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UNHCR and Microsoft sign agreement

Briefing notes

UNHCR and Microsoft sign agreement

11 December 2003

High Commissioner for Refugees Ruud Lubbers, together with Jean-Philippe Courtois, CEO of Microsoft for Europe, Middle East and Africa, this morning signed a letter of understanding on Community Technology Learning Centres that Microsoft is funding to provide training and computer education for refugees.

The centres, which will be fully funded by Microsoft, will be located at Dadaab refugee camp in eastern Kenya, which hosts more than 100,000 mainly Somali refugees, and in St. Petersburg, Russia, to benefit more than 6,000 mainly Afghans and Iraqis. We believe that these Community Technology Learning Centres will provide exciting new opportunities for refugees to learn about the broader world.

Refugee youth will be targeted under the training programme that will give them contact with the latest software and hardware, giving them new perspective on the broader world and skills they can eventually use. UNHCR's cooperation with Microsoft began during the Kosovo crisis in 1999, when the software giant offered its technical expertise to develop the Kosovo Registration Project, portable registration kits that have now been deployed to several other refugee situations worldwide.