Feature Story

Positive change: What Cisco is doing in South Africa

by Stephanie Chan


The company brings education and conservation initiatives to the area.

Cisco is partnering with non-profit Global Citizen to present the annual Global Citizen Festival, this year in Johannesburg, South Africa. Taking place on December 2, this festival brings together some of the largest names in music to honor the legacy of activist Nelson Mandela and to create a movement to end extreme poverty by the year 2030. This goal aligns perfectly with Cisco's own effort to positively impact one billion people by 2025. Together, Cisco and Global Citizen are honoring young leaders with the Global Citizen Prize for Youth Leadership presented by Cisco. This award recognizes a young person who has advanced one or more of the U.N.'s Global Goals and who is positively impacting the world.  

It's just one of the many things Cisco is doing to make a difference in South Africa. Other initiatives include its work in education with Networking Academy and helping to save wildlife with IT services company Dimension Data.

Education, re-envisioned

Cisco Networking Academy is an education program that brings IT and networking skills to students of all ages around the world. Networking Academy works with universities, secondary schools, and other institutions to bring courses to students in-person and online, covering everything from the Internet of Things, programming, cybersecurity, and more. 

See also: Dream Team member Payton Young gets his networking career started 

To date, Networking Academy has impacted 9.2 million students in 180 countries by providing technical training, career mentorship, and even re-skilling to professionals who require new expertise to keep pace with a changing job market. Over the past 20 years, Networking Academy has reached more than 60,000 students across South Africa in partnership with 75 learning institutions, and 31 percent of South African students were female in 2017. 

Cisco has provided more than US $20.5 million in-kind contributions for Networking Academy in South Africa – this includes student, instructor, and academy support, curriculum, and our Packet Tracer network simulation tool.

Conservation connection

According to the African Wildlife Foundation, rhinos are considered critically endangered—every year poachers kill more than 1,000 rhinos in South Africa. This is why Cisco partnered with Dimension Data to launch Connected Conservation in 2015, an initiative to stop the poaching of rhinos. Starting with a pilot adjacent to the Kruger National Park in South Africa, the solution used a combination of Cisco technology including digital infrastructure, hybrid cloud, digital workplace, and cybersecurity to provide round-the-clock surveillance of parks to monitor human movement. This can help identify suspicious activity, protecting rhinos without disturbing their habitat. 

This pilot reduced poaching in the reserve by 96 percent in the first 18 months with a 100% reduction in poaching in 2017 and 2018. Because of this, Cisco, Dimension Data, and others are expanding the reach of this project to Zambia  Mozambique to protect the elephant, and to Kenya to protect both the elephant and the rhino.

To learn more about Cisco's commitment to global problem solving, check out the Corporate Social Responsibility page here: https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/about/csr.html



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