San Jose, Calif. and Portland, Ore. -- Leading technology company Cisco and global organization Mercy Corps are embarking on a five-year, $10 million initiative to help deliver aid and development assistance faster, better and to more people around the world. Cisco and Mercy Corps plan to impact more than 11 million people through the integration of digital solutions into programs that help people survive through crisis, build better lives and transform their communities for good.
The humanitarian and development sector faces increasingly complex challenges, such as how to protect sensitive data, ensure privacy and deliver aid in the midst of violent conflict. Organizations also grapple with accurately and securely identifying beneficiaries, assigning goods and services, improving efficiency, tracking distributions and reporting the impact of programs.
"With 65 million people forced from their homes and 141 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, the aid community is stretched to its limits and faces unprecedented challenges," says Alan Donald, technology for development director at Mercy Corps. "Technology has the power to transform the way we meet urgent humanitarian needs and scale our solutions to help build stronger communities and have greater impact."
Cisco will provide cash grants as well as donate Cisco technology, expertise and advisory services. With the company's support, Mercy Corps teams working in more than 40 countries will be able to use advanced analytical tools to drive faster and more precise decisions, while helping ensure sensitive data is kept secure and private. Other key initiatives include the design of digital solutions for managing beneficiary information and improving the speed of aid delivery, new information channels for migrant populations to make better-informed decisions, and new solutions to build stronger and more resilient communities. The cash grant portion will be disbursed via Cisco's donor advised fund at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
"We believe we can apply the same technology and expertise that help our customers succeed to also help solve the world's most challenging problems," says Tae Yoo, Cisco senior vice president for corporate affairs. "By leveraging technology-based solutions and partnering with strong, digitally enabled nonprofits like Mercy Corps, companies like Cisco can help positive social change and improve lives of people around the world. Partnering with Mercy Corps is a critical component of our goal to positively impact 1 billion people by 2025."
In addition to supporting these solutions, Mercy Corps and Cisco plan to conduct field-based research and test new technology models, sharing learnings and solutions with institutions and organizations across the humanitarian and private sectors to boost collaboration. As a result, Mercy Corps and Cisco hope to have a significant impact on developing and verifying new technology solutions and best practices to address some of the world's toughest challenges.
About Mercy Corps
Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible. In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions into action—helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within. Now, and for the future.
Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide technology leader that has been making the Internet work since 1984. Our people, products, and partners help society securely connect and seize tomorrow's digital opportunity today.