Following on from PricewaterhouseCoopers’ engagement in relief efforts related for the tsunami, PwC has gradually fostered a new relationship with one particular agency – UNHCR. “Current needs within the UN touch many areas of core competence within our advisory and consulting business and the UN continues to have a lot of reform and improvement needs. We are focused on providing quality services to meet these needs while, at the same time, building deeper understanding amongst our people about the very special, almost unique challenges of working within ‘a UN environment’ so as to improve the potential for outcomes with real positive impact for the various agencies’ beneficiaries and all member states,” Richard Golding, PwC’s Global Relationship Partner for the UN System explained.
The relationship between UNHCR and PwC really started back in 2005 when PwC and other senior management representatives from 4 other major multinationals (Microsoft, Merck, Manpower and Nike) jointly formed the UNHCR Council of Business Leaders who are committed to advising the High Commissioner and his management team and also to finding ways to developing multi-faceted partnerships with UNHCR to provide meaningful support to forcibly displaced people and to contribute towards finding durable solutions for them. For example, PwC has committed to providing some of its project managers with the telecoms industry expertise to work with teams from other business partners and UNHCR as part of what is called the Community Technology Access (CTA) program which aims to bring wireless network access to long-term remote refugee camps.
Participation in such projects enable PwC to provide much needed professional management skills whilst its own project managers gain unique experience in applying their skills in a very, very different and challenging context – which in turn enhances and expands their own personal abilities. Furthermore, in June 2008, PwC teamed up with UNHCR to launch “the Power of 10” project which aimed to raise money from among the 150,000 PwC employees around the world within a period of 10 days. Over $4m was raised and this will fund a project over the next few years to build schools, train teachers, and provide educational supplies for up to 30,000 refugee children in Eastern Chad. This is UNHCR’s largest ever single corporate contribution.