Cisco believes that building a strong portfolio of social investments is much like building a strong network infrastructure: as you multiply connections and productive interactions, you also multiply the benefits. Just as networks link people to each other and to shared resources, our corporate citizenship initiatives link the company’s business strategy to our stakeholders’ socioeconomic and environmental concerns.
Cisco’s Corporate Social Responsibility programs and partnerships make it possible for us to give back to the global community in many significant ways, at various levels of involvement. We are pleased to report that by leveraging our human, technical, financial, and business resources, we and our partners have made a real difference in our targeted areas of educational transformation, socioeconomic progress, and environmental stewardship.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Cisco Networking Academy, a pioneering e-learning program that now operates in more than 160 countries and has touched more than 2 million students—an ever-growing percentage of them women in many regions. Students acquire technical skills that enable them to participate in an economy increasingly driven by technological initiatives, which in turn helps energize local economies and bring underserved communities across the digital divide. The Networking Academy program is but one aspect of a comprehensive strategy that aims to achieve educational transformation by reinforcing and expanding our educational initiatives on a broad front.
The right partnerships are critical to the success of our Corporate Social Responsibility programs. Ranging from nongovernmental organizations and nonprofits to public schools and consultants, our partners help us identify specific needs, apply appropriate technologies and practices, and convert good intentions into tangible results.
With the help of our partners, we are: creating an innovative global model for learning that turns schools into community hubs (the 21st Century Schools Initiative); bringing low-cost communication to farmers in rural India to give them access to agricultural support (the LifeLines India Project); helping the Lebanese people rebuild their economy and recover from war (Partnership for Lebanon); providing access to network-based educational resources and technology to approximately 30,000 students in 15 African countries (New Partnership for Africa’s Development); and moving forward with many other initiatives.
In all these endeavors our goal is to empower individuals and communities by giving them the means and the knowledge to bring about positive and lasting change within the context of their own cultures. Whether the effects are direct and dramatic, or residual and subtle, we work to ensure that we have achieved the measurable results that demonstrate we are on the right track. And judging by the initiatives described in this report, it is clear that we are.
Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs