Cisco Case Study: UN Relief and Works Agency

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Cisco Case Study: UN Relief and Works Agency

UNRWA brings the Cisco Networking Academy to refugees

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With @CiscoNetAcad, @UNRWA preps Palestinian youth for careers and independence #GlobalProblemSolvers @CiscoCSR


Four generations of Palestinian refugees have received support from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) since 1950. To foster independence, UNRWA and Cisco Networking Academy launched a partnership to prepare Palestinian youth for technology careers. A 96% hire rate in Jordan is proof of their success.

Friday, March 4, 2016 - 8:10am

CAMPAIGN: Cisco Focus Area: Economic Empowerment

CONTENT: Article

The Issue: Preparing refugees for ICT careers
Palestinian refugees who receive UNRWA support often lack the education and skills to apply for jobs that lead to stable careers and advancement out of poverty. As the ICT sector began to grow in the UNRWA hosting countries and the Arabian Gulf Region, UNRWA saw an opportunity to prepare youth, particularly women, for entry-level information communications technology (ICT) positions.

  • UNRWA, the largest UN organization in the Middle East, has provided services to 4 generations of refugees from the Palestinian territories since 1950.
  • 5 million Palestinian refugees receive education, health, relief and social services from UNRWA in Jordan, Syria, Gaza, West Bank, and Lebanon.
  • 2-year programs at UNRWA vocational training centers prepare refugees for the workforce.

The Solution: A thriving workforce readiness program
In 2001, the first Cisco Networking Academy opened at Wadi Seer Training Center in Jordan to test the possibility of a vocational ICT program for refugees. By 2014, the program had expanded to 9 UNRWA vocational training centers with an internship and advanced courses in security and wireless technology.  The rigorous two-year program prepares students for networking and IT-related careers and higher education in engineering, computer science, and related fields.

  • 400 refugee students attend the program each year.
  • 9 vocational training centers operated by UNRWA offer IT Essentials and Cisco CCNA courses in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, West Bank, and Gaza.
  • Cisco provides in-kind contributions of training, support, curriculum updates, and equipment.
  • The UNWRA Education IT Unit is a Cisco Academy Support Center
  • A 4- to 8-week internship prepares students for the workplace.

“By partnering with a leading organization like UNRWA that provides services to the Palestinian Refugees in Levant countries, we’re dedicated to unlocking youth potential and drive job creation, while also boosting economies and global competitiveness," said Mohamed Jinini, Networking Academy Area Manager for Levant Countries at Cisco. "Cisco Networking Academy provides access to high-quality educational opportunities, which provide the vocational training that will prepare UNRWA students to become members of the global 21st century workforce.”

Impact Multiplied
Graduates of the UNRWA ICT program have earned an excellent reputation with hiring companies throughout the region. Potential employers value the hands-on work students gain from using the latest equipment in the up-to-date UNRWA labs. UNRWA operates 150 secondary schools for Palestinian refugees and is piloting a summer camp program to extend ICT training to younger students.

  • 4500 Palestinian youth have graduated from Cisco Academy program since 2001.
  • 35% of participants are women who report increased confidence and comfort with ICT.
  • 96% of graduates in Jordan and 80% in Gaza get jobs throughout the UNRWA hosting countries and Arabian Gulf within one year.
  • UNRWA received the “2009 Cisco Against All Odds Award” for teaching under severe conditions, ensuring quality, following up with students, and offering the latest courses.

“The students of UNRWA are very much in demand,” said Nevine ElKadi, manager of Cisco learning and development, Middle East. “When employers are looking for graduates – they know the students have been really hands on and enjoy working in the lab, and they are working on the latest equipment all the time.”

Keywords: Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship | Cisco Net Academy | Corporate Social Responsibility | Expert Connections | Positive Change | Social Development | Social Gifting | Technology | UNRWA | cisco csr

CAMPAIGN: Cisco Focus Area: Economic Empowerment

CONTENT: Article