Labor, Education, Economic Empowerment, and Protection
Plan International USA
During the first week of May, nine Plan International staff from five offices participated in the NGO School Leadership Training Workshop at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington. The workshop convened senior education and Information Communication Technology (ICT) leaders from Plan and other NGOs for Microsoft’s Shape the Future initiative. The other NGO partners included Catholic Relief Services, World Vision, SOS Children’s Villages, British Council, Aga Khan Foundation, and the International Rescue Committee (not in attendance). Plan International USA, Plan’s Regional Office of the Americas, Plan Ghana, Plan Dominican Republic, and Plan Thailand all had representation at the event.
In December 2012, Microsoft and Plan International USA signed a strategic alliance to support bringing digital access to youth and educators in developing countries. Through this strategic partnership, Microsoft’s commitment of up to $75M will help to ensure that students gain the critical technological skills necessary to access opportunity, find employment, and contribute to their economies. Through Shape the Future, Microsoft is collaborating with national governments to provide large-scale access to technology through the procurement of hardware and software. As part of this strategic alliance, Plan will provide on the ground expertise in training of educators and school leaders, and will help facilitate and contribute to multi-sector dialogue on integrating Information Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) in national education plans and supportive national policies.
The School Leadership Training Workshop, organized for the Shape the Future partners, was led by Bruce Dixon, a champion of ICT in education and one-to-one initiatives. The workshop provided training on how to deliver school leadership professional development on effective 21st century learning design. Throughout the sessions, Plan staff contributed their rich knowledge and experience from current education and ICT initiatives throughout the Federation. David Bruce, Education Specialist, and Maud Tsagli, ICT Manager, from Plan Ghana described the successes of Plan’s ICT Centers, including those from the USAID-funded Ghana TAP program. Microsoft recently visited one of the ICT centers with Plan Ghana staff, and Ghana will likely be the first Plan country to pilot Shape the Future in the coming months.
|From left to right: Pedro Poblete, Kurt De Freitas, David Bruce, Katie Appel,|
Lindsay Kosnik, Tiffy Chaikaew, Pamela Young, Maud Tsagli, and Marcia ODell
When asked about this new partnership, Tiffy stated that this “unique private-public partnership will create benefits to Plan’s program areas in Thailand through a comprehensive solution through innovative programs, technologies, and various kinds of support from Microsoft.”
Pedro described how the partnership is mutually beneficial to both institutions, with Microsoft benefiting from “a community development strategy that is participatory and self-driven by the beneficiaries” and for Plan as an opportunity “to move forward in achieving our 2015 global strategy of One World, One Plan.”
Additionally, Microsoft is looking to Plan to provide guidance on how to ensure that Shape the Future is gender transformative and that the initiative does not further exacerbate the digital divide for girls, but instead closes it. Marcia Odell, Senior Gender Advisor at Plan International USA, challenged all workshop participants to consider gender, as a truly gender transformative program cannot be ensured without thoughtful integration from the onset. The Shape the Future partnership is managed by Plan International USA, with leadership from Lindsay Kosnik, Director of Corporate Relations; Pamela Young, Program Director of Labor, Education, Economic Empowerment, and Protection; and Katie Appel, Program Associate, who all participated in the workshop.