As the holiday season approaches, Google announced today grants its making to support education, technology and the fight against modern day slavery. These grants, which total to $40 million, are being given to a range of non-profit organizations working within these areas across the world including the MENA region. The Palestinian Information Technology Association (PITA) an organization founded in 1999 to promote the ICT sector through public-policy advocacy and enabling ICT entrepreneurs received $100,000 from Google.
Empowerment through technology
One of the categories for this year’s grant was empowerment through technology.
Winners in this category included PITA which was granted $100k to help it identify and meet the demand for qualified ICT professionals necessary to make the ICT sector in Palestine more competitive regionally and internationally.
Google’s grant to PITA will help it build programs aimed at providing students and fresh graduates with more hands on experience in the private sector, implementing technical and soft skills training programs outside the academic programs, and graduation projects with companies and internships in local and international companies.
Ari Kesisoglu, Managing Director, Middle East North Africa, Google said “We are proud that the MENA region was included in Google’s grant program this year – we hope this will empower Palestinians through technology to realize their potential.
Another winner included Vittana which helps lenders offer loans to students in the developing world who have a 99 percent repayment rate--potentially doubling or tripling a recipient's earning power. Code for America enables the web industry to share its skills with the public sector by developing projects that improve transparency and encourage civic engagement on a mass scale. And Switchboard is working with local mobile providers to help African health care workers create networks and communicate for free.
STEM and girls’ education
Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) open up great opportunities for young people so Google has decided to fund 16 great programs in this area. These include Boston-based Citizen Schools and Generating Genius in the U.K, both of which work to help to expand the horizons of underprivileged youngsters. In total, Google’s grants will provide enhanced STEM education for more than 3 million students.
In addition, Google is supporting girls’ education in the developing world. By giving girls an education, Google aims not only to improve opportunities for girls, but to extend that of their whole family. The African Leadership Academy provides merit scholarships to promising young women across the continent, and the Afghan Institute of Learning offers literacy classes to women and girls in rural Afghanistan. Groups like these will use Google’s funds to educate more than 10,000 girls in developing countries.
Fighting slavery and human trafficking
Modern day slavery is a multi-billion dollar industry that ruins the lives of around 27 million people. So Google is funding a number of groups that are working to tackle the problem. For instance, in India, International Justice Mission (IJM), along with The BBC World Service Trust, Action Aid and Aide et Action, are forming a new coalition. It will work on the ground with governments to stop slave labor by identifying the ring masters, documenting abuse, freeing individuals and providing them with therapy as well as job training. Google’s support will also help expand the reach of tools like the powerful Slavery Footprint calculator and Polaris Project’s National Trafficking Hotline.
These grants, which total $40 million, are only part of Google’s annual philanthropic efforts. Over the course of the year, Google provided more than $115 million in funding to various nonprofit organizations and academic institutions around the world; Google’s in-kind support (programs like Google Grants and Google Apps for Education that offer free products and services to eligible organizations) came to more than $1 billion, and Google’s annual company-wide GoogleServe event and related programs enabled individual Googlers to donate more than 40,000 hours of their own volunteer time.