Cisco: How Webex is Transforming Collaboration and Communication in Lebanon

Communication is one of the most powerful forces humans have, and our ability to share complex ideas and make connections is what drives a thriving society. In Lebanon, communication and human rights have collapsed, with access to education, telecommunications, internet and electricity becoming a challenge for much of the population. According to UNICEF, more than 80% of Lebanese live in poverty and a third of school-age children have received no education in the past year.

The Lebanese Cisco community has come together from around the world to help support our country as it navigates unprecedented times.

“Being part of this virtual community has been so heartwarming. We fundraise together and volunteer on-site and remotely to support our beloved country. It’s amazing what we can do together. Being able to raise over 500 $000 in the space of two months after the explosion in Beirut is a testament to the power of commitment to our country,” said John Azzi, a U.S.-based Cisco renewals manager.

In a previous blog, I shared how Cisco is leveraging its tools and resources to improve mental health across Lebanon and help relief efforts from the 2020 Port of Beirut explosion. In this blog, I’m thrilled to share that when people and technology come together. , we can improve collaboration and communication across an entire country. Through human dedication, platforms like Webex, and programs like the Cisco Networking Academy, we can empower, educate, inspire, connect, and turn the impossible into the possible.

Empowering the future of our youth

We are delighted to have partnered with Jobs for Lebanon, a US-based NGO that connects young Lebanese with local or remote job opportunities.

One of the main challenges the Jobs for Lebanon team faced was the lack of a unified method of collaboration for their internal and external communications. We worked with them to understand the needs of the organization and offered them a free Webex license. This has allowed them to deliver digital training and webinars efficiently and seamlessly on Webex, keeping students engaged through features like breakout rooms, whiteboard, online quizzes, and hands-on activities. . We then provided free access to Cisco Networking Academy online courses to each of their candidates. Additionally, Cisco employees have used their Time2Give volunteer hours to guide and mentor students as they begin their professional journeys.

We then joined forces with Life Project 4 Youth (LP4Y), a non-profit association dedicated to the professional and social integration of disadvantaged young adults.

To help LP4Y in its mission, several of our colleagues from the Lebanese Cisco community have volunteered to give mock interviews to young women in the LP4Y program. “The Webex Mock Interview sessions allowed students to get a real feel for how interviews are conducted,” said Clément Hardel, LP4Y Project Manager. “The experience was very valuable, enriching and rewarding for them. It helped to reduce their interview anxiety and build their confidence by testing their skills and giving them constructive feedback in a low-stress environment.”

Below is an excerpt from a heartwarming conversation with Bayan, a 26-year-old student at LP4Y:

Bayan: “I couldn’t sleep at night because of my worry about the call. I didn’t know what to expect. I kept thinking I wasn’t ready. Even today today, just before our call, I almost didn’t join – my heart was beating like a hammer.”

Maha: “How do you feel now that we are nearing the end of our Webex? »

Bayan: “I feel extremely happy and much more confident in myself. I don’t think I will panic again about an interview like this. I feel smart, excited and ready, more than ever, to start apply for jobs and pass those interviews.”

Accompany the displaced

Another great collaboration was with The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Liban.

The Lebanese Cisco community raised funds to support the ICRC in Covid Relief efforts. The funds were used to upgrade the main Covid emergency department at the main public hospital. Our commitment has evolved into offering a free WebEx license to help the ICRC connect remotely and exchange ideas on local and global humanitarian challenges.

Connecting loved ones when needed

Most of the time, staying connected in Lebanon is a real struggle. Telephone communication, whether using the Internet or a cellular network, is not a service that can be taken for granted here. According to Reuters in January 2022, internet outages and weak mobile signals have negatively impacted Lebanon’s telecommunications system, which is on the verge of shutting down. Currently, Lebanon ranks 169th out of 177 countries for internet speed.

To transform the patient communication capabilities of Beirut’s main public hospital, we partnered with nonprofit Ahla Fawda to donate tablets. These tablets, supported by Webex and connected to Cisco Wi-Fi, deliver a high-quality video calling experience. Our donation enables COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) to connect remotely with their loved ones.

Being isolated in an intensive care unit and away from friends and family can negatively affect a patient’s mental and physical well-being. Our goal is to help isolated patients feel connected to loved ones and reduce the impact isolation can have on their health.

We are incredibly proud of everything we have done for Lebanese citizens. Cisco’s goal of propelling an inclusive future for all is an endless journey. With support from Cisco, we will continue to explore how technology can be put to good use as we strive to positively impact the people and societies in which we live.

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