What would you do with a year off work? How would you change the world?
Microsoft VP Margo Day uses her sabbatical to empower 17,000 girls in rural Kenya to stay in school and avoid the all-too-common cultural practice of early marriage. She and her friends have raised more than $3 million in commitments toward a budget of $4.8 million. Day has contributed $150,000 out of her own pocket, and committed a half million more over the next three years.
Early and/or forced marriage and female genital mutilation are still widely practiced in rural Kenya. However, Seattle’s Margo Day is discovering that this is changing. The World Vision Kenya Child Protection and Education Program is focused on accelerating that change. Access to education is fundamental. Day took a year off of work as a high-powered tech VP to slow down and help girls living in extreme poverty in a remote region of rural Kenya.
Quote: “Listen to God because he’ll tell you when what you have is enough.”
Important Dates: October 11 – International Day of the Girl
Media outlets: Seattle media, national and local tech writers, women’s publications
Spokesperson: Margo Day VP Microsoft
Margo Day’s blog http://margoday.wordpress.com/
Multi-media content: Video being shot Wednesday, Sept 26 http://en.gravatar.com/margoday
Recommended Twitter posts:
What would u do w 1 yr sabbatical? Microsoft VP helped Kenyan girls get education Intl Day of the Girl Oct 11 @WorldVisionNews
Microsoft VP takes year off work to help girls in rural Kenya. International Day of the Girl Oct 11 @WorldVisionNews
Here’s some of the tangible progress she’s made in the past year:
The first phase of the work was building St Elizabeth Secondary school for Girls. Already she says, there are 165 girls attending. 45 more are in the Morphus Primary School Rescue Center that will be able to attend St Elizabeth’s when they’re old enough. All school fees, she says are fully paid. These are girls who up until two years ago had no hope of secondary school or a better life.
Margo Day’s Tips: How to Make a Difference
1. Work with an experienced organization with sustainability at its core.
2. Concentrate your efforts on one thing
3. Show others what you’re doing. They want to have that same kind of impact that you have.
Sook (Kenya) Integrated Program Area: Education improvements 2009-2012: Much has been accomplished to form a good foundation for the work now of the Kenya child Protection and Education program. Here are some education statistics from 2009 to today:
- 17.6% increase in child enrollment in school (2012: 9,768 children: 5,107 Boys, 4,571 Girls)
- Number of Early Childhood Development centers: from 39 to 53*
- Number of Primary Schools: from 34 to 49*
- Academic performance increase in primary schools: 9% increase (from a mean of 253 to 276)
In Redmond, Washington, Microsoft’s Margo Day and her friends have raised more than $3 million dollars in an effort to help girls living in rural Kenya.
Margo Day worked at Microsoft for ten years, taking a sabbatical in 2011 from her job as a Vice President (responsible for marketing and sales in the Western United States). She used the year to focus her passion and energy on raising funds and awareness for the Kenya Vulnerable Girls Education Project and Child Protection, partnering with World Vision.
The education project she devoted herself to will positively affect many hundreds of girls in in the Western Rift Valley of Kenya by building schools and deepening community advocacy for the education of the girl child. World Vision’s Child Protection initiative will protect over 50,000 children from exploitation as child laborers or in the sex trade.
Day has more than 27 years of experience in high technology software sales, marketing, business development and partner/channel management. During her tenure Day was recognized as the #7 channel executive in the industry and was a frequent keynote speaker at industry channel conferences.
Before joining Microsoft in 2001, Margo Day was Executive Vice President at SoftQuad Software, Ltd., and Vice President and Managing Director of Go2Net. She also spent seven years at Lotus Development Corporation in senior positions in the North American SMB Sales, Enterprise Sales, Field Marketing, and Business Partner Sales organizations. Making a difference in people’s lives is so important to me.
She is current co-chair of the World Vision National Leadership Council for Child Protection. I am partnering with World Vision to address issues related to girls’ education and child protection, recently completing construction of the St. Elizabeth’s Secondary School for Girls in West Pokot, Kenya. I have been honored for my work on behalf of women at Microsoft, earning its 2006 Most Inspirational Woman award. I live in the Seattle, WA area and love being outdoors. I enjoy backpacking, boating, cycling, scuba diving, skiing, golf, adventure travel and, when it’s rainy outside, attending concerts and theater in addition to enjoying a great glass of wine.