IBM and Dow Collaboration Delivers Sustainable Solutions in Ethiopia while Building Employee Leadership Skills

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Company Employees Partner with International Medical Corps to Address Sanitation Issues in Ethiopia

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MIDLAND, Mich. - 04 Aug 2014: Dow’s (NYSE:DOW) Leadership in Action (LIA)  program and IBM’s (NYSE: IBM) Corporate Service Corps have come together with the assistance of nonprofit PYXERA Global, to deliver sustainable solutions in Ethiopia while providing unique leadership development opportunities for participating employees.

Five employees from Dow and three from IBM will participate in a joint global pro bono project with International Medical Corps (IMC) that will promote and support a campaign to improve sanitation and hygiene behavior in the community of Wolayita. IMC delivers health care services to those impacted by war, natural disaster and disease with programs that focus on training and helping devastated populations return to self-reliance. Through this effort, Dow’s team will create a social marketing program to drive behavioral changes required to create sustained resilience -the ability of citizens and government to survive, thrive, or even avoid natural or man-made crises, such as illness, fuel and food shortages, storms or drought. IBM will assess, recommend, and design methodologies that can measure how resilient a community is, particularly in the realm of public health.

PYXERA Global facilitates these types of programs to aid companies entering new geographies.  The nonprofit, which identifies high-impact organizations in emerging and frontier economies such as IMC, accelerates understanding of existing needs in these markets.

“Collaboration is instrumental in a project of this scope because no one company holds all the solutions to the world’s problems,” said Michelle Langley, Program Leader for Dow Sustainability Corps, Global Disaster Relief and STEM. “More than 35 percent of the world’s population lacks access to improved sanitation. By aligning strategies and leveraging each other’s employee talent, Dow and IBM can leave a lasting impact on the region.”

"By bringing together the top talent and emerging leaders at IBM and Dow, we are able to strengthen the impact we make on the community as well as deepen the experience for the employees, ultimately building lifelong relationships and sustainable solutions" said Gina Tesla, Director, IBM Corporate Citizenship.

This project is just one example of how both companies offer unique leadership development opportunities to employees. In addition to the five Dow employees working with IBM, an additional 36 employees are working on projects that address health, education and commerce.

“International Medical Corps will be able to reach Wolayita community far more effectively as a result of this joint effort,” said Deirdre White, CEO of PYXERA Global. “Companies like Dow and IBM are playing a pivotal role in strengthening the ability of organizations throughout Africa to better serve communities.  We’re seeing this across a host of issues areas from clean water and sanitation to infrastructure education, healthcare, and technology.” 

Employees participating in LIA have worked virtually for several months in preparation for their trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in August to meet with their NGO partners. Dow and IBM employees have been collaborating during this time, together with PYXERA Global, in preparation for their sanitation awareness project. Both companies are building stronger community ties in the region and instilling long lasting skills for employees. 

“When you lead a team there are no manuals or ‘how to’ documents.’ You have to use your experiences and make the best decisions at the time,” said John Kolmer, Dow Human Resources manager, Global Leadership Development. “This program gives people that real life experience by pushing them out of their comfort zone, and encouraging them to interact with people from different cultures and areas of expertise.”

Dow’s LIA is a collaboration between Dow Sustainability Corps (DSC) and Human Resources. DSC is part of Dow’s approach to meet the world’s most basic needs by matching interested and capable employees with NGOs, social entrepreneurs and local government agencies that need support for sustainable development projects, especially in emerging geographies and areas of growth for Dow. LIA leverages the strengths of DSC and the company’s Human Resources function to generate exceptional leadership development opportunities for participating employees and the NGO partners.

Follow Dow’s Leadership in Action program and project partnership with IBM’s Corporate Service Corps on Twitter by searching #DowLeads and #IBMCSC.  

About Dow

Dow (NYSE: DOW) combines the power of science and technology to passionately innovate what is essential to human progress. The Company is driving innovations that extract value from the intersection of chemical, physical and biological sciences to help address many of the world's most challenging problems such as the need for clean water, clean energy generation and conservation, and increasing agricultural productivity. Dow's integrated, market-driven, industry-leading portfolio of specialty chemical, advanced materials, agrosciences and plastics businesses delivers a broad range of technology-based products and solutions to customers in approximately 180 countries and in high growth sectors such as packaging, electronics, water, coatings and agriculture. In 2013, Dow had annual sales of more than $57 billion and employed approximately 53,000 people worldwide. The Company's more than 6,000 products are manufactured at 201 sites in 36 countries across the globe. References to "Dow" or the "Company" mean The Dow Chemical Company and its consolidated subsidiaries unless otherwise expressly noted. More information about Dow can be found at www.dow.com.

About IBM's Corporate Service Corps  

IBM's Corporate Service Corps team members comprise some of IBM’s most talented employees, and provide skills to developing countries in disciplines that include information technology, research, marketing, finance, consulting, human resources and law. By the end of 2014,  IBM Corporate Service Corps will have deployed 800 IBM employees for projects in South Africa, Ethiopia, Angola, Senegal, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco and Egypt. Since 2008, IBM Corporate Service Corps has dispatched approximately 2,500 IBM employees originating from 56 countries on engagements to 37 countries -- making this pro bono problem solving program one of the world's largest. The company works with NGO partners such as Pyxera Global and  Digital Opportunities Trust to identify and prepare for the most worthwhile in-country projects.

Follow IBM's Corporate Service Corps on the CitizenIBM blog at www.citizenIBM.com and on Twitter, at @citizenIBM.

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