This week the Corporate Citizenship team have been holding a week of events to encourage employees to get involved in their local communities.

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It’s been a great week, seeing existing volunteers, volunteer to spread the word about what they are doing and what they get out of helping others.  It’s also been a time to recognise the effort these people put into the interests they support.

Yesterday I was at the Bedfont event and listened to a very passionate talk by Alison Hall from Seeds for Development, a charity she set up with her IBM colleague Tamsin Miles, to help women in Uganda recover their lives from the war that ravaged the country. It was a fantastic example of storytelling from the heart, not zealous, just sincere and honest.

However, the events also helped people do something, no matter how small or big, in their own community too. IBMers and do many employees from all sorts of organisations, have a huge variety and depth of skills that can be put to good use in schools, medical centres, youth clubs or charities. The resources there to help people get started are vast, both inside and outside the company. Hopefully over the last few days the CC&CA team and volunteers have shown and inspired others how to make use of them. Not just through the regular IBM created programmes of which we have many but to come up with a new idea, share that and make use of the skills and willingness of the people they work with.

One of the initial ideas of the events was to show that smarterplanet doesn’t need to start with a 1-to-1 with the Prime Minister or by implementing a traffic congestion scheme. It starts with each one of us. With our ideas, our influence and our own efforts.

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