While technology shapes every aspect of our lives from when we wake up, to how we work, it is crucial that we secure the entire digital infrastructure to ensure everyone, especially vulnerable communities have equal access to technology’s benefits. In the pursuit of a safe cyber landscape, we are thrilled to present the first instalment of our Donors’ series.
We had the privilege of interviewing Shamina Singh, the Founder and President of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth and one of the founders and funders of the CyberPeace Institute. Join us as we explore the Center for Inclusive Growth and gain insight on creating a more inclusive future.
At Mastercard, our approach to social impact is rooted in using our assets as a company to inform solutions that address challenges we face in our communities and economies. We are committed to using data responsibly and securely to drive benefits for individuals, organizations across sectors, and society at large.
We are constantly looking for opportunities to leverage data for social impact and to build a resilient and protected social impact sector. Cybersecurity is essential for data responsibility, and supporting the work of the CyberPeace Institute to protect NGOs against cyberattacks enables us to help create resilient data systems for the future.
It’s important to look at data for social impact from all angles; not just through democratizing data, but also by ensuring that it is protected from vulnerabilities in cyberspace. By helping NGOs prepare for and mitigate the impacts of cyber threats, the CyberPeace Institute helps to build a more capable and resilient social impact sector. This also goes hand-in-hand with our efforts through data.org and DataKind to build up organizational data maturity. At the Center for Inclusive Growth, we want to help support NGOs in achieving their missions with the best and most secure infrastructure and systems.
What motivated Mastercard to support the CyberPeace Institute’s initiatives, and how does Mastercard view its role in creating a more secure and resilient digital world through the Institute’s programs?
The CyberPeace Institute is doing incredible work, and we’re very proud to have supported it these last few years. One great example is the creation of the CyberPeace Builders, a program providing cybersecurity expertise and close support to NGOs in critical sectors, which has supported over 100 NGOs already. Mastercard volunteers are very active in that program, bringing cyber expertise from our company to organizations on the ground. We’ve seen the CyberPeace Institute grow into a more mature and global organization as it has created open-access knowledge toolkits, launched incident tracers, and even played an active role in tracking cyberattacks during the Ukraine conflict. The launch of the Humanitarian Cybersecurity Center is just the latest milestone and success story, and we look forward to continuing to be involved in this work.
What advice would Mastercard give to other potential donors interested in supporting the CyberPeace Institute?
Many private sector companies — like Mastercard — have invested for years in data and analytics capabilities, building interconnected, user-friendly platforms, teams with deep expertise, and data-ready cultures. Unfortunately, many NGOs and governments haven’t had the resources to keep pace with the private sector.
Our goal is to strengthen collaboration between sectors, inspiring entities of all kinds to draw on technology and data to address social challenges in systemic ways. If the private sector and other funders, including foundations and development organizations, work together, we can help NGOs and the public sector build more sophisticated data science infrastructure, strengthening their ability to weather crises and bolstering global resiliency.
Why is supporting non-governmental organizations – such as the CyberPeace Institute – in cybersecurity so important today?
Cybersecurity has transformed from a trending topic to a field of necessary infrastructure and expertise, and it’s an essential part of a world that is becoming more digital every day. In the case of NGOs, cyberattacks can have a ripple effect that can not only put data at risk, but could also reduce the credibility of NGOs and limit their future impact. As we see it, supporting organizations like the CyberPeace Institute, which is working at the frontline to protect NGOs, can help build a world where peace is possible on the ground, as well as in cyberspace.