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More than 700 NGOs have already been trained by Microsoft Philippines and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) through the "Kapit-Bisig para sa Kabuhayan" program, aims to close the digital divide to communities that benefit from the outreach projects of non-government organizations.

Microsoft has donated more that $90,000 in cash and more than $1 million in software for the installation of computer training laboratories in 44 TESDA centers nationwide. The centers will provide IT skills trainings to representatives of NGOs who will then cascade the training to their respective beneficiary communities. Over 20,000 Filipinos in underserved communities are expected to benefit from the cascade of IT skills training.

Among the TESDA centers participating in this project is TESDA TI - Regional Training Center VII in Cebu City.

"Through this project, we are able to train NGOs and LGUs and basic computer operation and Internet use to help them acquire new learning and develop IT skills. We believe it is important for them to acquire IT skills to keep up with the changing world, and enable them to increase productivity and efficiency," says Wilma O. Veraces, officer-in-charge, TESDA TI Regional Training Center VII.
Training in the Cebu TESDA center started in January 2006. Since then, the center has already trained 27 NGO trainers, outdoing its initial target of 25 trainers.

According to Microsoft Philippines Managing Director Antonio "TJ" Javier, "Our partnership with TESDA reiterates Microsoft's commitment to helping people realize their potential through technology. Kapit-Bisig further expresses our support for the government's thrust to develop the Philippine IT industry and to make the Filipino a globally competitive information worker."

Javier added that Kapit-Bisig is unique in such that it builds on the capability of non-government organizations to address community needs. Microsoft is confident that their goal to close the digital divide complements the NGO's mission to uplift the welfare of underserved communities.

Kapit-Bisig is part of Microsoft Unlimited Potential, a global initiative focused on providing technology skills for underserved individuals. Recipients of UP grants are public centers where people can gain IT skills and training to help themselves and their communities.
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