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Celebrating Human Rights

Did you know that today is International Human Rights Day? The United Nations (UN) General Assembly proclaimed December 10 as Human Rights Day in 1950, which means that this marks the 63rd anniversary of the celebration.

I am reminded of the words of the late Nelson Mandela: “To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.”

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that this year Qualcomm has made some great progress in the human rights space—from becoming a full member of the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) to joining the United Nations Global Compact and publishing Qualcomm’s Commitment to Human Rights.

We also recently updated The Qualcomm Way: Our Code of Business Conduct and as a full member of EICC, we’ve adopted the EICC Code of Conduct for our operations and as our Supplier Code of Conduct.

We also continue to evolve our Conflict Minerals Program, which includes active participation in the Conflict Free Sourcing Initiative (CFSI), supporting the Conflict Free Smelter Program (CFSP)—including conducting numerous smelter visits—and engaging in the IPC’s conflict minerals activities.  We also participate in the Public-Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade and joined the International Tin Industry’s Supply Chain Initiative (iTSCi) on conflict minerals to further demonstrate our commitment to the development of Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)-conflict-free sourcing.

However, we’re not only concerned with the human rights of our employees and those in our supply chain: we’re also interested in promoting human rights through our technologies. Qualcomm Wireless Reach is working to close the digital divide in underserved communities in more than 30 countries. In 2012, Wireless Reach began projects that specifically target the following UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): universal education, gender equality, and child and maternal health. mPowering Frontline Health Workers is one example: this collaboration, kicked off in June of last year, seeks to improve the lives of mothers and babies by strengthening the skills and performance of frontline health workers through scalable mobile technologies and creative multimedia health content.

We’ve continued to develop projects in line with the MDGs in the area of universal education; in fact, Wireless Reach has teamed up with eLimu Learning Company Limited and other stakeholders in Kenya on a project in Kenya that showcases the power of mLearning when applied to standard 7 and 8 classrooms in Nairobi. The pilot project uses 3G-enabled tablet computers to deliver high quality, locally relevant educational content through a learning application to children who would otherwise lack adequate access to a meaningful education. In the project, the Kenyan curriculum is taken straight from textbooks, and interactive, engaging and locally designed content is added in the form of songs, games, quizzes and animationsall delivered through tablet computers with 3G technology. Use of this technology in the classroom will aim to improve learning outcomes, child literacy, numeracy, social awareness and cognitive thinking. Plus, the beneficiary schools will be provided with solar powered solutions to reduce pressure on their electricity supplies.

We have also been doing some exciting work in the gender equality space – one example is our company’s commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Women Enhancing Technology (WeTech) program, which we announced with Hillary Clinton at the CGI Annual Meeting (check out Shawn Covell’s inspiring blog post about the experience). WeTech aims to build a steady pipeline of girls and women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and address the technology industry’s need for more professionals with technical knowledge.

So even though today is International Human Rights Day, at Qualcomm we’re working to promote and support human rights around the globe every day. It’s part of what makes me love coming to work every morning, and in my view, it’s one of the many reasons for which Qualcomm continues to be near the top of  Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” each year.

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