Malaysia Diary: TechSoup Asia launches in country No. 38
Inspired not tired, here’s my story of our launch in Malaysia December 4-6 after TechSoup Asia recently began in Singapore.
Day 1: NGOs in Malaysia
TechSoup Global Network partner Doug Jacquier from ConnectingUp Australia and I met with TechSoup Asia’s new partner Yayasan Salam Malaysia, the leading Malaysian NGO in the field of volunteerism which partners with 50 NGOs, operates a community MAR (Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher) program, and which is also involved in telecentres. I then spoke at the National Council of Welfare and Social Development Malaysia Executive Council meeting representing 25 NGOs from around the country. We got a great response, and lots of requests for follow up information.
Day 2: Locomotives on full steam
The next day, we spoke at Microsoft’s “Accelerating Asia Pacific” event where our NGO partners discussed the application of technology to social challenges, and General Manager of Citizenship and Public Affairs for Microsoft Lori Harnick talked about their focus on young people whose lives had been changed through technology. Clair Deevy, head of citizenship for Microsoft APAC provided the introduction for TechSoup Asia, and also announced the first results from their Application Incubator project, Kavakatu, which enables NGOs monitor and evaluate projects.
The feedback that day was quite positive, with our work likened to a “locomotive running at full steam” in recognition of accomplishments over the past six months including both TechSoup Asia and the App.Incubator partnership (which we hope will focus on disaster preparedness next). You can find all the presentations from the conference (including the moving story of how Japanese NGOs responded to the earthquake) here.
Day 3: Signing over noodles
This day began with a visit to our other NGO partner in Malaysia, Science of Life Systems 24/7 (SOLS 247), which provides training in English, computers, and life skills in an innovative 2-year live-in program in four countries. Microsoft’s Lori Harnick and Akhtar Badshah were also present and came away deeply impressed with their work. SOLS 247 co-founder Raj Singh was able to express strong appreciation for the support of Microsoft and TechSoup – Twitter accolades followed.
After formalizing our partnership with a signing ceremony in a curry house, Raj offered us a staff person from his team to call Malaysian NGOs and share the good news. We also discussed starting a NetSquared meetup, and he connected me with local organizers of web camps and hackatahons. He’s also excited about starting a community Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher program as part of a move to get computers into schools, and has already made contact with TechSoup’s Jim Lynch, and my favorite local nonprofit refurbisher, Bruce Buckelew from OTX-West.
Raj also reminded me about Khailee Ng at Youth Asia, who visited TechSoup’s San Francisco HQ back in July. Khailee told our team at that time that Facebook in Malaysia saw 1000 percent growth from 2008-2010, and that the largest Facebook population outside America is no longer the United Kingdom. It’s Indonesia, where 80 percent still lack Internet access!