At Cisco, our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy centers on a simple question: How can we use the power of the Internet to benefit individuals and communities? More often than not, the answer involves collaborating with other organizations– nonprofits, government agencies, or healthcare facilities, for example–to multiply the impact technology can have.
I’d like to introduce you to one of those partners: One Global Economy. This Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit provides people in underserved communities with greater access to technology, Internet connectivity, online content–and the training and support to use it all.
One Global Economy’s flagship program is the Beehive: A multilingual web portal that provides content on topics like health, education, jobs, and money. It is written in the local language, in an easy-to-read style, and addresses topics residents have indicated a need for; that could be anything from managing diabetes and infant healthcare to farming and career coaching
Beehives are currently available in more than a dozen countries and 50 U.S. states; more than 18 million people worldwide have used them. See how the Beehive works and meet someone who uses it in this video.
Cisco has supported development of Beehive portals since 2006. After Hurricane Katrina hit the U.S. Gulf Coast in August 2005, Cisco granted more than US$200,000 to enable creation of Beehives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and Jefferson Parish, Louisiana to deliver vital information that could help residents rebuild their lives and their communities after the storm. Since then Cisco has helped One Global Economy establish Beehive portals in the Middle East, Africa, Brazil, and Mexico.
The Beehive is only one of the many amazing, technology-powered programs One Global Economy offers. The Community Connectors, for example, capitalizes on young people’s natural affinity for technology by training them to help fellow residents of underserved communities adopt and embrace technology. In doing so, they develop valuable skills that can help them find jobs and further their education. By the end of 2013, One Global Economy and its local partners will have graduated more than 3000 Community Connectors worldwide.