched in partnership with a number of nonprofits in 2003. To date, close to 600,000 people have benefited from the IT access and training from these centres, and the use of Multipoint Server will help multiply the effect.
Project at a glance
The Church of United Brethren in Christ Social Service Division
An efficient and cost-effective IT suite to provide 21st century access to information technology for underprivileged youth
Microsoft Multipoint Server OS (Chinese version), Microsoft Office Professional 2010
Cost saving of 60 percent on hardware, energy and maintenance; Better and safer teaching environment
Number of classes doubled so more people will benefit from the classes
Scope for developing more and better programmes such as cyber counselling and education