Cisco Powers Expansion of Kenyan Digital Media Enterprise

Digital Divide Data (DDD) is the recipient of a $135,000 cash grant from Cisco to scale up its operations in Kenya and expand its eBooks service line. In Kenya, DDD’s newest base of operations, the grant will be used for accelerating recruitment and training and implementing workflow automation. Part of the grant will also go towards supporting the expansion of DDD’s e-book service line of more complex eBooks, which require tables, graphs, and multi-media. A pioneering social enterprise, DDD creates jobs for talented youth in Cambodia, Laos and Kenya by delivering business process outsourcing services to clients worldwide. At the same time, DDD’s data management operators are able to obtain a university education, with scholarship assistance. Over ten years, the organization has grown to employ nearly 1000 staff; 500 youth have earned university degrees with DDD’s support. “We are delighted that Cisco, a strategic partner of DDD since 2009, is continuing to support our initiatives as we scale our social enterprise to create more technology-related jobs for youth”, said Michael Chertok, DDD’s Chief Development Officer. “In Kenya, where we have been operating for one year, we currently employ more than 100 youth from slum areas of Nairobi. Our goal is to employ 300 young adults from areas like Kibera and Mathare by 2013. This grant will enable us to accelerate hiring, increase our productivity and offer higher margin services, strengthening our economic sustainability”, Chertok added. DDD is the prior recipient of three in-kind equipment grants from Cisco that power our business. These include high capacity network switches to support bandwidth intensive content conversion processes; firewalls which provide increased security for client data, routers that optimize network performance during peak load times and the latest wireless access point technology available. “Cisco’s Public Benefit Investment (PBI) is funding DDD to facilitate scale, sustainability and long-term impact for its beneficiaries. We are delighted that the grant will help DDD to increase technology based skills development, education, and employment opportunities of disadvantaged youth in Kenya, to help them become economically self-sufficient. It will also enable them to scale up work in Kenya and beyond to reach more disadvantaged youth. Through our CSR activities, our goal at Cisco is to ensure long-term social impact for youth so they are able to compete in the 21st century workforce and become economically independent. In Kenya, we have been working with DDD to employ students from our Cisco Networking Academies in Kibera and Kariobangi, as well as the Deaf Aid Academy; to date they have recruited more than 20 students from these training programs,” commented Charu Adesnik, Manager, Economic Empowerment Investment Portfolio Public Benefit Investment at Cisco. Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate.