Award-winning volunteer projects continue to
make an impact

Story of service • Worldwide • December 2012

IBM's Centennial Grant projects were relevant not just during IBM's 100th Anniversary in 2011. They continue to make positive changes around the world. The projects all share a particular focus on activities that apply innovation and professional skills to improve the communities where we live and work.

In March 2012, ten outstanding Centennial Grant project teams were selected as the winners of the annual IBM On Demand Community Excellence Award. These projects were recognized with this special honor because they applied IBM’s smarter planet strategies to community service and could become models for similar volunteer engagements around the world.

And the work hasn’t ended. There have been amazing and noteworthy results from these projects and several of them were recently highlighted on CitizenIBM. Read the original stories of these award-winning projects and then see how the volunteers, and the fruits of their work, are continuing to make a difference for hundreds of thousands of people, as told through the eyes of the guest contributors on CitizenIBM.

Team Argentina created a Smarter Cities project using IBM’s SmartCloud for Social Business online office tools to publish quality-of-life indicators for Latin American cities to address common problems like traffic congestion, adequate housing, and aging infrastructure. The project is being implemented in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay with significant results. Participation and dissemination of information will reach 70 cities and impact over 450,000 citizens in Latin America.

Virginia Romanutti, Project Coordinator in Argentina of the Latin America Network of Fair, Democratic and Sustainable Cities, and member of El Agora, the not-for-profit that received the Centennial Grant funds, is the guest author of Improving Access to Public Information for Latin American Citizens on CitizenIBM.

Team Canada worked with partners in the city of Ottawa to build the world-class Ottawa Neighbourhood Study (ONS), a database which details how where a person lives impacts their health and well-being. The data is collected and analyzed to enable policy developers, program planners, community organizers, service providers and residents to better understand those neighbourhoods and use the information to improve the quality of life for its citizens.

The skills and creativity of the 75 IBM volunteers working on this project are what make it successful as they collaborate with the ONS to bring together business insight, advanced research, technology and marketing expertise to help ONS better service its community in a rapidly changing environment.

Michael Allen, President and Chief Executive Officer, United Way Ottawa, is the guest contributor of Building a Smarter Planet by Building Community on CitizenIBM where he discusses honoring IBM’s team in Ottawa with the “Give Award” from the United Way. The Centennial Grant ONS project was a key part of that award.

Team India collaborated with the Drishtee Foundation of India to fund a "Smart Rural Aggregation Platform" (SRAP) that utilizes IBM volunteers help to transform rural Indian villages into sustainable Smarter Villages, increasing farmers' incomes and ultimately setting up supply chains, microfinancing and other services to bring the villages up to technological parity with Indian cities. IBM volunteers are using 21st century technologies and business skills to forge an efficient distribution system for the products and services of India’s farmers and villagers. SRAP is intended to transform poor, isolated Indian villages into communities that are instrumented, interconnected and intelligent. It all began with five villages in northern India, clustered within 40 kilometers of the state capital of Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh.

Niranjan Pandey, the project executive of the IBM India Rural Outreach Program, wrote Connecting India's Rural Markets to Outside Entrepreneurs on CitizenIBM, an update on the progress of this volunteer project.

Team Turkey partnered with the not-for-profit ZICEV, the Foundation for the Training and Protection of Mentally Handicapped Children, to build a database of people with disabilities that will link them to government institutions and not-for-profits that serve them, and ultimately develop a portal for people with disabilities to communicate with each other and volunteers. The single online platform will help enable the planning of volunteer activities to assist children with disabilities – most of whom experience social isolation in addition to their medical challenges.

Ulay Karakoc, President of ZICEV, authored Creating Better Lives for Turkish Children with Disabilities on the CitizenIBM blog describing the IBM volunteer project in Turkey.

Team Vermont, United States teamed with Vermont State Colleges to pioneer use of Smart Grid data to achieve energy efficiency and peak load reduction at Vermont Technical College and the HowardCenter. The effort met or exceeded goals and drove down energy consumption while raising awareness among Vermont residents of how to create a more sustainable energy future. In September, Vermont’s IBM facility was honored with the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable’s Most Valuable Pollution Prevention Award for the fourth time in five years.

Peter Welch, who represents the state of Vermont in the U.S. House of Representatives, is the guest contributor of Creating a More Sustainable Economy: Honoring IBM Vermont’s Leadership on Energy Efficiency on CitizenIBM.

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