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IBM/Dow pro bono collaboration with International Medical Corps aims to improve sanitation, hygiene behavior in Ethiopia

Two global corporate powerhouses will apply their respective core competencies and corporate citizenship commitments jointly in the Wolayta, Ethiopia community.

Ethical Performance reports that “Five employees from chemicals giant Dow and three from technology colossus IBM are to participate in a joint global pro bono project with the International Medical Corps that will promote and support a campaign to improve sanitation and hygiene behaviour in Wolayita, Ethiopia”

The project is a premier example of collaboration between companies cooperating with a leading non-governmental-organization to improve health in a community in a less developed country.

Dow’s team will create a social marketing program to drive behavioral changes required for sustained resilience. IBM will assess, recommend and design methodologies that can measure how resilient a community is, particularly in the realm of public health.

“Collaboration is instrumental in a project of this scope because no one company holds all the solutions to the world’s problems,” said Michelle Langley, program leader for Dow Sustainability Corps, Global Disaster Relief and STEM. “More than 35% of the world’s population lacks access to improved sanitation [see also BIS program, “Water Is Life” ]. By aligning strategies and leveraging each other’s employee talent, Dow and IBM can leave a lasting impact on the region.”

“By bringing together the top talent and emerging leaders at IBM and Dow, we are able to strengthen the impact we make on the community as well as deepen the experience for the employees ultimately building lifelong relationships and sustainable solutions” added Gina Tesla, Director, IBM Corporate Citizenship.

The Wolayita project, developed with the assistance of PYXERA Global, is one of many sustainable development/corporate citizenship programs underway at Dow and IBM respectively. For example, Dow has pioneered regular measurement and reporting of progress — and challenges — in attaining its specific sustainability objectives. IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge will help at least 16 cities and countries around the world this year to address issues ranging from clean water, healthy food, and revenue generation to job development, efficient transportation, and public safety.

Announcement of the IBM/Dow project in Ethiopia seems a fitting counterpoint to the  just-concluded Washington D.C. summit of African and other international leaders examining African economies and their potential.