August 18, 2008, 10:21 AM — Kenya and Tanzania are set to benefit from a new partnership between Microsoft and the Aga Khan Foundation USA.
The two organizations will collaborate in the development of innovative technology and training, ICT in health, financial services, rural and economic development programs, said Michael Rawding, vice president of the Unlimited Potential Group at Microsoft.
The collaboration reflects a shared goal to expand the social and economic opportunities of underserved communities, said Iqbal Noor Ali, CEO of the Aga Khan Foundation
Education will take center stage in the partnership with the establishment of a global ICT strategy for the network of 18 Aga Khan Academies. The first Aga Khan Academy opened in 2003 in Mombasa, Kenya.
In Kenya, the partnership aims to enhance the quality and availability of science and technology education programs, as well as expand digital access through Community Technology and Learning Centers.
The program will complement another program offered at the African Centre for Women, Information and Communications Technology (ACWICT) that targets women aged 18 to 35 living in the informal settlements.
"In Tanzania, the initiative will expand a youth empowerment program with support from the International Youth Foundation and set up 13 centers," said Rawding. The partnership hopes to provide affordable computers and technology and spread the benefits to the local population through Microsoft's Unlimited Potential program.
The partnership will also develop joint research into new technologies relevant to rural populations and ways to raise awareness about the needs of the underserved rural segment among software developers in universities and around the world.
The two East African countries hope succeed on the projects like it has achieved in Egypt and India, where the partnership has addressed issues affecting marginalized communities in rural and urban areas, offering youth empowerment programs that provide vocational training programs in ICT.