In one month, I take off for Peru where I have the chance to join the inaugural Symantec Service Corps on a four-week assignment to support a skills-based project with a local organization. I am incredibly thankful for this opportunity, and excited and curious about what this experience will bring. I will be immersed in the local culture, meeting new colleagues, and applying the skills I have developed at Symantec to support vital programs in the local community.
I have no doubt it will be an incredible and unforgettable experience.
As part of the team developing the Service Corps program, I’d like to provide a bit of background on the program for those who might not be familiar with it, as well as details on the organizations our teams will be working with.
Numerous organizations in the developing world have limited resources to increase their capacity and operate more effectively. Due to this, there has been a trend towards development of International Corporate Volunteering (ICV) programs that offer a team of highly skilled employees to support non-profits and organizations across the world. Employees are offered a one of kind opportunity to work alongside each other and directly apply their skills to improve an organization’s capabilities, and their ability to provide critically-needed services in their communities. Additionally, organizations receive professional input at no cost, which they may not have otherwise been able to afford.
According to a recent survey on ICV, the trend towards ICV programs is increasing. In 2012, two dozen major companies sent over 1,700 volunteers abroad compared to six companies in 2008. Pepsi, IBM, Intel, and Ernst & Young are just a few of the companies finding value and enriching experiences in these global volunteering opportunities.
We are excited to join these companies, with the pilot Symantec Service Corps this year. The Service Corps team will work in Arequipa, Peru, the country’s second-largest city and the capital of the Arequipa Region in southern Peru. Arequipa has nearly one million residents and is the commercial capital of Peru, with industries such as manufacturing, wool, and tourism.
Our 10-person pilot program will work in teams of three and four to support the following organizations:
An affiliate of the Swiss Cooperation Peace Foundation, Paz Peru is a non-profit that supports women and girls who suffer from domestic violence and abuse. In order to make their work more sustainable and communicate their project impact more effectively, Paz Peru would like to develop an integrated marketing plan encompassing all projects in the organization.
The Symantec Service Corps team will help Paz Peru conduct a market study of its competitors and clients. The team will then work to develop a marketing plan for one or two of their programs, including recommendations on how the plan can be executed.
Descosur is an NGO dedicated to promoting social and economic development for marginalized and rural populations in Peru. The organization looks to increase family income and strengthen local institutions by targeting the supply chains of the local agricultural industry, which includes alpaca, dairy, Andean crop, fruit, and processed food production.
Descosur has recently observed that their tools and internal processes are outdated and inefficient. For example, their accounting system needs help in terms of both physical storage and technological security. The service corps team will assess the security of the accounting systems currently in place, recommend an adequate system of information protection, and analyze existing reporting to uncover ways to improve their financial systems and reporting.
Center of Research, Education and Development (CIED)
For the past 40 years, CIED has been working to strengthen public and social institutions to support rural economic development. Specifically, the Arequipa office has had success implementing projects that focus on empowering youth and women in surrounding rural areas, helping them to achieve social inclusion and economic independence.
CIED is in the process of organizational restructuring that would help it become more competitive. The Service Corps team will analyze the current institutional structure and resource allocation. Deliverables will include an organizational chart, change management plan and succession planning for regional offices across Peru.
Symantec created the Service Corps program to utilize the best of what we have to offer–our people! Congrats to our Service Corps participants – I look forward to us all sharing more about our work and travels this year!
Stay tuned here on the blog, as well as the Service Corps website for updates on our projects and travels!
Ashley Savageau is Symantec's Community Relations Program Manager.