Month of Service 2019 (2/15) – Powering Digital Inclusion in the Philippines
This October, SAP Global Month of Service goes into its 15th round! Are you ready?
Kicking off the celebration early, we are proud to be sharing a selection of 15 inspiring volunteer experiences over the coming weeks leading up to the beginning of October.
SAP Global Month of Service, it is our company’s largest volunteer initiative. In 2018, employees volunteered in more than 900 projects in communities around the world. And it doesn’t stop with Month of Service! Our employees are leading meaningful volunteer events year-round, when and where the need arises.
This week, I had the pleasure to interview one of our great colleagues and volunteer leads from Manila, Philippines: Mary Grace Simbajon. Grace regularly shares amazing volunteer stories from the Manila Offices and I wanted to ask her a couple of questions about one of their recent projects, a Digital Inclusion volunteer activity.
Keep on reading to learn what it can look like to put SAP CSR’s mission into action!
Leonie: Grace, can you share with our readers more about the recent Digital Inclusion volunteer project that you hosted?
Grace: Of course! To fulfill SAP’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Mission of powering opportunity through digital inclusion, SAP Concur CSR Philippines designed an activity: The Digital Inclusion project was partnered with Virlanie Philippines to promote Information and Communication Technology (ICT) accessibility and use for the social and economic development of people with specific needs; including women, girls (Women Empowerment), youth and children.
Leonie: That sounds like a great initiative!
Grace: It is the second initiative that SAP Concur CSR team came up with, to fulfill SAP’s mandate.
The recent program is just one of the many ways that the Pillars of CSR can be put into action; building digital skills by introducing the participants of the activity to computer basics; accelerating best-run non-profits and social enterprise, by partnering with foundations that have focus aligned with that of SAP and SAP Concur CSR Philippines; and connecting employees with purpose by encouraging employees to be part of events similar to this one, through volunteerism.
Leonie: Yes! So, you have partnered with the Virlanie Foundation for this project. Can you tell us more about the organization itself and its mission?
Grace: The Virlanie Foundation, Inc. is a private, non-profit and non-sectarian organization reaching out to marginalized children and communities in the Philippines. They envision a world where each child is loved, protected, and empowered to become a responsible individual. The foundation has come to the attention of the international community – including SAP and SAP Concur -, which has stepped in to help grow the foundation into the 8 homes and 23 programs, that have served more than 17,000 street children and disadvantaged youth.
Leonie: The event took place in April this year right? How did the day look like?
Grace: Yes! It was a one-on-one training at the SAP Concur, Makati City Office, attended by twenty-two kids and ten houseparents. Houseparents were involved to extend the inclusivity of the event. The volunteers were a mix of CSR team members and volunteers from different departments and business segments of SAP Concur.
It was a four-hour training wherein kid participants were taught computer basics; starting with the main parts of a desktop computer, then hands-on with Microsoft Office (MS) Word, and lastly, accessing the internet via Google. They were taught the use of MS Word by showing how to change font colors and styles. Participants were then allowed to type sentences by themselves and apply what they learned. There were videos- showing about computers and the internet, Guessing Game to which kids were asked what the object shown was, and those with correct answers were given prizes.
Leonie: That sounds like a lot of fun for the kids! Do you know which activity was enjoyed the most?
Grace: The activity that everyone most enjoyed was when they used Google Maps. Everyone was very excited to navigate the virtual map, and to see familiar streets near to where the foundation they are sheltered, is located.
Leonie: Grace, thank you so much for taking the time to share your story with us! Before I let you go, would you mind telling us what motivates you to take part in projects, like the Digital Inclusion project?
Grace: As SAP SE Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Bill McDermott said, during the World Economic Forum in 2018, “We are trying to role model the importance of each individual and their skillset having a place in the new economy”.
Let us have an active role and take on the challenge of empowering people through Information and Communication Technologies. We want to help equip individuals who have lesser opportunities and access to ICT, to have a place and be competitive in this so-called new economy. And we can all support this goal by taking part in volunteer activities like this one! Together, we can make the world run better and improve people’s lives.