On the evening of Friday 16th of October 2015, Microsoft East Africa held an event at the Kiza Restaurant and Lounge in Kilimani, to celebrate and award five non-profit organizations for their great work of helping out and making a positive impact in society. The event, hosted by Laura Chite Wanjau started off on a high, and in attendance were the who’s who in the technology world in Nairobi.
Mr. Alex Nyingi, the Program Manager for Citizenship at Microsoft, said that such an event is usually a staff only kind of event, but was opened to the public for the first time ever, (boy am I glad to have been one of the members of the public that was present. Do not get me started on the delicacies and drink that were in free flow)where the public was given the twenty three days to nominate and vote for the initiative that they thought was the best and deserved to be awarded five million Kenya shillings. The winners were presented with their cheques by Kunle Awosika, Here are the five winners of the night.
Africa Yoga Project
They were the first winners of the evening. Run majorly by youth, their mission is to educate, empower, elevate and expand employment with youth in Africa using the transformational practice of yoga. Their vision is to create opportunities for youth to step into their greatness, become self-sustaining and leaders in their communities.
I was seated right next to them when they were called out as winners. Obviously, when they got back to the table from receiving their cheque I engaged them in a post-win conversation.
“It is extremely difficult to be noticed because there are hundreds of non-profit organizations out there. So it feels really good to win. This money will bring a huge difference to our organization,” Elvis, a Vision Africa employee said.
The NGO is a UK Christian charity which has supported vulnerable and disadvantaged children throughout Kenya since 2001. They seek to equip and empower children and young people for a brighter future through provision, protection and preparation, ensuring that they have the opportunity to fulfil their potential and make a difference in their families and communities.
Kids Comp Camp
This is an initiative that aims to help young learners living in marginalized areas, mostly aged between 9-14 years to catch up with the latest technology.
Beacon of Hope
Founded in 2002 by Jane Wahome, this initiative aims to empower women living with HIV/AIDS, giving them the opportunity to the opportunity to work for their financial independence and provide a better life for themselves and their families.
This is also a youth-led organization that runs various programmes in universities in an effort to make young leaders who impact positive change in the society.
Did you know that Microsoft has a policy that says that every member of staff (there’s about 150,000 of them worldwide) is entitled to three days off work to volunteer in a course of their choice? Mr. Nyingi says that they encourage employees to give back to society. To that effect, three of the employees were also awarded in dollars and hugs from Evelyn the HR Manager at Microsoft, for their tremendous effort to help their initiative. Ms. Wanjira Kamwere got USD 1500 to support her initiative Global Give Back Circle, Roy and Newton got USD4000 to support their initiatives.