The moderator and first panellist was Ms Elif Bilge Erdölek (Director of International Relations, Habitat Association). She began with the project model of Habitat Association in Turkey, which partners with local NGOs and governments, to provide peer education for youth at the local level, and conducts need assessments to understand the needs and wants of local people. The programme’s aim is to develop digital skills and capacity for young people to support their employability and entrepreneurship in the ICT sector. In Turkey around 53% of households use computers and the Internet, and in light of these statistics, the project began developing computer and Internet skills with young people, to contribute to the e-transformation of Turkey. In the project, there are five curricula: computer literacy, internet literacy, Microsoft office programs, web design, and software development.
Mr Mehmet Can Irhan (Corporate Citizenship & Philanthropy Lead, Microsoft Turkey) works with Habitat Association on behalf of Microsoft. He began by showing the audience a robot created by Microsoft that is able to detect and extinguish a fire, a technology which can be used in the living spaces of refugees where there is potential danger due to overcrowding. After this introduction, he then led on to the mission of Microsoft, which is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Irhan said that the core principles are: committing to long-term solutions, scale through partnership, leveraging expertise, focusing on key outcomes, and promoting digital democracy. Microsoft helps by using their products and technology, business practices, philanthropy, programmes and partnerships, as well as their policy and advocacy.
The sustainable development focus areas are the SDGs of quality education, decent work and economic growth, peace, justice and strong institutions, and climate action. By addressing the digital skills divide - especially for displaced youth – the company focuses on the SDGs of quality education, decent work and economic growth. When Microsoft supports humanitarian action to build stronger communities, this directly works with the SDGs of peace, justice and strong institutions. Lastly, by using technology to protect the planet, this helps achieve climate action.
Microsoft has partnered with the association of Asylum Seekers and Migrants (ASAM) and Refugee Education Trust International (RET) to provide 15 000 young refugees with access to digital and coding skills in Turkey. In collaboration with Habitat Association, they have also engaged with 300 children with disabilities.
Mr Alper Özcan (Volunteer Master Trainer, Habitat Association) serves as a representative of the volunteers in the project in Turkey. In his volunteering he has worked with young people on holograms and virtual reality, since they are interested in what will be big in the future, and he explained different types and uses of this. There are two different types of hologram, the first being the Reflection hologram which can be used to distinguish the original object. The second type is the Transmission hologram which creates a three-dimensional virtual object, and is sometimes used in museums. The students seem to be most interested in virtual reality, mixed reality and augmented reality.
An example Özcan gave of virtual reality was a type of glasses for a slide show of negative pictures which appear in front of the user, and which children sometimes use as a toy since it is inexpensive and accessible. In addition, Ikea has an app that allows for use of mixed reality, where a camera is pointed at a space to see if the desired furniture would fit in and look good. The last thing he talked about was virtual reality glasses, which have sensors which adjust images for the viewer. He then gave a demonstration of this for the audience.
By Jainee Feliz-Cabrera