Education for All
A few years back our SCN community actively participated in a powerful philanthropic partnership with SAP to provide the World Food Programme with additional funding for their “Feeding Knowledge” program. We in the community, called our participation: “Points for Food” and were delighted that the community harnessed it’s sharing prowess to not only share knowledge with each other here on SCN but by extension, provide education for some of the world’s poorest children. On track for a great end to the year.
Renewing the Commitment
Many of you have asked about the renewal of such a focus and a more altruistic use of the SCN Reputation System and I’ll share that we are in the process of working with Help non-profits make the most of their limited marketing dollars at TechEd Innovation Weekend, Director of SAP Corporate Social Responsibility to do just that: revive it. (More about that in upcoming weeks)
But I’d like to share with you why I think now, more than ever, the participation of a Tech Community and SAP, a Technology Vendor, is so important in helping reach Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
I’ll reiterate but a few of the MDGs here to make the correlation clearer.
Millennium Development Goals (subset)
Goal 1: To eradicate extreme poverty and hunger which means, among other things, achieving full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people (Technology is a crucial enabler in this realm of productive employment)
Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education for boys and girls alike. (In most developed nations technology is highly integrated into primary education and to create parity must be available for developing nations as well)
Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women – eliminating gender disparity in education at all levels (again technology can provide creative tools to empower women and promote gender equality (see the links to Shea Butter Women)
Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development – making available the benefits of new technologies – especially information and communication technologies.
SCN goes to UN
This past Monday, February 28th, Technology Innovation lets talk about it, SAP VP of Technology Strategy, provided an invitation to me to attend a special event held in the United Nations, New York, entitled “Education for All”. I met Anne, last March, through an introduction by SAP’s Moya Watson –our own technology and video evangelist, herself both an activist for educational parity for children and a strong voice in the realm of ending gender discrimination. The context of that meeting last year was Ada Lovelace Day (coming upon us soon March ) and I learned from Anne about her activism in encouraging local girls and young women in her own community in California to have greater awareness about pursuing careers in Technology, Science, and Mathematics . Anne spearheaded a program in Silicon Valley called: “Dare 2 be Digital”. Anne was invited to give a TEDxTalk this past December 8th about participatory collaboration where many of the esteemed participants recognized Anne for her work in the arena of promoting education for girls and young women in technology in the technology savvy environment of Silicon Valley.
Imagine if you will then, how very important and perhaps seemingly unattainable access to technology skills and awareness of its importance is for adolescents in developing nations and in the world’s poorest countries.
In a day of meetings at the UN, I was privileged to visit both the UNICEF Headquarters and the UN General Assembly. The meetings included a visit to the Emergency Operations Center with Mr. Louis-Georges Arsenault, Director of Emergency Programmes. We saw this crisis center in real-time operation as reports flooded in from the middle east and with it concerns were that region’s most vulnerable citizens, its children.
I also learned from UNICEF’s senior Education Adviser, Ms. Barbara Reynolds how the “School Feeding Program” and other programs like it are instrumental in helping reach Millennium Development Goals.
At the General Assembly of the UN there were some unique speakers:
Some of our partners and customers represented a powerful voice of the technology community.
Carlos Dominquez, Senior VP, Cisco “ is an advocate of establishing a culture that is adaptable to change and embraces experimentation with technology”, Wendy Hawkins, Executive Director of Intel also spoke and has awarded grants totaling approximately $40 million each year on STEM education (Science Technology Engineering and mathematics education.)
And very articulate and eloquent was Infosys Technologies CEO and Managing Director, Mr. S. Gopalakrishnan who participated with Carlos Dominquez in a dialogue around promoting education and training for tomorrow’s economy.
“there is a rising concern that education systems are not adequately preparing students to meet the demands and challenges of tomorrow’s world . Close to 800 million adults lack basic literacy skills, two thirds of these are women. Some 70 million children are still out of primary school and the same number of adolescent youth are not benefiting from a secondary education” …..
“Technology plays a pivotal role ( in particular information and communication technologies- ICTs) in reaching even the remotest corners of the world and lack of education is a powerful factor of exclusion and a threat o sustainable development. ITCs open new learning opportunities that can reach learners beyond traditional class rooms”.
“Education is a collective responsibility of governments, civil society and the private sector.”
I think we here on SCN are highly aware of that and uniquely posed to help and participate in creating equity in education.
As a tiny aside this UN General Assembly meeting was marked in history as the UN’s first event where Twitter and a hashtag were used.
So it would seem, I had the rather odd distinction of being an active participant in the very first UN tweet up.