Gates Foundation Announces 2012 Access to Learning Award Winner

Gates Foundation Announces 2012 Access to Learning Award Winner

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has announced the Community Technology Centers program in the Dominican Republic as the winner of the 2012 Access to Learning Award.

Awarded through the foundation's Global Libraries initiative, the $1 million prize recognizes the innovative efforts of libraries and similar organizations outside the United States to provide communities with free access to computers and the Internet. Among other things, CTCs address local challenges such as high poverty rates, unemployment, and lack of health education by connecting people to the knowledge and skills they need to find jobs, start and run businesses, improve their health, and strengthen their communities. Microsoft will donate approximately $18 million in software as part of its global commitment to bring the benefits of relevant and accessible technology to communities in the developing world.

"The CTCs create a legacy fostering the individual and collective development of the community residents and neighborhoods. They utilize technology as a tool to overcome poverty and help people become more productive, innovative, and competitive individuals," said Margarita Cede�o de Fern�ndez, who has championed CTCs as the Dominican Republic's first lady and will expand the program during her upcoming term as vice president. "Through the CTCs, we hope to create a knowledge-seeking culture within these communities...one that will make them more active, engaged, and more empowered to influence their own futures."