Submitted by Microsoft
Microsoft will donate software licences to the national societies in the least-developed countries in Africa and the Middle East, provide technology training to Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers and local communities, and offer consulting by Microsoft employee volunteers.
The agreement was signed by Markku Niskala, secretary-general of the International Federation, and Jean-Philippe Courtois, CEO of Microsoft EMEA, at a ceremony today at the International Federation's headquarters in Geneva.
According to Niskala, many of the Federation's 181 member national societies have urgent technology needs, and the improvements offered by Microsoft are expected to improve the efficiency of local Red Cross and Red Crescent operations and the ability of national societies to collaborate more effectively and share best practices.
"Information and communication technology is an important tool that helps us to improve communication and maximise the efficiency with which aid is delivered. It is crucial that our workers have the capacity for real-time connection and exchange with multiple internal and external stakeholders, all of whom look to the Red Cross/Red Crescent for an efficient and effective emergency response," Niskala said.
"This partnership with Microsoft highlights that the strengthening of communication and IT infrastructures are essential to rapid, co-ordinated, timely and effective intervention for saving lives," he said, pointing out that long-term partnerships with various stakeholders, including global business leaders such as Microsoft, were a central element in the Federation's strategy for enhancing its unique network of national societies.
At the ceremony, Courtois said Microsoft was committed to using its products, technological expertise and commitment to responsible corporate citizenship to make a meaningful, lasting contribution to society and that he believed that technology can be used to address social and economic issues in ways never before imagined.
"National Red Cross and Red Crescent societies are at the front line in disaster response, often on the ground immediately after an emergency happens," Courtois said. "As a successful global corporation and technology industry leader, we recognise the need to use our resources and influence to make a positive impact on the world. We are honoured to team up with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies on this vital initiative, improving its ability to make a real difference to the lives of people in need."
About The International Federation
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is the world's largest humanitarian organization, providing assistance without discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinion. Comprising a unique network of 181 member Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, the Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. The Federation's work focuses on four core areas: promoting humanitarian values, disaster response, disaster preparedness, and health and community care. The Federation, the national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross together constitute the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. For further information on Federation activities, please see our web site: www.ifrc.org
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About Microsoft EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa)
Microsoft has operated in EMEA since 1982. In the region Microsoft employs more than 12,000 people in over 55 subsidiaries, delivering products and services in more than 139 countries and territories.
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Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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