Since 2005, Microsoft has been holding NGO Connection Days for international and local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to exchange ideas on the ways technology can be used for social good.
At a recent NGO Connection Day in Malaysia in June, over 130 participants attended workshops and seminars hosted by experienced non-profit practitioners and Microsoft experts. This led to numerous intense cross-sector discussions and one-on-one conversations on the best practices in using technology to maximise productivity of nonprofit operations.
Among the participants were those from organisations that have received Microsoft software and cash donations.
Local organisation Persatuan Kebajikan Generasi Gemilang Kuala Lumpur dan Selangor (better known as Generasi Gemilang), which works on community development and youth development, was a recent recipient of Microsoft YouthSpark donations amounting to over $100,000.
Its Head of Strategic Alliance Teri Choong said, “Our work is focused on building human capital for a better tomorrow. And technology is crucial to the execution of this mission for it enables us to achieve operational efficiency, and mitigate financial and resource constraints. Microsoft’s recent cash and software grant was exactly what we needed to take our cause to the next level.”
International charity organisation Tzu Chi Foundation, which opened its first office in Malaysia in 1993 and is now the country’s largest NGO, was another Microsoft grant recipient. The organisation, which delivers a wide range of humanitarian, educational and welfare programmes, recently standardised its entire IT infrastructure on a Microsoft stack including Microsoft Office, Microsoft Active Directory and Windows Server.
“We chose Microsoft because it is a platform familiar to all our staff. The ease in locating IT specialists with Microsoft skills was a key deciding factor, as this would allow us to build tools ourselves in future,” said Sio Kee Hong, Deputy Chief Executive Office, Tzu Chi Foundation.
Managing Director of Microsoft Malaysia Carlos Lacerda was delighted that local NGOs were able to utilise technology to help achieve greater productivity while offloading the technical burden and cost of maintaining IT infrastructures. He declared, “Most importantly, the cost and time saving can be put into enhancing their social services, and allows them to focus on doing what they set out to do: improve outcomes in health, education, youth development and other social issues.”