Plan International Receives Microsoft Commitment to Support Innovation in Education

WASHINGTON, Dec. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On December 1st, 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 students gain the critical technological skills necessary to access opportunity, find employment, and contribute to their economies.

The announcement is in support of Microsoft's YouthSpark commitment – an initiative to empower 300 million young people to transform their lives over the next three years.  YouthSpark provides education, employment, and entrepreneurship opportunities through partnerships with governments, NGOs, and businesses. Quality education – with intentional emphasis on information and communication technologies (ICTs) for students and teachers – is a critical enabler that makes it possible for youth in the developing world to compete and succeed in the technology space and modern workplaces.

"Plan's history of support for quality education and our participatory approach to engaging multiple actors in the educational process makes us a solid match with Microsoft's goals of supporting youth to succeed," said Pamela Young, Program Director for Labor, Education, Economic Empowerment and Protection at Plan International USA.  "Work to improve quality and accessibility of ICTs in education will not only transform the learning process, but help students and teachers around the world realize their fullest potential."

Microsoft is working with governments around the world – in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa and East and Central Europe - to provide equipment and ICT expertise.  Through this partnership, Plan will provide on the ground expertise in training of educators and school leaders.  Plan's longstanding presence in developing countries around the world will ensure that content is relevant and applicable to each country's specific education needs.  As part of this strategic alliance, Plan will also work with Microsoft in select countries to develop policies related to the use of technology in education.

"Plan is thrilled to partner with Microsoft to fulfill this important work. Young people around the world need to have the skills to compete for jobs and develop new enterprises," said Tessie San Martin, President and CEO of Plan International USA.  "Access to technology and the knowledge of how to use it will support innovation and prepare today's young people for the competitive and modern global workforce. Ensuring that youth have access to educational opportunities that address the needs of the future is important for everyone in our very interconnected world."

About Plan International USA

Plan International USA is part of the Plan International Federation, a global organization that works side by side with communities in 50 developing countries to end the cycle of poverty for children and their families. Plan works at the community level to develop customized solutions and ensure long-term sustainability. Our solutions are designed up-front to be owned by communities for generations to come and range from clean water and healthcare programs to education projects and child protection initiatives. For more information, please visit www.PlanUSA.org.

SOURCE Plan International USA



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