By Akhtar Badshah
As NetHope continues to grow, I commend the organization for the incredible impact it has made in humanitarian relief and development. Through its vision, strong leadership and unwavering commitment to developing strong partnerships, NetHope has inspired a whole new approach — to effect change through the impact of technology.
As part of our global commitment to corporate citizenship, Microsoft has been a long-time contributor to NGOs throughout the world. We strive to improve humanitarian and international development efforts through technology, the volunteer efforts of our employees and financial donations.
Microsoft’s work with NetHope began in 2004. In NetHope, we saw the power of a collective network that would allow us to deliver at scale and streamline our investments in the world’s largest humanitarian organizations. By supporting NetHope, Microsoft leverages our community investment across more than 30 leading NGOs, eliminating duplication of efforts, lowering costs and greatly reducing implementation risk. In addition, the partnership aligns NetHope’s local field knowledge with our products, technology and emerging markets capabilities. This increased communication facilitates information sharing and more effective delivery of assistance and resources to end beneficiaries.
In 2006, Microsoft donated $41 million in software and cash to NetHope to help fund the Interagency Working Group on Emergency Capacity Building Project (ECB), which would be mobilized in the event of a large-scale emergency. The goal was to provide effective, efficient and impactful coordination of humanitarian agencies before, during and after a disaster. That model has proven to work and has enabled donors such as Microsoft to quickly deploy resources to NGOs in the wake of an incident, reducing response times and the ability for relief organizations to deliver critical aid to the people who need it.
Since then, emergency response has continued to be a strong focus for NetHope. We have seen the organization make great strides in other areas, which has also enabled our partnership to expand. For example, NetHope’s work in Haiti has continued since the devastating earthquake in January 2010, and the organization has played an important role in the rebuilding efforts. In partnership with Microsoft, Accenture, Cisco, La Ecole Supérieure d’Infotronique d’Haìti (ESIH), Voilà Foundation and others, NetHope launched the Haiti NetHope Academy — a six-month program that provides Haitian computer science students with both classroom and on-the-job IT skills training. NetHope also has made progress in enabling the capacity of organizations in the field, improving connectivity between organizations and their field offices, sharing resources to provide economies of scale and fostering innovation to create new technology solutions for development.
Our partnership with NetHope has provided long-term value for Microsoft and its members, enabling them to make a difference in the most remote areas of the world by putting our tools and technology into action. I applaud NetHope for its hard work and look forward to a continued partnership in the years to come.