The Peace Corps and IBM (NYSE: IBM) are launching a public-private partnership to allow highly skilled corporate professionals to serve overseas in short-term, high-impact pro bono consulting assignments through the Peace Corps Response program.
The initiative, announced Tuesday by Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet and Stanley S. Litow, who is IBM Vice President of Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs and president of the IBM International Foundation, is set to launch in three countries next year.
The first collaboration will take place in Ghana next year to support the Let Girls Learn initiative. Launched by the President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama earlier this year, Let Girls Learn is a government-wide collaboration striving to eliminate the barriers 62 million girls worldwide face when trying to receive an education.
Since the launch of Let Girls Learn, hundreds of Peace Corps volunteers have received additional training to make them agents of change for girls’ education.
The IBM Corporate Service Corps was created in 2008 to help solve some of the most challenging problems in communities around the world while providing IBM employees with unique leadership development.
Participants spend four weeks in groups of 10 to 15 working collaboratively with their host government and community counterparts to develop blueprints that address issues ranging from economic development, energy and transportation, to education and healthcare.
The program is managed by IBM Director of Corporate Citizenship Initiatives Gina Tesla, who served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Panama from 2000 to 2002.
Through the partnership, the Peace Corps Response program will engage teams of IBM’s top global talent. Peace Corps Response was originally created to send returned Peace Corps volunteers to short-term, specialized volunteer assignment.
In 2012, Peace Corps expanded the Response program to include Americans with at least 10 years of work experience and required language skills.
The Peace Corps sends Americans abroad on behalf of the United States to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world.
Volunteers work at the grassroots level to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development.