Cisco Systems has deviated from typical business concerns with its philanthropic involvement in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in which the multinational vendor will develop and implement a Web site to educate the global community on the world's poverty-stricken population.
According to Cisco's marketing director Anne Strachan, the Web site will include "links to related Web sites, other UN projects, volunteer exploits, donation details and educational information". The site will also have live interviews with UN officials, such as Harry Belafonte, co-chair of the UNDP's Poverty Eradication Committee and UNDP goodwill ambassador Danny Glover.
Strachan explains that the site will be built on Cisco infrastructure and will be capable of handling up to one billion hits.
"With this kind of exposure the UN needed a partner that could handle such a worldwide scope. We are a global company that is Internet-oriented and so offered our services. Sure it's a good branding exercise for us but it's also a good cause."
After the site's initial launch the UN will be responsible for its maintenance.
The Web site will be launched on October 9 in conjunction with a musical broadcast and Netcast from Giants Stadium in New Jersey, Wembley Stadium in London and the Opera House in Geneva, in a bid to draw attention to the plight of the 1.3 billion poor worldwide. "Hopefully, this will inspire people to recognise the situation of the poor around the world," says Strachan.
According to Strachan, Cisco are also sponsors of the musical element of the program, christened NET AID, which is the product of the same minds that put together Live Aid and We are the World.