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AfricaMoney | October 19, 2017

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Microsoft infuses technology into Mauritian NGOs to better serve the community

Microsoft infuses technology into Mauritian NGOs to better serve the community

The MySkills4Afrika volunteering program from Microsoft, which is part of the 4Afrika Initiative, helped to strengthen the computer skills of NGO representatives. (Image: Microsoft)

Microsoft recently instructed sixty NGO representatives across Mauritius on the use of technologies to improve service delivery to the public at large, in partnership with the e-inclusion Foundation and the University of Mauritius.

The MySkills4Afrika volunteering program from Microsoft, which is part of the 4Afrika Initiative, helped to strengthen the computer skills of NGO representatives.

There is no denying that new technologies play a key role in our digital era where change is constant, and it is essential for any organization to integrate these technologies into its operations to improve its productivity and efficiency. NGOs today are no exception to this universal rule.

NGOs play an important role in Mauritius, and many non-governmental organisations across a wide range of sectors provide essential services and assist in the ongoing development of the country. It is therefore imperative that these organisations not only have access to technology, but also to skills development to optimise their resources and excel in their respective projects.

The MySkills4Afrika program offers world-class skills to Africans and promotes leadership development and encourages career volunteers to rise from the ranks of Microsoft employees. The objective is to help hone the skills of graduates and startups, across all industries, schools, universities and the public sector.

For its part, the e-inclusion Foundation wishes to facilitate access to IT tools and training for those who are on the margins of the digital society and, to date, the foundation has distributed some 5,200 computers, including 2500 NGOs.

The Initiative 4Afrika is constantly looking for ways to invest in the potential of Africa and explore new ways to accelerate the growth of African countries. Assist NGOs through training is an ideal way to work towards achieving these two objectives.

Omar Rahmouni, a Volunteer MySkills4Afrika program, hosted a workshop over two days on the optimal use of Microsoft productivity tools, attended by 58 participants from 23 NGOs. The training took place in one of the computer labs provided by the University of Mauritius – an eloquent illustration of the commitment of the institution to the community and its willingness to partner with the private sector.

Having attended the workshop on behalf of the Global Rainbow Foundation – a charity that supports people with disabilities – Naveesha Bhirugnath believes that it has helped to refresh their knowledge and to learn how to work more efficiently.

“I used Microsoft Office in the past, but I know now how to use it more effectively, especially for my presentations. I also learnt how to use Microsoft Publisher for the first time, which is really useful for creating brochures.”

Caritas Mauritius is a voluntary organization working for the rehabilitation of the poor and oppressed and is running twenty projects on the island currently. The Secretary General of the NGO, Adele Patricia Bliss, argues that this training has given him ideas on how to improve the work of his organization.

“So far, we have mainly focused on the basics, but I learned that Excel can be useful for monitoring, analysis and evaluation of our projects. It is also useful to know how to maximize our use of PowerPoint and Outlook.”

Naveesha and Patricia are both willing to share what they learned with their colleagues and to practice their new skills. Like other participants, they also agreed to carry out the digital learning program of e-Inclusion Foundation to improve benefit their computer skills.

According to Lindsay Sharp, e-Inclusion Foundation, this training clearly illustrates that while many Mauritian NGOs make use of technology in their daily operations – a big step in the right direction – many of which n ‘ not optimize their tools. “E-Inclusion Foundation provided 300 computers to local NGOs, but most of them have not been trained, and none was specifically designed for them. “An NGO Day – the second of its kind in Mauritius – is planned for later in the year, with the participation of all local NGOs.

NGOs agree that this type of training will help them to better serve their communities – which could potentially help the growth of the African continent.

“Being able to use a constantly evolving technology will help NGOs grasp the future, not only local trends but also global trends,” says Lindsay Pointu.

With this in mind, it is imperative for NGOs to seek training and enhance their skills to be part of a pioneering African community.

About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (“MSFT” on the Nasdaq) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions to help individuals and businesses realize their full potential.

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