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Technology Training Helps a University Reduce Poverty and Increase Opportunity in Nigeria

renaldo_rheederThis blog was guest written by Renaldo Rheeder, director of professional and vocational development at the American University of Nigeria

Nigeria has the highest number of children out of school, according to A World at School. Of the 57 million youngsters worldwide who are not receiving a formal education, more than 10 million live in Nigeria. The majority of non-attendees are girls, mainly in the majority-Muslim north. Of those fortunate enough to enroll, less than two-thirds complete primary school and even fewer girls finish secondary school.

Despite these challenges, approximately 150 girls have successfully completed Cisco Networking Academy courses at the American University of Nigeria (AUN). According to their instructors, the girls’ performance in the courses was on par with the male students – ample proof supporting our already firm belief that networking is not a gender-specific field.

AUN was established in 2004 with the mission of becoming Africa’s premier development university. In teaching, research, and community service, AUN addresses our community and region’s most pressing challenges: poverty, economic barriers to growth, lack of education, gender discrimination, lack of opportunities for disabled youth, environmental degradation, violence, and problematic governance. We are an agent of peace and development through myriad programs.

Students in the Cisco CCNA Routing &  Switching course work in  the practical lab at American University of Nigeria.

Students in the Cisco CCNA Routing & Switching course work in the practical lab at American University of Nigeria (AUN). Photo courtesy AUN.

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#CiscoChat: Why the World Needs More Girls in Tech

Did you know that women account for only 30 percent of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) workforce? Or that they earn 57 percent of all U.S. undergraduate degrees, but only 18 percent of undergraduate computer and information sciences degrees?

Though shattering the glass ceiling is almost always never easy, women around the world have made great strides in forging careers in fields previously dominated by men. From healthcare and politics to the automotive and financial services industries, women continue to make headlines for ascending to coveted corner offices and executive suites. However, women continue to remain highly invaluable – yet grossly untapped – resources within the ICT industry.


As Cisco prepares to participate in this year’s international Girls in ICT Day and encourage young women to embrace ICT careers, answering the question of why the world need more women in tech has become one that needs answers. We have our thoughts and we want to hear yours.

We’re hosting a #CiscoChat to discuss this very topic. Be sure to join us on Tuesday, April 14 from 10 to 11 a.m. PST and share your ideas, solutions and real-world experience to help us answer the question “Why the World Needs More Girls in Tech?”

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Mentoring At-Risk Students Good for Our Hearts and Minds

Last week, I was acknowledged by the Alum Rock Counseling Center for my personal commitment to mentoring at-risk students. As I prepared my thank you remarks, I was reminded how much I value youth mentoring nonprofits such as Alum Rock, Big Brother Big Sisters, and Child Advocates. Through mentor-mentee relationships, students are propelled to learn, to grow, and to discover their own genius.

It worked for me.

HCF #2

My parents immigrated to the United States in the early 1970s with little experience on living, working, or educating my sisters and me in this country. As a result, I leaned on mentors to guide me in areas my parents could not. Mentors who connected with my heart and with my mind made all the difference, because literacy and math achievement programs alone were not enough.

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Why We Need More Tech Talent to Digitize the World

This blog was originally published on the Huffington Post ImpactX.

Digitization. This topic was top of mind for many of the 2,500 world business and government leaders at the recent World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Digitization is the full-scale adoption of computer- and Internet-enabled technologies by consumers, businesses and governments; it is important because it can grow economies and create jobs.

In fact, according to the 2013 Global Information Technology Report, adoption of such information and communication technologies (ICT) provided a $193 billion boost to world economic output and created 6 million jobs in 2011. Read More »

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Cisco Networking Academy Students Shine at NBA All-Star 2015

At last month’s National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star, the world’s best basketball players showcased their skills, with high flying dunks, pin-point shooting and head-turning passes during a weekend full of non-stop action. Above the hardwood floor and behind the arena’s closed doors, some of the event’s “most valuable players” were busy showing off their own skills, monitoring a massive network to make sure fans didn’t miss any of the excitement below.

As part of the Cisco Networking Academy Dream Team, 30 Networking Academy students worked side-by-side with the NBA’s world-class IT staff setting up wireless access points and providing network troubleshooting at the Barclays Center, Madison Square Garden, and other venues in New York City.

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