June 15

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End extreme poverty? Sign me up!

After 14 years of doing the same job, I’m about to embark on a major change.  GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), my company, has a philanthropic arm called Pulse that matches willing employees with non-profit organizations so that they can “volunteer” for 6 months.  The idea is that the volunteers contribute their skills to solve challenges at home and abroad and when they return to GSK, they act as catalysts to change the company for the better.

My assignment is at the Earth Institute and I’ll be focusing on their Millenium Villages Project (MVP).  It’s considered a local assignment, since I’ll be reporting to an office on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, but I’ll get to visit some sites in Kenya, Senegal, Ghana and Tanzania.

The MVP aims to address the root causes of extreme poverty (living on less than $1/day) by using a holistic, community-led approach to sustainable development.  The goal is to unite science, business, civil society and government to empower communities and partners alike to work together to end extreme poverty.

Sounds easy, right?!  I don’t have much information on my exact role yet, but my title is “Agribusiness Project Manager.  My particular group centers on enabling rural African communities to become self-sufficient through the transition from subsistence to commercialized agriculture.

I’ll be blogging about my experiences, so if you’d like me to keep you posted, let me know and I’ll include you in the blog.

If you’re interested, you can learn more using the following links:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rwc-KwOp3mA
http://www.earthinstitute.columbia.edu/sections/view/9
http://millenniumvillages.org/about/overview/