Microsoft Malaysia's NGO Connection Day
KUALA LUMPUR (4 June 2014) – Microsoft, through its NGO Connection Day, reiterated its commitment to support the capacity building of non-profit organizations in Malaysia through 21st century technology. Over 130 participants from various local and international NGOs were able to access a multitude of tools and resources at this one-day event – including workshops and keynote sessions delivered by experienced NGO practitioners and Microsoft technology experts – which equips these nonprofits with the technology knowledge, community, and resources they need to fulfill their respective missions.
Speaking at the event, Carlos Lacerda, Managing Director of Microsoft Malaysia said that NGOs play an important role in advancing the nation’s efforts in becoming a developed nation, “Nonprofits are vital to the development of our nation’s youth, families and communities, all of which are active contributors to a highly advanced human capital. Microsoft believes in the important roles these organizations play, and by offering them access to useful software, we are able to provide meaningful contributions to organizations that are actively changing the world in their communities, thereby extending their respective causes.”
Lacerda continued by explaining that the empowerment of NGOs requires collaboration among stakeholders across all sectors. He said that private corporations, government agencies and communities themselves need to work together to be an extension of the good work these NGOs are doing, “We believe that NGOs need all the support they can get, regardless of where the support is coming from. This is precisely why we’re partnered with TechSoup Global to bring NGO Connection Day to the masses. Partnering with TechSoup Global enables us to reach more organizations around the world than we ever could alone. The TechSoup Global partner network helps Microsoft reach more than 60,000 nonprofit organizations annually with over $800 million worth in software grants.”
Since 2005, Microsoft has hosted NGO Connection Day throughout the world to raise awareness and help build IT capacity in the NGO sector. The company has run approximately 100 of these events globally every year, with the primary focus in assisting these organizations better achieve their goals and objectives. In Malaysia alone, over RM10.5million in cash and software grants have been awarded to Malaysian NGOs since 2004.
Local NGOs Use Technology to Empower Future Generations, Build Communities and Strengthen Families
Local NGO Persatuan Kebajikan Generasi Gemilang Kuala Lumpur dan Selangor, better known as Generasi Gemilang, was a recent recipient of Microsoft’s cash and software grants. The grant, which totaled $109,724.00, is the largest sum awarded by YouthSpark (a Microsoft initiative designed to create opportunities and empower millions of young people worldwide through partnerships with governments, NGOs and businesses) to a local NGO to date. Generasi Gemilang, a nonprofit welfare organization committed to investing in the lives of future generations and strengthening families, was established in 2010, and have since impacted 37,000 Malaysian lives.
“Its Head of Strategic Alliances, Teri Choong explained how technology impacts what they do, “At Generasi Gemilang, our heart is for the next generation and their families. As such, we’ve focused our attention to four main pillars – community development, youth development, counselling and care, and strategic alliances, all of which serve to build human capital for a better tomorrow. At the heart of all this, technology is crucial to the operation and execution of our mission. Technology helps us achieve operational efficiency as well as mitigate impacts from manpower and financial resource constraints. The recent cash and software grant from Microsoft was exactly what we needed to take our cause to the next level.”
Yet another NGO which leveraged Microsoft’s cash and software grants was international charitable organization, The Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation (“Tzu Chi”). Tzu Chi, which literally means “Compassionate Relief”, opened its first branch in Malaysia in 1993 and is now one of Malaysia’s largest NGO. With 40 offices locally, Tzu Chi employs 500 permanent staff, who – with 20,000 volunteers – deliver a wide range of humanitarian, medical, educational and welfare programs.
In early 2013, Tzu Chi leveraged a special licensing arrangement with Microsoft and standardized its entire infrastructure on an up-to-date Microsoft stack, which included Windows, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Active Directory and Windows Server. “We chose Microsoft because all our permanent staff are familiar with Microsoft products, and the products are supported by Microsoft,” said Mr. Sio Kee Hong, Deputy Chief Executive Officer. “Also, IT specialists with Microsoft skills are relatively easy to find. This is essential if we want to improve reliability, and build and integrate tools ourselves.” According to Mr. Sio, Tzu Chi staff reacted very positively to their new IT environment. “We found everyone adapted very quickly, and I observe that everyone gets their work done more quickly. Greater efficiency means we provide much better services to the community.”
Lacerda was delighted that NGOs like Generasi Gemilang and Tzu Chi were able to leverage the cash and software grants saying, “Microsoft believes that IT can change the world. We have donated more than US$400 million worth of software to over 30,000 NGOs and nonprofits globally in the past year to help them establish a stable and secure IT platform. Here in Malaysia, we are happy that NGOs including Generasi Gemilang and Tzu Chi will be able to achieve greater productivity while offloading the technical burden and costs of maintaining their IT infrastructure. These cost savings can then be allocated to enhance the core values of their social services in their communities.”
According to TechSoup 2012 Global Cloud Computing Survey (conducted among 10,500 nonprofits, charities, and NGOs from 88 countries on the use of technology hosted in the cloud at nonprofit organizations), 60 percent say that lack of knowledge is the biggest barrier to deploy cloud computing in their organizations. “They need more education and support to take full advantage of these benefits regarding costs, productivity and collaboration. Initiatives like today’s NGO Connection Day give them the opportunity to learn more about cloud computing from industry experts, share valuable knowledge and discuss best practices,” added Lacerda.