Microsoft Malta Ltd has donated an annual grant of €55,171 to the Community Empowerment Organisation, which was set up by the Ministry for Information Technology and Investment in collaboration with the Foundation for Information of Technology for Accessibility. The donation consisted in software worth €24,137 and a cash donation of €31,034.

Pierre Mallia, country manager of Microsoft Malta Ltd, said: "This grant is in line with the Vertical Strategic Alliance that was signed by the president of Microsoft International Jean Philippe Courtois and IT Minister Austin Gatt in 2004. In line with Microsoft's commitment in its ongoing mission of creating a nationwide information society, Microsoft Malta provides assistance through grants, software donations, IT curricula and direct involvement of Microsoft employees."

Microsoft is assisting the Community Empowerment Organisation on the IT literacy programme and the development of IT skills within the Maltese community at large, to develop the Community Technology Learning Centres (CTLCs); and to prepare these centres to assist in the effective delivery of specialised courses for workforce transformation and employment opportunity creation.

For the coming years, Microsoft Malta is aiming to be present in those communities where technology has not been fully integrated. Focusing on digital literacy and usage, and therefore facilitating an 'employable' society, are two other important priorities for Microsoft Malta Ltd.

Microsoft software included Office 2007 Win32 English, Windows OS/MultiLang UPG, Encarta Premium 2008 English - CD, Visio Std 2007 Win32 English and VFoxPro Pro 9.0 Win32 English. Here in Malta, Microsoft Malta Ltd is seeking to bridge the digital divide.

"We believe that technology must become affordable and accessible for our Maltese community. We are working strategically to eliminating barriers of age, linguistic preference, gender and social provenance to overcome the digital divide. While this can be a very challenging and demanding agenda, it is achievable through the valid direct involvement and commitment of NGOs as execution partners," said Mr Mallia.

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