The Cisco Networking Academy program in Kenya has opened an IT academy in collaboration with Deaf Aid, a Norwegian based nongovernmental organization in Nairobi. The new centre provides a forum for reflection on the plight of the disabled with regard to equal access to learning and career opportunities, especially in the emergent market-savvy ICT industry. This is a key milestone in Cisco’s commitment to support ICT capacity building for all citizens and give them an equal opportunity regardless of their social and physical status.
Cisco Networking Academy is a global education program providing Information Technology skills to students globally to improve their career and economic opportunities in communities around the world. In Kenya, Cisco has partnered with educational institutions and Non Governmental Organizations, through which the public has access to the Cisco training in ICT. Through these partnerships, Cisco has established community academies to serve people from disadvantaged areas.
Although the recent UN Climate Change conference left open many important questions, some of the participants were able to experience that it is actually possible to do things differently and in a more environmentally friendly way, thanks to collaborative technologies.
Delegates from the Czech Republic and Hungary took advantage of the Cisco Global Climate Change Meeting Platform to hold press briefings via Cisco TelePresence. As a result, journalists could stay up-to-date on what’s going on in Copenhagen, without having to travel there physically.
The Global Climate Change Meeting Platform will stay in place until the end of 2010 and will support future climate change discussions by allowing delegates from around the globe to join discussions in a more environmentally sustainable, efficient and inclusive manner.
Two years ago, the company took a bold decision to make a move toward the Eastern side of the planet.
The move was manifested by a high-tech, green and state of the art campus built in Bangalore. Top senior executives took the leap of faith and moved their entire lives half way across the world in what could easily be labeled as an adventure of their life time. Their task wasn’t easy. They had the responsibility of redefining the way the company does business on a global scale.
The ICT sector not only drives innovation, but fuels competitiveness in the global economy. Jobs in information and communication technologies (ICT) sectors, like telecommunications and the Internet, are key sources of growth and crucial for the growth of the economy.
Cisco conducted an ICT gender gap study in June 2009, which found that female students in five European countries have computer skills but many avoid technology careers. The study concludes that the single most de-motivating factor is the view that the tech sector is inherently better suited to men. Amy Christen, Global Vice President of Cisco Networking Academy, believes that industry and government should collaborate to change girls’ perceptions and galvanize more women.
So if this is taking place in Europe, what are the consequences for emerging countries? A recent Global Voices article, focusing on Information Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D), caught my attention as it discussed the opportunities for empowerment of women, and alleviation of gender disparity.
Anyone who has seen Wim Elfrink in the flesh knows he has an infectious enthusiasm for innovation. So perhaps it is not surprising that the Cisco Chief Globalisation Officer’s no-holding-back attitude has spawned a new approach to learning in rural India. Elfrink uprooted from San Jose, CA, to Bangalore in India in 2006 to head up Cisco’s Globalisation Centre East and since then has been a fierce advocate of collaboration tools such as Cisco TelePresence and Unified Communications as a means of cutting down on business travel.
Paradoxically, though, a business trip has triggered a new application for this very type of technology.
While visiting Chhindwara in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, Elfrink challenged a group of young people to come up with business ideas for possible Cisco sponsorship—and the winning concept involved using Cisco WebEx collaboration tools to improve learning in the region. Documented in a video and a feature on News@Cisco, the story of how Elfrink’s encouragement and a team of Cisco mentors helped three young Indians set up the Lakshya Network in Chhindwara is one that should interest educators and entrepreneurs worldwide.