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New feature on Microsoft messaging service to benefit millions of refugee children

Summary

Millions of young refugees are set to benefit from a new feature launched on the Windows Live Messenger service in the United States by UNHCR corporate partner, Microsoft.

The “i’m” initiative, unveiled during a Washington press conference on first Thursday in March 2007, will connect users of the instant messaging programme to UNHCR’s ninemillion.org (www.ninemillion.org) campaign, which aims to give the world’s refugee children greater access to education and sport programmes.

Users of the i’m programme (http://im.live.com) will have the option of clicking on ninemillion.org or one of the other eight causes. With each instant message conversation using i’m, Microsoft will share a portion of the programme’s revenue with the selected organisation. The company has guaranteed to provide ninemillion.org with a minimum US$100,000 during the first year, with no limit on total donations.

“The i’m initiative will reach a new audience and empower a new generation, young people, and connect them with millions of refugee children. Through the click of a mouse, millions will learn about UNHCR’s operations in the field and help us save lives every day,” said Olivier Delarue, the refugee agency’s senior corporate relations officer. “The i’m initiative answers the question of how individuals can help and allows a community of people who care about the same issue to find each other.”

ninemillion.org, which has raised about US$1.5 million to date, is a flagship initiative of the UNHCR Council of Business Leaders. Launched at the annual World Economic Forum in the Swiss town of Davos in 2005, the council includes Manpower, Microsoft, Merck, Nike and PricewaterhouseCoopers.