• Latest News - November 20, 2013

    Right To Play receives Microsoft investment to bring innovation into play


    Partnership is helping bring play to more than 77,000 children in east africa and strengthening the NGO’s core technological capacity

    LONDON, UK (November 20, 2013) – An innovative partnership with Microsoft YouthSpark was announced by Right To Play President and CEO Johann Koss earlier today in London, England, during the organization’s 2013 Big Red Ball – the flagship fundraising gala for Right To Play UK, supported by Microsoft.

    Microsoft YouthSpark is a three-year global initiative to create education, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for 300 million youth. Through more than 30 programs and partnerships with 186 youth-serving nonprofits, in its first year alone Microsoft YouthSpark has created new opportunities for more than 103 million young people in more than 100 countries worldwide.

    Founded in 2000 by Koss, Right To Play is a global organization that uses the transformative power of play to educate and empower children facing adversity. Through its weekly play programs, Right To Play reaches one million children across more than 20 countries worldwide.

    Established in early 2013, this partnership represents both a direct investment in Right To Play gender-focused programs in East Africa, as well as an investment in the charity’s technological capacity and digital resources.

    “This is a wonderful partnership, and it is just the beginning,” Koss said. “Play is an inherently creative and innovative process. I believe creativity, innovation and collaboration are all critical elements to building effective, impactful programs that will change the world. Our partnership with Microsoft YouthSpark is all of these things.”

    Microsoft’s investment in the Raising Her Voice program has already helped Right To Play reach more than 77,000 children in Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique. With a goal of expanding that reach to 110,000 by 2015, Raising Her Voice puts special emphasis on promoting gender equality and empowering girls to become engaged in their communities. More than 50 per cent of the program participants are female.

    “We fundamentally believe that investing in youth will help them change their world, and secure a better future for us all,” said Lori Forte Harnick, general manager, Citizenship & Public Affairs, Microsoft. “Right To Play’s Raising Her Voice program is already having a real impact upon the lives of thousands of young girls in Africa. We believe that our investment in their organization will help create opportunities for many, many more.”

    In-line with Microsoft YouthSpark and the company’s 4Afrika initiative, which aims to ignite African innovation by investing in youth education, workforce development and small and medium enterprises, the Microsoft investment will allow Right To Play to create an interactive digital portal of its more than 600 unique games and play-based activities so staff and Coaches worldwide have easier access to the resources.

    To ensure the more than 13,500 local volunteer Coaches who lead Right To Play activities can fully benefit from the partnership, a pilot program will also be launched to train 3,000 Coaches in basic computer skills and digital literacy.

    About Right To Play

    Right To Play is a global organization that uses the transformative power of play to educate and empower children facing adversity. Through playing sports and games, Right To Play helps children in more than 20 countries to build essential life skills and better futures, while driving lasting social change. Founded in 2000 by four-time Olympic gold medalist and social entrepreneur Johann Olav Koss, Right To Play is headquartered in Toronto, Canada and has national offices in Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Our programs are facilitated by 600 international staff and more than 13,500 volunteer Coaches.

    About Microsoft YouthSpark

    Microsoft YouthSpark is a global initiative that aims to create opportunities for 300 million youth in more than 100 countries by 2015. This companywide initiative includes Citizenship and other company programs that empower youth to imagine and realize their full potential by connecting them with greater opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship. Learn more at www.microsoft.com/youthspark


    Kyla Pearson
    Media and Communications Officer
    Right To Play International
    Email: kpearson@righttoplay.com
    Phone: +1 (416) 498-1922 x.240