Tuesday, May 31, 2011

USAID Collaboration to Increase Corporate Volunteerism Abroad

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will be working with IBM and CDC Development Solutions to increase U.S. volunteerism abroad. This collaboration aims to increase the number of U.S. employee volunteers abroad to help provide assistance to local governments, small businesses, and civic groups in emerging markets.

This partnership will give corporations access to resources to make their projects more effective. The “Center of Excellence for International Corporate Volunteerism” (CEICV) will be established as a virtual forum for companies to share successes and practices. After a 2-year pilot period, the center will be self-sustaining and funded by membership fees or other sponsorships.

This alliance will help connect members with local governments that are most receptive to foreign assistance. In keeping track of successes and the programs that created them, corporations will not have to spend as much time redesigning and attempting to replicate successful programs. Formalizing the planning process will not only help make initiatives more strategic and useful, but can also increase the number of volunteers and their ability to contribute to initiatives.

The three key goals for the CEICV will be to enhance sustainable development efforts, help companies of all sizes expand their use of international corporate volunteer programs, and to keep track of volunteer impact in order to create the best practices for international corporate volunteer programs worldwide.

The partnership between USAID, IBM, and CDC Development Solutions will connect international corporate volunteer programs to USAID development strategies. This will help increase the impact of development fund as well as provide skills and technologies to recipients of U.S. foreign aid. “It is our hope that these resources will drive innovation and allow us to achieve a greater return on investments as we push harder toward achieving the millennium development goals," said Bambi Arellano, Counselor to USAID.

-Sami Ressler