REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 23, 2004 — The following is background on Microsoft Unlimited Potential projects in developing nations. The first project described, in Afghanistan, will be conducted in partnership between Microsoft and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as part of joint agreement announced today in Davos, Switzerland by UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown and Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates:
Microsoft and the UNDP are partnering to support the reconstruction of an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure in Afghanistan. Through Microsofts Unlimited Potential program, the partnership between Microsoft and the UNDP in Afghanistan has begun to address the urgent requirement for technology skills and investment. As it moves forward, the program will begin to encompass a wider segment of society, until basic computer literacy begins to filter through the workforce and beyond.
With a train-the-trainer program also initiated by the Microsoft Unlimited Potential program to support the basic curriculum and training of the community technology and learning centers (CTLCs), the objective is to keep a steady flow of fresh knowledge filtering through from visiting experts to the UNDP trainers, then through to civil servants studying to their colleagues.
Starting from basics such as “Using a Mouse,” the program soon unearthed a number of talented and determined Afghani youth who quickly became trainers for the program. Many of these young people had been trained and employed in surrounding countries, and had recently returned to play their part in the reconstruction of their country.
Through various UNDP partner organizations, Ministry of Womens Affairs, Ministry of Communications and other centers throughout Afghanistan, people are receiving IT skills training. An estimated 11,500 individuals will receive training through this partnership within the first year.
Since 2000, Microsoft has contributed nearly US$600,000 in cash and software to non-governmental organizations in Egypt to support a wide variety of programs and projects. Examples of Microsofts funding:
The Future Generation Foundation (FGF) project aims to give under-privileged and unemployed female university graduates, who are a minority in Egypt, an opportunity to improve their lives and capabilities with IT skills and Microsoft .net certification. Egypt has a need for skilled IT labor that can help in the countrys plan to export software development and enhance the IT skills capability. Fifty Egyptian women between the age of 20 and 28 will get certified in the latest Microsoft .NET technology tracks and integrated business skills. A Microsoft Certification will enable these women to find job opportunities and enhance their lives, in addition to filling a major gap in the market.
Small and Medium Enterprise Businesses: Microsoft Egypt is supporting a project to grow the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) industry with a special focus on empowering women. The project was created by the Regional Information Technology and Software Engineering Centre (RITSEC), in partnership with the government of Egypt and other partners. The aim is to empower small and medium enterprise (SME) businesses through the use of information and communications technology (ICT) to enhance their productivity, increase market share and open up new markets both locally and internationally. The project will focus on IT training programs to meet SME needs through incremental approaches, starting with 250 young graduates. The project has a special focus on empowering unemployed women through IT skills training and qualifications to create new job opportunities in the SME industry.
Breaking new ground: Microsoft partnered with MCIT, Integrated Care, and Middle East Cultural Center to establish five technology centers in Beni Souif, Fayoum, Rashid, Madinet EL Salam, and Wadi EL Gedid. In these centers, basic training has been provided to 100 Egyptians for the first phase as well as a train-the-trainer program for 20 people per center. Further specialized training will be given to the trainers on web publishing and hardware maintenance.
Since 2000, Microsoft has contributed more than US$350,000 in cash and software to non-governmental organizations in Morocco to support a wide variety of programs and projects. Examples of Microsofts funding:
North Africa Diplomes Chomeurs is a program that provides IT skills training to unemployed graduates to assist them in finding better job opportunities. This project was recognized through the U.S. Secretary of State Award for Corporate Excellence for exemplary workplace practices, efforts to bridge the digital divide through the implementation of an innovative program to prepare the Moroccan workforce for the global economy. Through this program, more than 200 students have been prepared with new skills to search for jobs with 100 percent placement in 2002 and 70 percent in 2003. Microsoft funding supported IT skills training for students to enable them to secure employment.
Secrtariat dEtat la Jeunesse: The Moroccan Ministry of Youth provides young people with athletic, cultural, and educational experiences that are complementary to school offerings and distinct from what is available to children at home. Within existing community centers, the Ministry of Youth will establish four IT training centers. Experienced community-based technology trainers in Tangier and Marrakech will train the new centers leaders on how to manage, run and maintain the centers. Microsoft funding will be used to support IT skills training programs in the centers.
Microsoft Unlimited Potential Program:
Microsoft Unlimited Potential is a global program that focuses on improving lifelong learning for underserved young people and adults by providing technology skills through community-based organizations around the world. Microsoft provides community centers with funding to launch or sustain IT skills training programs, including hiring and training technology instructors, and expanding course offerings in order to reach a broader base of underserved community members. Microsoft has developed curricula that emphasize real-world technology applications and will initially be available in English, French, Spanish and German. In the near future, Microsoft will work with partners to launch a global support network to deliver technology research, tools and services to training centers worldwide.