This blog was originally published on the Huffington Post
I recently spent two weeks in Uganda and Kenya, meeting with nonprofit organizations that are applying technology-based solutions to help underserved populations access the knowledge, skills, and financial products and services they need to become economically self-sufficient. I lead the economic empowerment portfolio for Cisco and the Cisco Foundation, so it was an opportunity to get an up-close view of the progress and impact of our investments.
Let’s put this into perspective: When we talk about underserved populations in developing countries, we are talking about people who are living on less than $3 a day. They may have never had a formal job and most likely have, at most, a high school education. They don’t have a bank account, they may live in a slum, and they may not have enough money to eat three meals a day.
To permanently break the cycle of poverty, these people need a life-changing experience. One that will help them develop skills they need to get jobs, earn good salaries, and be supporters and role models for their families and communities.