Tuesday, May 28, 2024

The Next One Billion Lives


Last week, Cisco shared the news that we’ve achieved our ten-year goal to positively impact one billion lives through the Cisco Foundation, Social Impact grants, and Networking Academy – one year ahead of schedule.

As the leaders of these organizations, we’ve never been prouder of the extraordinary work of our teams and our global nonprofit partners, and the contributions of leaders and employees across our company in innovating to help solve the world’s greatest challenges.

Expanding our impact

Now, we’re exploring what’s next.  How will we continue to expand our approach – and accelerate our progress? What inspired, ambitious goals will we set? And how will we impact the next one billion lives?

These are questions worthy of the same thoughtful consideration, passion, and drive as the original ambitious goal.  Now that we’ve achieved it, we can stand on the shoulders of what we’ve learned along the way in connecting longstanding challenges with new possibilities to overcome them – pushing beyond limits – and deepening our understanding of how to create meaningful impact.

What we believed nine years ago continues to be Cisco’s guiding principle: Our ability to impact billions of lives lies in our ability to scale. We’re now expanding our areas of focus and aligning on impacting entire communities – and countries – through our Social Impact, Networking Academy, and Country Digital Acceleration programs. And we’re focusing on addressing the systemic causes of inequity and driving innovation to create lasting, generational change.

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Anchoring the workforce of the future

Cisco’s Networking Academy, which now operates in 190 countries has trained more than 20.5 million students in networking and cybersecurity skills over the past 26 years.  In training thousands of learners every year, we not only empower individuals to start a rewarding new career, but also create millions of next-generation jobs and that will anchor the workforce of the future.  We know, however, that connecting the unconnected isn’t just a moral imperative; it’s economically prudent. According to a 2022 World Bank Report, raising internet connectivity to 75 percent of the population in all developing countries (from the current level of approximately 35 percent) would add up to US$2 trillion to their collective gross domestic product (GDP) and create more than 140 million jobs around the world.

By continuing to scale our impact, we’re changing the economic trajectory of communities around the world, increasing economic productivity, and fulfilling our purpose to power an inclusive future for all.

Scaling tech-enabled social impact solutions

Within our global Social Impact Grant programs, our focus on promising nonprofits and NGOs with tech-enabled solutions that we can scale is continuing to create lasting change across communities. When we bring the full measure of Cisco’s strengths to support our nonprofit partners in developing their solutions – and give them the time, space, and flexibility to test their ideas – the impact they create can be astonishing. Like the women of Living Goods, which combines game-changing technology, quality products, and vital health services to empower community health workers to deliver on-call care to their neighbors’ doorsteps. And they earn a livelihood while doing it.

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Cisco was an early supporter of Living Goods’ work to leverage technology to deliver healthcare products and services at scale, in a cost-effective manner.  We were proud to partner with them to help them reach their goal of providing quality healthcare to more than 25 million people via 34,000 digitally empowered community health workers by 2021.

Sharing what we’ve learned on the journey to one billion lives

As we contemplate our next inspired goal, we’re committed to sharing more about what we’ve learned in positively impacting one billion lives and to understanding more about the challenges faced by communities around the world.  The most important words of Cisco’s purpose statement – to power an inclusive future for all may be the final two. For all.

As we strive to create a better future for all, by all, and with all those who share our vision, we already know that if we can imagine it – we can make it possible.

Go deeper to understand all that Cisco is doing to bring the power of purpose to life: 

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