Kenya Red Cross has received a $3 million (about Sh240 million) software grant from Microsoft, the biggest single software donation made by the corporation in Kenya. The donation brings Microsoft’s overall support to the Horn of Africa famine initiative through both local and international Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to $18 million (Sh1.4 billion).
The grant will see Kenya Red Cross develop a publically accessible disaster response portal that will not only enable the organization to mobilize resources from the public but also narrow down to specific appeals such as blood donations in an emergency. In addition, the software donated will facilitate applications that bolster response time, data collection, engagement with supporters, mobilisation of volunteers in times of emergency and increase capacity to deliver services to vulnerable people.
The donation also includes free training of Red Cross Officers through Microsoft’s e-learning courses. “ICT development is critical for accelerating economic development where new approaches and new solutions are required to address a range of problems facing the humanitarian responders. In the past, our humanitarian programs had minimal investments in technology infrastructure. Today’s software donation is set to boost our ICT systems to significantly enhance the services we provide to vulnerable communities. We are committed to working closely with Microsoft to help expand our reach, improve our services and accelerate impact through technology,” said Abbas Gullet, Secretary General of the Kenya Red Cross Society.
“As part of Microsoft’s commitment to support the Horn of Africa relief efforts, the company has been engaging IGOs and NGOs to use state of the art information technology solutions to increase the effectiveness of their response to this human tragedy,” said Dr Mark Matunga, Education Lead Microsoft East and Southern Africa. “Besides software donation, helping to improve the lives of refugees through education and access to technology is one of the best ways we can use our technology assets to alleviate the situation in the Horn of Africa,” he added.
The announcement was made during the kick-off of the fourth NGO Connection day held at the Boma Inn, organized by Kenya Red Cross with continued support from Microsoft. The event is a networking and information-sharing forum for NGOS across East & Southern Africa that features training sessions and technical demonstrations of the latest Microsoft technologies that can increase operational efficiency.