Photo - (From left) Ng Kian Oui, Senior IT Executive, Taiwan Buddhist Tzu-Chi Foundation Malaysia; Carlos Lacerda, Managing Director, Microsoft Malaysia; and Teri Choong, Head of Strategic Alliances, Generasi Gemilang
Non-governmental organisations [NGOs] or nonprofit bodies play an important role in the growth of Malaysia into becoming a developed nation, said technology solutions giant Microsoft during its NGO Connection Day held recently in Kuala Lumpur.
"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," said Microsoft Malaysia managing director, Carlos Lacerda, during his welcome of more than 130 participants from various local and international NGOs.
"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 organisations that are actively changing the world in their communities, thereby extending their respective causes," said Lacerda, who added that the event confirmed Microsoft's commitment to help the capacity building of NGOs.
He said that private corporations, government agencies and communities themselves need to work together. "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 organisations around the world than we ever could alone," said Lacerda.
The TechSoup Global partner network helps Microsoft reach more than 60,000 nonprofit organisations annually with over $800 million worth in software grants."
NGOs and technology
He said Microsoft has run about 100 similar events since 2005 to help build IT capacity in the NGO sector. In Malaysia alone, more than RM10.5 million [US$3.25 million] in cash and software grants have been awarded to Malaysian NGOs since 2004.
A recent recipient of Microsoft's cash and software grants, NGO Persatuan Kebajikan Generasi Gemilang Kuala Lumpur dan Selangor, better known as Generasi Gemilang, was awarded a totaled $109,724.00 [US$3,392], the largest sum awarded by YouthSpark [a Microsoft initiative to create opportunities for young people worldwide through partnerships with governments, NGOs and businesses] to a local NGO to date. Generasi Gemilang was established in 2010, and has since impacted 37,000 Malaysian lives.
Generasi Gemilang head of strategic alliances, Teri Choong, said, "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."
Another NGO, Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation (Tzu Chi), which delivers humanitarian, medical, educational and welfare programmes with 500 staff and 20,000 volunteers through 40 offices in the country, leveraged a special licensing arrangement with Microsoft and standardised 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 Tzu Chi's deputy chief executive officer, Sio Kee Hong. "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."
Microsoft Malaysia's Lacerda cited a 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 organisations], which showed that 60 percent say that lack of knowledge is the biggest barrier to deploy cloud computing in their organisations.
"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," he said.
TechSoup Global is the parent organization of TechSoup Asia. TechSoup Global was founded in 1987, and is a nonprofit that provides technology assistance to other nonprofit organisations in the United States and in 53 countries.
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