Microsoft Corporation has announced updates to its software donation program that makes it easier for nonprofit organizations to get access to affordable technology. The program, which has already provided more than $ 2.8 Million worth of software to nonprofits in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia and Rwanda since 1998, is being expanded to enable more nonprofit organizations to request software donations when they need them at any point in the year.
Louis Otieno, Microsoft East and Southern Africa general manager said the company is determined to provide support to charities and community groups.
“We want to make sure that in this digital age, technology is not a barrier to equality, but can be a powerful tool for change in our community. Non-profit organizations that meet the eligibility criteria for Microsoft’s software donation program, and are currently running counterfeit, pirated, unlicensed, or improperly licensed software have a chance to request for a one time donation of genuine software. For subsequent requests on software upgrades, Non-profit organizations will be required to have genuine and properly licensed software,”said Mr. Otieno
The updates to the Microsoft Software Donation program, which is currently available in more than 100 countries around the world, include the following:
- The number of different Microsoft software products that can be requested has been expanded from six to 10 to allow nonprofits to get the software they need, such as Windows 7, Microsoft Office 2010 and Microsoft SharePoint 2010.
- Three new categories of nonprofit organizations are now eligible for software donations, including medical research organizations, private foundations, and amateur sports and recreational organizations.
- The donations program includes a new Get Genuine offering so nonprofits can ensure their existing computers are running genuine versions of Microsoft operating systems to help keep their software up-to-date and security-enhanced.
- Nonprofits can now request a software donation from Microsoft through the TechSoup Global Network whenever they need it instead of the previous limit of only one request per year.
- Nonprofit organizations ordering their donations through the TechSoup Global Network can now easily get key donations details in one place with the Microsoft Donations Center, a new website where organizations can review their donation history and identify products their organizations can request.
Among nonprofit organizations that have benefitted from this initiative in Kenya include North Star Alliance which was established in September 2006 as a platform to unite the transport sector in its response to the threat of HIV/AIDS posed to long-haul truckers in Southern Africa.
Through its wellness centres located across the country, North Star Alliance has expanded its diagnostic and treatment services to include infectious diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis, and primary healthcare concerns like high blood pressure, poor nutrition and poor eyesight with tremendous impact on the community.
“Making technology more accessible enables nonprofits to increase their productivity, reach more people and deliver new, improved services that directly help local communities,” said Akhtar Badshah, senior director of global community affairs at Microsoft.
“Although we already help a sizable number of nonprofits, we want to help more, and the changes we’re announcing are designed to make the program more relevant and accessible to a larger number of nonprofits, which will in turn have a positive impact in local communities around the world.”
Microsoft works closely with the nonprofit organization TechSoup Global and its global network to operate the software donation program in 35 countries: Australia, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Luxembourg, Macau, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States.
TechSoup Global charges a small administrative fee, which funds the program to help nonprofits not only get the software they need, but also the support and expertise they need to make the best use of the technology.
“Every day we see how technology is helping nonprofits to operate more effectively and ultimately do their best work,” said Rebecca Masisak, co-CEO of TechSoup Global. “The updates to the Microsoft Software Donation Program provide nonprofits increased flexibility in requesting software, which we believe will greatly benefit many nonprofits in the TechSoup Global community that rely on a range of Microsoft products to run their organizations effectively.”