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High-Speed Network Helps Residents of World’s Largest Refugee Camp

June 20, 2012 at 1:59 pm PST

In eastern Kenya, on a harsh landscape of sand, wind, sun, and little else, 500,000 people who have fled famine, drought, and military conflict in Somalia over the last 20 years struggle to survive in the world’s largest refugee camp.

Last summer, the worst famine in 60 years forced more than 1000 people each day to seek refuge in Dadaab, a camp originally designed to accommodate only 90,000. The residents of Dadaab face chronic overcrowding, disease, hunger, and seasonal floods. An estimated 10,000 refugees are “third-generation”-- they were born in Dadaab to parents who were also born there.

This sounds like a world in which technology is a luxury, not a need. But the nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) working in Dadaab are stretched to their limits trying to provide food, housing, sanitation, and medical relief. They need technology, and Internet connectivity in particular, to coordinate their response efforts and provide lifesaving goods and services to the men, women, and children who need them.

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Advancements in Technology: Reflections from InstructureCon

Wow! Learning Management Systems (LMS) have come a long way! Cisco Networking Academy had a vision for a network-based LMS in 1997, when we were founded. We had to build our own custom LMS, because there were no options in the market. Today at InstructureCon, an annual gathering of education technology leaders, I was amazed to see not only how far the technology has come, but how broadly the vision of LMS and education assisted by networking technology has gained acceptance!

I was so excited to share with the Canvas community that Cisco Networking Academy will be incorporating Canvas as the LMS portion of our new platform, Cisco NetSpace, which we will announce and unveil at the NetAcad Global Conference on Monday. As Networking Academy continues to grow, the ability to continue to innovate to deliver high-impact educational offerings to instructors and students will be critical. It was time to enhance the essential core business functionality with an engaging, feature-rich, and personalized user experience that incorporated the latest in educational best practices for learning solutions. The new NetSpace will deliver results today, yet is flexible enough to accommodate future innovations to help improve education through the use of technology and the network.

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Cisco Wins GBC Health Award

There is a growing understanding of the network’s ability to multiply impact in health care as well as recognition of Cisco’s role in applying networking technology solutions to address health care needs.  Most recently, Cisco won an award from GBCHealth for the “core competence category” for our work in the corporate social responsibility program known as Connecting Sichuan. The three-year program aimed to transform healthcare systems after the 2008 earthquake through the implementation of ICT technologies by connecting urban and rural health organizations for improved access to quality healthcare. 

More than 280,000 now receive critical health care regardless of where in the region they live, thanks to the Connecting Sichuan program.  And there has been a 32 percent reduction in antibiotic costs as a result of remote health care treatment enabled by the program.

Given these results, Cisco was presented with the award at the annual GBCHealth Conference, which  brings together thought leaders from business, government, multi-laterals and civil society to discuss important health topics and healthcare challenges globally. GBCHealth is a coalition of more than 200 member companies with a mission to mobilize the power of global business community to build a healthier world.

This is a very significant award honoring companies that exemplify a spirit of innovation and dedication to outstanding achievements in global health. This year’s award was extremely competitive—the  winners (1 for each of the 5 categories) were selected from 40 finalists, conferred by an external panel of expert judges drawn from government, multi-laterals, academia, non-profits and the corporate community. On hand to receive the award was SVP Carlos Dominguez who also led a session at the conference about how social media can shape the future of disease awareness, prevention and treatment. Other dignitaries and featured speakers included Muhtar Kent, Deepak Chopra, Richard Edelman, Christy Turlington-Burns, Kenneth Cole and Barbara Bush.

 For more information, visit http://gbchealth.org/ or watch the awards video .

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Community Service is Good Business

When Steve Martino, Cisco’s vice president of information technology, drives along Route 101 in San Jose, Calif., he thinks about deadlines to meet, programs to initiate, and teams to lead through upcoming projects. But there is another set of thoughts which permeates his mind– those of the Habitat for Humanity projects he has led, which he can actually see from the highway.

“I enjoy being able to drive past a home or development that we worked on, see that result and say ‘I had something to do with that,’” Martino said. “Those people have a home and are happy in part because I invested time in it.”

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Cisco’s Journey to Creating Shared Value

The discipline of community relations has evolved dramatically in recent years. Recognizing both the responsibility to support their communities and the business benefits of a positive reputation, companies have invested billions of dollars and millions of hours, resulting in a substantive impact.

Yet for many organizations, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is on the verge of the most dramatic change yet. It’s a shift to the concept of creating shared value, which tears apart the traditional lines between a CSR program and the business it supports. In many ways, it makes community relations obsolete, as the entire business becomes a community relations effort unto itself. The emerging practice of creating shared value can transform how companies grow and impact communities around the world.

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