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How Grameen Foundation Connects the Unconnected

October 9, 2013 at 2:42 pm PST

The following blog was originally posted on the Grameen Foundation Insights Blog

Today, Cisco asked us all to share our vision of how the Internet of Everything can improve our world, by “connecting the unconnected.”

Like Cisco, we believe that human networks and technology can play a significant role in transforming people’s lives. At Grameen Foundation, our mission is to connect the world’s poor to their potential. Poor people are already resourceful, clever, and hard working. They have to be in order to survive. So imagine if we could connect their ingenuity to tools and information designed specifically with their needs in mind. In fact, we do that every day.

Here are four examples of the amazing things that happen when you connect the unconnected.

Connecting Poor People to Savings Accounts

Most banks don’t reach the rural poor to offer them a safe, convenient way to manage their savings. Grameen Foundation works with microfinance banks in India and the Philippines to offer mobile phone accessible microsavings products for the poor, reaching more than 800,000 households since 2010.

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3 Ways The Internet of Everything Is Improving Our World

This blog was originally posted on Huffington Post.

Every day, we’re bombarded with seemingly unsolvable issues — health care crises, struggling schools, poverty, and climate change are just a few. These issues may at first seem too big for any of us to solve. But in today’s technology-driven world, we actually have more power than ever.

The growth and convergence of people, process, data, and things on the Internet — the Internet of Everything — is making networked connections more valuable than ever before, creating unprecedented opportunities to bring about social good.

How? Let me give you three examples.

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Tackling Children’s Health Problems with Technology and Collaboration

Children’s health care is a growing concern on a domestic and global scale among parents, specialists, and policymakers. Treating this special population, particularly among those living in rural communities, ignites continual challenges including insurance concerns, limited transportation, and the low number and availability of pediatric specialists. In addition, child mortality remains a global concern. According to a recent study by The Lancet, only 15 countries are projected to meet targets to reduce child deaths by 2035. Working to overcome these challenges can help ensure that every child reaches his or her full potential.

Through ongoing work with health care organizations around the world, Cisco recognized that its collaborative telehealth and video technology solutions could help curb the strain on resources within the children’s population by encouraging “virtual” care delivery— a trend becoming more prevalent as doctors and providers recognize its significance. Across the world, the company has a series of programs to help children get the best medical care possible. These programs fall under the recently launched Connected Healthy Children initiative, a new program designed to promote a future of happier families, stronger communities, and healthier kids around the world.

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How can the Internet of Everything Improve Our World?

Brand CampaignJoin this week long public conversation on Twitter and Huffington Post Impact starting Oct. 7

The growth and convergence of people process, data, and things on the Internet – the Internet of Everything — is making networked connections more valuable and relevant than ever before, creating unprecedented opportunities for countries, businesses, and individuals around the globe. Through network technology, we can now join others anywhere in the world to act collectively, pooling resources and talents to solve problems far too big for any one of us to solve alone.

Starting October 7, in partnership with The Huffington Post, Cisco and its Corporate Social Responsibility community we will have an open global dialogue to share experiences and exchange stories on ways technology and the Internet of Everything are being used for social good in key areas like employment, education, healthcare and critical human needs.

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Cisco Partners Recognized for Promoting Achievement in K-12 Education

October 4, 2013 at 11:44 am PST

This week, 2 of Cisco’s current or former education nonprofit partners were recognized by Business Roundtable for their work to prepare U.S. K-12 students for college and the workplace.

  • MIND Research Institute. MIND’s Spatial Temporal (ST) Math program is a language-free, web-based software program that uses animation to help students learn key math concepts. Cisco support helped MIND convert ST Math to a web-based platform, enabling it to expand its reach from 55,000 students in 2007 to 500,000 today—a 357 percent increase. Students using the program have, on average, doubled or tripled their growth in math proficiency on standardized tests. Learn more.
  • New Teacher Center. This nationally recognized nonprofit partners with states and districts to design and implement comprehensive new teacher induction programs that provide face-to-face and online mentoring with highly skilled educators. Cisco supports the organization’s Teacher Assessment Tool and its online mentoring solution. Learn more.
A student uses the ST Math program. Photo: MIND Research Institute

A student uses the ST Math program. Photo: MIND Research Institute

As a technology company, Cisco views STEM education as a business imperative, and these organizations all recognize the urgent need to encourage students to pursue STEM subjects, said Alex Belous, a program manager for Cisco and the Cisco Foundation who has worked closely with these nonprofits to facilitate Cisco’s support.

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