By Lauren Woodman, NetHope CEO
As 2016 comes to a close, many of us turn to family and friends during this season of reflection and gratitude. At NetHope, we’re immensely thankful for our strong and vibrant member community, as well as our deeply committed partners for their unwavering support. We have accomplished much together in 2016, and are poised to do even more in 2017.
As many have said, it has been a tumultuous year. Unexpected political shifts in the U.S., U.K., and Europe have brought uncertainty to the international system. The Syrian Civil War enters its sixth year, and the almost incomprehensible impact on civilians sadly continues. Refugees and economic migrants continue to seek refuge and greater opportunity. And the broader development community continues to seek solutions to the ongoing challenges of hunger, gender disparity, environmental decline, and disease.
Despite these challenges, the NetHope community perseveres, working collaboratively and creatively to bring hope, relief and opportunity to underserved people. By the end of this year, the NetHope-led Syrian Refugee Alliance will have installed internet and charging stations at 75 locations in Greece, Slovenia and Serbia, benefitting an estimated 500,000 refugees. Project Reconnect is distributing 25,000 Google Chromebooks to German nonprofits that support refugees as they transition to a new country.
I'm also proud to report that NetHope graduated its first class of students from NetHope Academy Liberia, which was established after the Ebola virus crisis. The Women and the Web Alliance trained 5,000 women in rural Kenya, with many graduates going on to technical colleges, or starting businesses. And NetHope’s e-Payments training for development organizations in Rwanda was attended by more than 60 finance and program managers representing 44 USAID implementing partners.
At NetHope, we exist to serve our member organizations who are on the front lines of the difficult work that must be done. Whether working with Microsoft to distribute over $20 million in software, organizing leadership seminars to grow our impact, or hosting the annual Global Summit to welcome our 50th member organization, DanChurchAid, we’re grateful for the opportunity to impact our world through our members.
None of this is possible without the support of our partners. Cisco, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, The Patterson Foundation and Visa were generous at critical times. Our Summit sponsors, including CDW, Marlink, and Splunk, helped bring our community together. And so many others made our work possible in smaller, less visible ways: Be it sharing office space or expertise, NetHope benefits from the countless efforts that make our work possible.
As we move into 2017, all of us at NetHope take a moment to say, “thank you” for your support of our community, and for your passion for making the world a better place. We still have much to do, together. Let us hope that 2017 brings peace.