This blog post was guest-written by Faith Lin, Community Relations Manager at Cisco

We are fortunate to work in an industry where connectivity is pervasive, but it’s easy to forget this isn’t often the case in other areas of the world. Technological savviness is oftentimes taken for granted, which is why it is a privilege to be able to utilize that knowledge for positive impact.

Recently, Cisco’s Connected Asian Affinity Network (CAAN), an employee resource organization (ERO) that focuses on cultivating more Asian leaders, sent several of its members to Beijing, China to work with the Green and Shine Foundation, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that focuses on scholarships, donating educational materials, and providing training to teachers in rural areas.

In preparation for this project, five select US employees, along with members of the Green and Shine staff, worked together to donate 60 laptops and coordinate the training of 132 teachers in rural commununities via Cisco Webex Meetings. The team prepared user training materials in Chinese, including a syllabus and installation guides for mobile and desktop devices, to help teachers clearly understand the tools.

During the trip, volunteers from Hefei, Hangzhou, Beijing, and California worked around the clock each day, taking time out of their day jobs to contact teachers via phone and WeChat to schedule training sessions and walk teachers through the features of Webex Meetings. Despite a few technical roadblocks, volunteers turned their brief challenges into teachable moments, using their learnings to improve on the process each day.

By the end of the trip, volunteers noted that all 102 teachers initially contacted were present for training, resulting in a 100% attendance rate. Green and Shine will follow up with an additional 30 teachers soon, with the hope of integrating collaboration technology into even more rural classrooms. As the trip came to an end, many of the teachers said they were impressed by the convenience of Webex Meetings and agreed it would help them in future communication and education for their students.

Connection is made through and by people, and this is merely the beginning of a journey that we hope to continue in the future. As CAAN looks ahead to its next global give back location, its leaders hope other EROs will follow suit and offer similar pro bono trips for its members. CAAN’s inaugural global give back program proved that it’s possible to positively impact people and society in a short amount of time. But first, you must want to be the change and be a global problem solver.

Check out our video to see what we were able to accomplish through our Green and Shine partnership.


Austin Belisle

No Longer with Cisco