Alibaba Cloud, the cloud-computing arm of Alibaba Group, has announced the Tech for Change Initiative at the Mobile World Congress (MWC). The initiative calls for ideas and efforts from enterprises, start-ups and young entrepreneurs, to tackle global social and humanitarian challenges. The areas covered include education, economic development and the environment through technologies.
Making a difference – iamtheCODE
Alibaba Cloud provides cloud infrastructure to transform businesses digitally. The company will contribute to the initiative by offering partners access to its technology expertise, global computing resources and talent development programmes. This includes the Alibaba Cloud Academy and its AI competition platform Tianchi.
One of the first partnerships of the Tech for Change initiative is aimed at supporting female education across the world. The first collaboration revealed at the MWC is with iamtheCODE. The initiative is the first African-led global movement to mobilise governments, businesses and the philanthropic foundation on STEAMED: (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics, Entrepreneurship, and Design) education. The partnership will support women programmers in marginalised communities through free online training and free access to cloud computing resources.
One million woman and girl coders
The aim is to enable one million woman and girl coders by the year 2030. According to Dr Wanli Min, Chief Machine Intelligence Scientist at Alibaba Cloud: “Through the initiative, we want to bring together creativity and innovation. We want to tackle critical problems and challenges faced by humanity. Issues such as equality in education, healthcare for the underprivileged, sustainable agriculture and wildlife protection. By making technology more accessible and affordable, we can inspire creativity and nurture the next generation of game-changers who will make our world a better place.
“As an advocate for applying technologies for the social good. We believe that affordable cloud infrastructure. Together with accessible intelligent technologies have the potential to enable smaller organisations make huge differences in creating a better world for all humankind. We are calling for everyone to join forces and be part of the Tech for Change global community.”
Alibaba Cloud empowering community through technology
The initiative reflects Alibaba Cloud’s long-held value of empowering the community through technology. Alibaba Cloud has been working with small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) on their social cause projects over the years. This includes offering cloud and intelligent technologies to ROYBI, a robotics company on early childhood education.
The company also supports Curefun, a Chinese AI company that creates virtual patients to train doctors and nurses in rural areas. Alibaba Cloud also built a technical philanthropy platform, “Green Code” in 2017. The platform connects professional IT volunteers with non-profit organisations in China for philanthropy programmes. More than 3,000 engineers registered for charity programmes from 168 organisations in 2018.
Under the partnership with iamtheCODE, Alibaba Cloud will provide tailored courses on cloud computing, data analysis, machine learning and security. iamtheCODE is also adding Alibaba Cloud on their blended curriculum, as certificates are awarded to young women students. The certificates will help them along with their career path towards engineering and other practical subjects. To date over 13,000 girls have access to the iamtheCODE curriculum. Additionally, each enrolled student will be offered free access to cloud computing resources during their study.
Getting a global reach
According to Mariéme Jamme, Founder of iamtheCODE: “Having its foothold in 64 countries, iamtheCODE is delighted to partner with Alibaba Cloud. It will engage more young women and girls from the most disadvantaged background in the world and use its technology to change their lives. Our blended curriculum will become even more accessible as we add Alibaba Cloud on it. For iamtheCODE, priorities are to use technology to change the lives of young women entrepreneur through technology. We look to create employability and to equip them with the digital skills of the future.”
Jamme added: “We are truly honoured and excited for the young women. They will now have access to the new technological advancements of Alibaba Cloud. This moment is truly historic. Working with Alibaba Cloud will make a great difference in the lives of millions of young women globally.”
ET: What this means for businesses?
All businesses, irrespective of size or sector have charitable arms, corporate ethos or social responsibility activities, all with noteworthy aims and objectives. However, the sheer global nature and ambition of the Tech for Change Initiative make this endeavour particularly significant.
The initiative has the potential to directly impact, not only on the lives of one million young women. But also their families, marginalised communities and villages, in some of the poorest parts of the world.