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CGI Commitment: 'Women for Women,' Goldman Sachs To Establish New Tech For Needy Countries

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This post is part of HuffPost's partnership with Clinton Global Initiative, which details commitments made at the annual meeting.

Clinton Global Initiative Commitment By: Women for Women International
Partner(s): Goldman Sachs International
Estimated Total Value: $1,200,000 over 3 years
Project Start: 9/21/2010
Geographic Scope: Afghanistan; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Iraq;
Kosovo; Nigeria; Rwanda; Sudan

In 2010, Women for Women International (WfWI), with support from Goldman Sachs, committed to establish new technology infrastructure, consisting of phones and handheld computers, for socially-excluded women in developing economies. This technology will facilitate the development of support networks to connect women to the information, resources, and tools they need to create long-term change in their lives and communities. These types of connections - which include information exchange, social support, and technical assistance - are necessary to sustain the progress made by graduates of WfWI's one-year empowerment/entrepreneurship program after they complete the program and begin to manage and grow cooperative business. Additionally, this network will also streamline WfWI's operations, allowing it to reach 800,000 women by 2018.

Progress Updates: April 2012
WfWI has made much progress on this commitment since its last update in April 2011, specifically through the development of a new partnership, technology assessments, improvements in infrastructure and information technology (IT) deployment, and increased operational efficiency.

First, WfWI received an in-kind grant from Hewlett Packard consisting of $46,000 in computer equipment for WfWI's Nigeria office, as well as $10,000 in cash to defray deployment costs. This grant builds on previous public-private partnerships with Goldman Sachs, Google, Salesforce.com, and Global Bay, which have provided the financial investment, in-kind support, and technical expertise needed to launch this commitment into action.

Second, and in order to streamline country office communications and operations, WfWI completed technology assessments in Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, and Iraq. With this work, WfWI has completed technology assessments for all of its eight country offices. In this process, WfWI identified a range of key technology needs, including: updated hardware, software licenses, file servers and backup systems, firewalls, internet bandwidth, IT support staff, and a Global IT Director.

Third, based on its technology assessments, WfWI has made numerous improvements in infrastructure and office IT. It hired a Global IT Director and established technical support for all of its field offices through IT Officers and support contracts. WfWI further provided field staff in Bosnia, Kosovo, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with IT training for office and productivity software applications. In Bukavu, DRC, WfWI stabilized power sources, upgraded desktop computers, improved internet bandwidth, and provided network security. In Rwanda, WfWI upgraded internet bandwidth. WfWI purchased and delivered new IT equipment to its Nigeria office, which will be deployed in April 2012 with the help of a Hewlett Packard employee volunteer. Finally, WfWI has begun disaster recovery and data security planning in all eight field offices, and will also provide its Afghanistan and Iraq offices with IT upgrades over the summer.

Fourth, WfWI is leveraging technology to increase operational efficiencies, reduce program costs, and eliminate paper waste. As a result of this effort, the entire organization is now using a single communications platform (Google Apps), which enables reliable and convenient communication via email, instant message (IM), and web meetings. WfWI is also deploying VOIP phones in all field offices to reduce the cost of international calls. WfWI has also added features to its online sponsor portal to allow self-management of payment information and account details, thereby reducing inquiry calls to WfWI support staff by nearly 300 per week. WfWI is still testing electronic data capture software platforms to improve field-based monitoring and evaluation systems, as well as developing a video messaging platform designed around digital flip cameras to replace letter writing between sponsors and sisters. Together, these investments have the potential to save more than 17,000 hours of staff time, $340,000 in funds, and one million sheets of paper each year.

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Commitment By: Camfed International; Google Inc.; The Mastercard Foundation
Estimated Total Value: $10,420,000 over 5 years
Project Start: 9/1/2010
Geographic Scope: Ghana; Malawi

In 2010, the MasterCard Foundation, the Campaign for Female Education (Camfed), and Google committed to providing secondary, financial literacy, and ICT education in Ghana and Malawi for 270,000 adolescent girls and women. When households are taken into account, the financial education component is expected to benefit over one million people. The MasterCard Foundation, the Campaign for Female Education (Camfed), and Google also committed to piloting an innovative internship program to introduce entrepreneurship and job employment opportunities into rural areas. These programs aimed to enable the beneficiaries to complete secondary schooling and progress into adulthood with opportunities that include professional training, higher education, and job creation.

