SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Trevor Parsons, Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente, Xenia von Wedel

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World Vision Partners with Microsoft, Intel and the British Council to Improve Digital Access in Developing Countries

Spark a Child's Digital Future Initiative to Launch in 2013

SEATTLE, Dec. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Last week in Prague, Czech Republic, Microsoft closed the Partners in Learning Global Forum with an announcement of their $75 million investment and commitment to an initiative that will bring digital access to youth and educators in developing nations, beginning in Kenya in 2013, scaling across sub-Saharan Africa and beyond over the next five years. Spark a Child's Digital Future www.worldvision.org/bethespark, which launches this holiday season, is a collaborative effort, uniting World Vision, British Council, Microsoft and Intel.

World Vision, with operations in nearly 100 countries, will leverage their deep experience in sub-Saharan Africa in collaboration with British Council to initially launch in 50 schools in Kenya. Microsoft will contribute software, curriculum, and expertise gained through Partners in Learning.  Together Microsoft and Intel will offer ICT expertise and training while British Council and World Vision bring on-the-ground expertise in education program execution and content development for teacher and school leader professional development, as well as measurement and evaluation.

The Spark a Child's Digital Future initiative will bring holistic digital access to the classroom, including devices, infrastructure, and teacher training, which improves learning outcomes—in academics, life skills, and economic opportunity.

"We recognize that once a child's basic needs are met, digital skills development can be vital in securing economic growth," said Rich Stearns, President, World Vision US. "This program is essential in helping children in developing countries succeed in a global world."  To get involved in this partnership, see Rich Stearns video message:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BattaphShL4   

The announcement is in support of Microsoft's recent YouthSpark commitment – an initiative to empower 300 million youth worldwide through the provision of education, employment and entrepreneurship opportunities over the next three years.

"Today's young people face an opportunity divide — a gap between those who have the access, skills and opportunities to be successful and those who do not," said Anthony Salcito, vice president of Worldwide Education for Microsoft. "We firmly believe in the power of technology to help close this gap. But we can only achieve our ambitions with the help of these kinds of partnerships. Together, we can help bring digital access to youth and support to educators in developing countries worldwide."  See Anthony Salcito's recent blog post, Digital Access in the Developing World Becomes a Reality Through Partnerships:  http://goo.gl/fb/4CAZS

"We are pleased to deepen our collaboration with the British Council, Microsoft and World Vision," said Brian Gonzalez, Director of K-12 Education, Intel Corporation.  "We look forward to transforming the educational experience for students in Africa through the Spark a Child's Digital Future program." 

Dr. Jo Beall, British Council Director of Education and Society said, "We hope these new partnerships will enable a step-change for education around the world. Through working together, we can harness our long-developed expertise in helping young people find new educational opportunities and bring that experience to many, many more people."

The Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) were signed at Microsoft's Partners in Learning Global Forum 2012 in Prague, Czech Republic.

About World Vision
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.  For more information, please visit www.worldvision.org/press or follow them on Twitter at @WorldVisionNews.

SOURCE World Vision U.S.

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