Microsoft Corporation has announced a new global initiative, Microsoft YouthSpark which aims to create opportunities for 300 million youths in more than 100 countries in the next three years.
The company-wide initiative includes citizenship and other company programmes that empower youths to imagine and realise their full potential by connecting them with greater opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship.
Through Microsoft YouthSpark, the company will dedicate the majority of its cash contributions to non-profits that serve the youth population around the world. In addition, Microsoft YouthSpark will include Office 365 for education, free technology tools for all teachers and students to power learning and collaboration, and Skype in the classroom, a free global community for teachers to connect their students with others around the world.
As part of the initiative, Microsoft is also launching a range of new citizenship programs, which include: Give for Youth, a global micro-giving marketplace focused on raising funds for non-profits that support youth causes around the world. Microsoft YouthSpark Hub, an online space where people can explore and access all the youth services, programs and resources provided by Microsoft and its non- profit partners. Microsoft Innovate for Good, a global online community enabling youth to collaborate, inspire and support each other while using technology to make a difference in their communities.
Launching the new initiative, Microsoft Chief Executive Officer, Steve Ballmer said, “Through Microsoft YouthSpark we are making a commitment to help 300 million young people around the world achieve their dreams by focusing our citizenship efforts and other company resources on connecting young people with opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship. We believe that working with our partners we can help empower young people to change their world, and we are committed to using our technology, talent, time and resources to do that.”
An example of an existing youth-focused programme in Africa that will now fall under YouthSpark, is The Youth Empowerment Program (YEP), an initiative of Microsoft and the International Youth Foundation (IYF).
“Our next generation of citizenship will focus on the next generation of people,” according to the Executive Vice President, Microsoft, Brad Smith.