Progress Updates: April 2012
Secondary school bursary support funds have been disbursed to 1,750 girls in Ghana and 1,267 in Malawi, to support their studies in secondary schools. These bursaries cover school and exam fees, stationery, uniform, shoes, bags and toiletries. The Financial Literacy Training curriculum has had significant outreach in Ghana through Camfed's cascading training model. The first 15 core trainers continue to work in partnership with the first cohort of Peer Educators, who are now nearly a year into their community outreach work. To date, 437 Cama Peer Educators in Ghana have taught 31,666 school children and community members core financial literacy, life, and business skills.

Camfed continues to garner national attention in Ghana and Malawi. Camfed Ghana's collaboration with the Ghana Education Service and DFID has been shared with the Donor Partner Education Sector Group (including members such as UNICEF and USAID).

Camfed Malawi has a seat at the National Technical Working Group on Basic Education and is developing a national teacher training manual on child protection. Further, Camfed has been lauded as an exceptional partner by one of the District Commissioners, responsible for all development initiatives.

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Commitment By: Kai Ricke, Ericsson, Delta Partners Group, Refugees United
Partner(s): MTN Group Limited, UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Estimated Total Value: $4,600,000

Countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo; Kenya; Somalia; Sudan; Tanzania; Uganda; Egypt
By the end of 2011, Refugees United (RU), Delta Partners, and Ericsson commit to assisting 120,000 refugees in an effort to reconnect families separated by conflict. The success of this program lies in the strength of the partners -- Refugees United provides the content and program, UNHCR provides on-ground expertise and know-how, Delta Partners delivers strategy and operator access, MTN provides access, and Ericsson delivers the needed technology, expertise, operator interface and service integration to ensure that even the most information-deprived refugees have access to the reconnection platform.

As of April 2011, RU has signed up more than 20,000 refugees in search of missing family members and secured $3 million in funding. Building on a successful pilot in Uganda, RU will roll-out a new platform in three to five other countries in East Africa, enabling refugees to search for and connect with lost loved ones through mobile phone devices.

Progress Updates:
August 2012:
RU has signed up more than 150,000 refugees currently using the platform, and many families have been reunited across continents and within national borders. With a new focus of user activity and functionality, RU plans to help 1 million people onto the platform by 2014

April 2011
- The proof of concept pilot in Uganda was successfully finalized
- More than 20,000 refugees have signed up in search of missing family, becoming empowered to participate in the tracing process
- Refugees United has secured $3 million in funding to date
- The project design has been proven and is ready to be scaled. RU expects to see significant expansion in the remainder of 2011, accelerated by experience and by the addition of mobile and NGO partners.

Scaling the Development of Young IT Professionals, 2011
Commitment By: NetHope, Inc.
Partner(s): Accenture, Accenture Foundation, Cisco, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, Voila Foundation, NetHope Member NGOs, Microsoft Corporation, Hewlett Packard Company
Estimated Total Value: $3,000,000
Commitment Duration: 3 years
Geographic Region: Africa; Latin America & Caribbean
Countries: Dominican Republic; Ghana; Haiti; Kenya; Rwanda; South Africa; Sudan
In 2011, NetHope committed to facilitating IT vocational training, internships, and outplacement services for 1,000 students in Africa and Latin America through an expansion of the NetHope Academy over the next three years. This program will bridge the gap between unemployed, educated youth and the demand for skilled IT workers by companies, governments, and civil society in developing regions. As a strategic extension to the 'human element' addressed by NetHope Academy, NetHope and its partners will address the 'infrastructure element' by increasing the availability and awareness of cloud services in the target regions.

Progress Updates: June 2012
NetHope has committed to facilitating IT vocational training, internships, and outplacement services for 1,000 students in Africa and Latin America through an expansion of the NetHope Academy over the next three years. As of March 2012, NetHope Academy has launched the Internship Program in two Latin American countries (Haiti, Dominican Republic) and two Sub Saharan Africa countries (Kenya and Rwanda). By July 2012, over 120 interns will have been trained in these programs. With additional programs launching in June and September in each of these countries, as well as South Africa, Tanzania, Ghana and South Sudan, NetHope will add another 340 interns to the population, totaling 495 interns by the end of 2012.

NetHope is also committed to increasing the number of women in the IT industry and actively works to find ways to engage young women with a passion for IT into the internship program. NetHope reached a significant milestone in 2012 by forging a partnership with the African Center for Women in IT (ACWICT) in Kenya. NetHope anticipates that approximately 20% of the internship participants globally in 2012 will be women who were engaged via the NetHope/ACWICT partnership.

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