Global Pro Bono Program is a Game Changer for IBM and Partner USAID

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Global Pro Bono Program is a Game Changer for IBM and Partner USAID

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Learn how @IBM partners w @USAID @CDCDevSolutions to create intl #corporate #volunteering prog #CSR via @Companies4Good

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IBMers in Ghana | Photo credit: IBM/Katie Levey

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - 2:45pm

CAMPAIGN: CSR & Social Media


By Allison McGuire

I’ve recently learned about a terrific example of the benefits of companies using corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies to solve problems abroad—IBM’s Corporate Service Corps. For background, you can read my posts about CSR and international development on this blog and through the Truman Project.

How the program works: IBM sends 10-15 employees, ranging in skillsets and national origin, to a developing market for four-week assignments that are pre-scoped by NGO partners such asCDC Development Solutions.  At the intersection of business, technology, and society, IBMers work with and within communities to solve economic development problems.

Since 2008, the company has already sent more than 1,500 IBMers to participate in the Corps. IBM outlines three benefits to the Corporate Services Corps:

1.    Communities have their problems solved.

Communities thrive through connecting with IBM’s unique problem-solving skills, and IBMers remember key takeaways that can later be scaled up in other locations. By helping to create stable communities, IBM improves future opportunities to work in those markets.

 2.    IBMers receive leadership training and development.

During an Executive Service Corps program in Vietnam, one IBMer relayed her experience with connecting to key regional stakeholders in order to better understand local and national issues:

“In my case, [Ho Chi Minh City] was interested in ensuring food quality and safety, and developing a plan for how to respond in the case of a food emergency,” says Michele Grieshaber. “So in that first week, I visited a vegetable farm, a vegetable processor, a seafood processor and exporter, a wholesale market at night, a clam farm, and a shrimp farm. We met the people that are part of the supply chain, we asked questions, and we tried to understand the process and the problems.”

This program builds solid relationships between IBMers and community stakeholders; Grieshaber flexed her leadership qualities by connecting with a wide swath of interested parties, and in turn, locals benefited by learning from her expertise.

 3.    IBM develops new markets and global leaders.

Like many multinational companies in the tech sector, IBM is continually looking for new markets to grow their products and services, and/or establish supply chains. By working within burgeoning governments and communities, IBM gets access to markets that have yet to develop their full potential. In addition, IBM has a hand in shaping future leaders—both internally with their employees and externally with local government and community citizens.


Want to learn how to institute an effective international volunteer program for your company? Read on, via




Keywords: Innovation & Technology | CDC Development Solutions | CEICV | Corporate Service Corps | Employee Engagement | Global Impact | IBM | Partnerships | Social Change | USAID | csr

CAMPAIGN: CSR & Social Media