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 inspiring ideas and joint efforts from enterprises, start-ups and young entrepreneurs, to tackle global social and humanitarian challenges in areas such as education, economic development and the environment through technologies.
Alibaba Cloud, which provides cloud infrastructure to transform businesses digitally, will contribute to the initiative by offering partners with access to its technology expertise, global computing resources and talent development programs including 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 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 young women programmers in marginalised communities through free online training and free access to cloud computing resources, with the aim to enable one million woman and girl coders by the year 2030.
“Through the Tech for Change initiative, we want to bring together creativity and innovation to tackle critical problems and challenges faced by humanity such as equality in education, healthcare for the underprivileged, sustainable agriculture and wildlife protection,” said Dr Wanli Min, Chief Machine Intelligence Scientist, Alibaba Cloud. “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 and accessible intelligent technologies have the potential to enable smaller organisations to make huge differences in creating a better world for all humankind.” Min added, “We are calling for everyone to join forces and be part of the Tech for Change global community.”
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, including offering cloud and intelligent technologies to ROYBI, a robotics company on early childhood education and Curefun, a Chinese AI company that creates virtual patients to train doctors and nurses in rural areas of the country.
Alibaba Cloud also built a technical philanthropy platform, "Green Code” in 2017 to connect professional IT volunteers with non-profit organisations in China for philanthropy programs. More than 3,000 engineers registered for charity programs from 168 organisations in 2018.
Under the partnership with iamtheCODE, Alibaba Cloud will provide tailored courses on a range of topics including cloud computing, data analysis, machine learning and security. iamtheCODE will also add Alibaba Cloud on their blended curriculum, as certificates will be awarded to young women students who pass the course to 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. In addition, each enrolled student will be offered free access to cloud computing resources during their study.
"Having its foothold in 64 countries, iamtheCODE is delighted to partner with Alibaba Cloud to 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 tech, to create employability and to equip them with the digital skills of the future,” said Mariéme Jamme, Founder of iamtheCODE. “We are truly honoured and excited for the young women as they will 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.”