Editor’s Note: This give back event took place prior to any travel restrictions. At Cisco, we love giving back and our culture is one that encourages us to do so. However, in light of recent global events we are now looking for new ways to help in this time while looking forward to these kinds of activities happening again in the future. We’re all in this together.

The entire group of volunteers sitting and standing in a circle celebrating a successful build.

When I joined Cisco in 2015, I was immediately in awe of our dedication to give back across the globe and it sparked a dream in me. With our worldwide network and huge hearts that are empowered to do good – I wanted to organize a global offsite where colleagues would come together and utilize our Cisco volunteer hours to better serve the community – and I’m proud to say that I’ve finally made it happen!

After months of preparation, I finally found myself in Brazil with 39 other colleagues from every part of the world who came together to build water cisterns for 17 families living in extreme poverty and with limited to no access to water.

The impact was beyond words – not only for the families we helped – but also for the employees that participated. I personally returned home humbled, richer in experience, more in tune with my values and in full appreciation of the privilege we have to be employed by Cisco.

And just think, with 40 employees giving back a full week (40 hours) that’s a total of 1,600 hours volunteered in just five days through our organized efforts!

Interested in hosting your own global give back offsite?

A collage of a cistern at different stages of being built.

Here are my 4 takeaways from our experience:

1. Drive – If you have the passion and the drive, you can make any idea come to life at Cisco. You just need to go after it and make it happen. There is so much support here, especially when it comes to making the world a better place.

2. Participate – Make sure to utilize your five days each year that Cisco provides to give back, and ensure your organizations are benefitting from the Cisco’s donation match, if possible. Trust me, it will change your life, and so many other’s lives as well.

3. Bridge – Utilize Cisco’s global connection! I’ve always been fascinated by Cisco’s global network, and this goes a long way in helping others as well. Make sure to interact with others, benefit from the intercultural exchange and build long lasting friendships.

4. Enjoy – Have fun every step of the way. Whether you’re planning the event or participating, make sure you embrace the journey and look forward for the outcome with a big smile and an open heart.

So, how will you be using your Cisco volunteer hours this year? I’d love to hear some of your plans in the comments below! There are so many ways we can make the world a better place, and Cisco encourages us to be an active participant in this.

Want to join a company that cares? Cisco is hiring. Apply now!


Farah Ali Hassan

Technology Consultant

CX Advisory Services