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02/05/2017 - 07:00hs

IBM’s Egyptian staff did volunteer work in Brazil

The company has an international citizenship program through which it sends employees to work in projects that develop leadership and foster development in many countries. The initiative took place in the city of São Carlos.

São Paulo – IBM operates an international corporate service citizenship program that this year brought three of the company’s Egyptian employees to do voluntary work in Brazil. Called Corporate Service Corps (CSC), the initiative selects cities in developing countries and sends employees to work in local projects for a month. The goal is to aid in socioeconomic and leadership development in the communities.

The program operates worldwide and IBM Brasil takes part in it by both sending employees to other countries and welcoming the company’s employees from other countries to projects in Brazilian cities. The last city selected was São Carlos, 242 km from São Paulo, to where the company sent 12 employees to work in four initiatives in March and April. Three employees were Egyptian-born: one works in Egypt, one in the United Arab Emirates and the other in the Czech Republic.

Amanda Zanatta

IBM staff and other workers of projects: partnership

IBM Brasil’s Sustainability manager, Jonathan Colombo, says that the mix of cultures greatly enriches the work. He highlights the fresh view and the inquiries that those coming from outside bring with them. “The richness is in the diversity and the complementarity of the group,” he says. Colombo points out, however, that the IBM employees don’t take as their goals to solve the issues of the projects, but to perform a collaborative effort.

“We identify what is relevant to that community and work with them in the issues that they have there,” says Colombo. In each city IBM identifies local needs and chooses projects carried out by small companies, the volunteer sector, universities or government agents. The collaboration works in the form of development of economic growth plans or the management of technology processes. The goal is to offer the knowledge of the multinational applied to a collectively-built solution, according to the manager Colombo.

In São Carlos, IBM offered support to four initiatives. One of them was at the Computing System Department of the Mathematics and Computer Sciences Institute of the University of São Paulo (USP). In this project, the company’s employees helped in the development of an action and expansion plan for the inclusion of digital and robotics content in the city’s schools.

The project’s main idea is to make public school students aware of different career prospects. Colombo says that when asked about what they wish to work with in the future, most would say “country music singer” and “soccer player.” IBM’s Egyptian employees weren’t included in this specific project.

In the Department of Support to Environmental Education of the São Carlos Federal University (UFSCAR), IBM helped to create a business and marketing plan for a waste collectors cooperative, also including a solid waste project for the city. Hams El-Gabri, marketing engineer director of IBM Global Business Partners, an Egyptian that works in IBM Czech Republic, took part in it.

Another organization that received support was Instituto Inova, which aimed to develop a strategic plan for the empowerment of women in business. In the end, a platform was created to bring together women that are interested in launching entrepreneurship projects and investors. Egyptian Mona Arishi, a Middle East and Customer Centers manager who works in IBM United Arab Emirates, took part in it.

The other project which an IBM employee worked in was the drafting of a human resources management plan for the São Paulo State Federation of Apaes (Parents and Friends Association of Exceptional Children), with Apae São Carlos as the project’s pilot. Egyptian Eslam Atteya, head of the financial staff in IBM Egypt, worked in the project.

In addition to the Egyptians, other IBM employees worked in the projects mentioned above. Despite being a social action outside their home work bases, the activity is the same as work for the employees, since it’s not a vacation and they are paid for it. The company holds a selection process every year among those that register and gives them training before the programs. IBM doesn’t charge anything from the organizations and covers its own costs.

The Corporate Service Corp was launched ten years ago and three thousand IBM employees have already participated, working in 37 countries. In Brazil, the São Carlos edition was the 21st project. This year, in August, the program will also take place in Campinas, 94 km from São Paulo. In this case, however, IBM employees working in Arab countries are not expected to be included.

*Translated by Sérgio Kakitani

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