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Free Microsoft Software for all registered NGOs

Together with the National NGO Secretariat which operates under the Ministry of Defence, Microsoft Sri Lanka is offering a wide range of genuine Microsoft software including Office 2010, Microsoft Server Products such as Exchange, SharePoint, Windows Server, and an upgrade to genuine Windows 7 operating system free of charge to all registered NGOs. Microsoft Sri Lanka, committed to breaking down barriers that restrict people from using IT in their daily lives, has initiated the campaign as part of their Gamata IT program to provide genuine Microsoft software to registered NGOs who are actively involved in empowering our communities.

Mr. Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Country Manager of Microsoft Sri Lanka’s said, “We are committed to improve IT knowledge and provide IT accessibility across the nation through many far reaching programs we have carried out through the past years. Some of them, such as our Gamata IT and Software for the 21st Century have been truly groundbreaking, whereby we give away our latest and most innovative software absolutely free to rural community groups and university students. This program which offers genuine software free of charge to registered NGOs is the latest in the Gamata IT initiative, through which we make IT and its numerous benefits accessible to more and more people each year. That aim is one of the main reasons that we embark on through endeavors such as this where we take IT to rural areas or supply software and tools to those who work with rural communities.”

The program offers latest software and application upgrades such as Office 2010, the latest productivity suite. Office 2010 with its enhanced user-friendly features delivers productivity enhancements any organization seeks that enable them to save time and money in their da-to-day operational work. Also on offer is the latest Server products range from Microsoft that includes products such as SharePoint which is the most sought after collaboration technology that is ideal for NGO type of scenario where they need to communicate and collaborate with multiple stakeholders and be up-to-date across geographical and physical boundaries. Microsoft Exchange Server provides the advantage of operating a cost-effective and flexible communication platform that is safe and reliable. The program also gives the opportunity for NGOs to upgrade their existing genuine operating system licenses on computers running on older versions of Windows such as Windows Xp or Vista to the latest Windows 7 operating system. Windows 7, the latest operating system launched by Microsoft simplifies the use of a computer making everyday tasks faster and easier. Windows 7 also comes with the Language Interface Packs in Sinhala and Tamil, enabling the computer to be used in a more familiar local language.

A key advantage of this program is that by using genuine Microsoft software, NGOs now have the opportunity to deploy latest and world class technology to run their day-to-day operations making them more productive and efficient which gives them the leverage to focus their attention on their core activities. With access to latest Microsoft technologies and applications, the NGOs will also have the option to open up new possibilities to serve the communities they serve. Another advantage of this program affords is the ability to operate computers in our native languages of Sinhala and Tamil with the use of Language Interface Packs for Windows & Office that will enable the NGOs to reach out to more underserved communities in rural Sri Lanka.

This programme is an extension of the Microsoft Gamata IT campaign to provide IT access to the most rural villages of the country. The Gamata IT campaign has already reached many provinces in the country empowering students, youth and larger rural village communities so that they can become active participants of the knowledge economy. Additionally, under the Software for the 21st Century programme all state universities are provided with the latest cutting-edge Microsoft software absolutely free of charge, exposing their students and faculty to the best of world-class technology.

Addressing the barriers of IT proliferation in the local context which includes geographic accessibility, finance and ultimately the most fundamental of all – language, Microsoft launched the groundbreaking Sinhala Language Interface Pack (LIP) in collaboration with the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) of Sri Lanka.

With the launch of this groundbreaking initiative Microsoft invites all NGOs registered with the National Secretariat for Non-Governmental Organizations which operates under the Ministry of Defense, to register for the program and avail themselves to the latest software and tools available. The registration process front-ended by the National NGO Secretariat will enable the NGOs get the latest software that will help them serve the community better. This step towards empowering the urban population by way of empowering the NGOs that serve them with access to latest in IT holds the promise of opening up new opportunities for the NGOs to serve the communities or projects they are involved in with better skills and enhanced capability.