New feature on Microsoft messaging service to benefit millions of refugee children
WASHINGTON, D.C., United States, March 2 (UNHCR) - Millions of young refugees are set to benefit from a new feature launched on the Windows Live Messenger service this week in the United States by UNHCR corporate partner, Microsoft.
The "i'm" initiative, unveiled during a Washington press conference on Thursday, will connect users of the instant messaging programme to UNHCR's ninemillion.org (www.ninemillion.org) campaign, which aims to give the world's refugee children greater access to education and sport programmes.
ninemillion.org has been selected along with some of the most reputable non-profit organisations in the United States to be part of this unique initiative. Others to benefit will be the American Red Cross, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the National AIDS Fund, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Sierra Club, StopGlobalWarming.org, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and the US Fund for UNICEF.
Users of the i'm programme (http://im.live.com) will have the option of clicking on ninemillion.org or one of the other eight causes. With each instant message conversation using i'm, Microsoft will share a portion of the programme's revenue with the selected organisation. The company has guaranteed to provide ninemillion.org with a minimum US$100,000 during the first year, with no limit on total donations.
The ninemillion.org campaign was launched last June by UNHCR and corporate partners, Nike and Microsoft, to bring much-needed attention and support to refugee children around the world. Funds raised from the i'm initiative will be used to provide education and sport to refugee youth through the ninemillion.org campaign.
"The i'm initiative will reach a new audience and empower a new generation, young people, and connect them with millions of refugee children. Through the click of a mouse, millions will learn about UNHCR's operations in the field and help us save lives every day," said Olivier Delarue, the refugee agency's senior corporate relations officer. "The i'm initiative answers the question of how individuals can help and allows a community of people who care about the same issue to find each other."
Recognising the need for corporate global responsibility, Microsoft hopes to engage the general public in worthy causes "without spending a dime through something we do everyday," said Jack Krumholtz, head of federal government affairs at Microsoft.
The i'm initiative is an innovative use of the internet aimed at increasing awareness of refugee issues and calls for a public response through fund-raising. It also connects millions of people who wish to support the same causes.
ninemillion.org, which has raised about US$1.5 million to date, is a flagship initiative of the UNHCR Council of Business Leaders. Launched at the annual World Economic Forum in the Swiss town of Davos in 2005, the council includes Manpower, Microsoft, Merck, Nike and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
By Lilli Tnaib in Washington, D.C., United States