Employees are our greatest asset, and we share their time and talents with nonprofits around the world through volunteerism. SurveyMonkey is building a culture around it, encouraging employees to give back to the communities where they live and work.
In recognition of their generosity, we’re highlighting one employee each quarter who is living our #standforequality value through volunteer work. This quarter we’re recognizing Giacomo Fornari in Padova, Italy. With this recognition, Giacomo will receive money to donate to a charity of his choice.
Can you tell us a bit about your recent volunteer experience?
This summer, I volunteered for 2 months at the rural Tosamaganga Hospital in Tanzania, contributing to the digital transformation of the hospital. With this kind of project, you face a lot of challenges: limited resources, frequent power outages, technical skills gap, domain knowledge gap, but also language barriers, cultural sensitivity, and thinking about sustainable development—so your impact will last beyond your time there.
Some of the main activities I contributed to with the local community: producing an assessment report of the current state of the hospital from a digital transformation perspective, identifying actionable insights, improving and expanding the hospital's network, installing a monitoring and alerting the system for the main digital services, training the medical staff to use Electronic Health Records, and discussing with the Tanzania Telecommunications Corporation how we could provide high speed internet to the hospital.
Why do you volunteer?
Volunteering in such a context is rewarding on many levels. Culturally, when you see your own culture in a new perspective. Professionally, when you learn to collaborate with local people who have a totally different way of working and of communicating. And on a personal level, when you get close enough to touch other people's daily struggles and improve their lives—and then the same people call you a friend and they help you. When you receive so much, you start questioning how you can give back to the same people that warmly welcomed you in their community. It is far from trivial, and when you are able to return something to others and you see the effect of your actions, you feel a sense of accomplishment. I think that's when a virtuous circle begins.
What is your favorite charity?
Doctors with Africa CUAMM works with the local communities in Africa to improve their healthcare. The focus is on sustainable development, to support the local system. Sustainability is crucial to have a long-lasting impact and to actually contribute to the improvement of healthcare and life in general.
What do you want others to know about volunteering?
If you have ever thought about volunteering, just give it a try! Commit to what you can commit to, and you are always free to not do it anymore or do it another time. You never know what you will get back.