Hours for Impact Editorials

Read about how our global community is making an impact and creating change!

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PMI Lebanon Chapter: Rebuilding Community in Lebanon

Number of Hours Pledged: 150

SDGs Supported: #2 Zero Hunger, #3 Good Health and Well-Being

Summary: After a massive explosion ripped through the Port of Beirut on 4 August 2020, Lebanon’s capital city was left in chaos - and uncertainty. More than 200 people were killed, and volunteers across the country scrambled to assist the many thousands more who were injured or dealing with schools, stores, hospitals and homes damaged or destroyed by the blast. 

With the country also staring down a devastating economic crisis, members of the PMI Lebanon Chapter saw the need to reimagine how they worked, recalls Riam Chazbek, PMP, VP of volunteers for the chapter. The chapter had always had strong relationships with NGOs, but it doubled down on its efforts to identify more organizations that could benefit from its support.

Recent volunteer efforts include humanitarian efforts, such as helping NGOs with preparing food parcels, providing mental health services, making food and clothing donations, and delivering medications. But the chapter has also focused on restoring nature through planting and reforestation projects. And it’s hosted several special events, including a holiday lunch for older community members and an iftar meal during Ramadan.

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Reimagining Urban Coworking Spaces: Coworking Urbano [email protected] Passatges

Number of Hours Pledged: 8,640

SDGs Supported: #3 Good Health and Well-Being, #11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

Country: Spain

Summary: From her first visit to Barcelona, Bolivian architect Yngrid Echalar Gutiérrez was immediately captivated, calling it “one of the most beautiful, inspiring cities in the world.” She marveled at its beautiful and historic structures and how they reflect the many cultures and civilizations that have influenced the city over thousands of years. Now Gutiérrez is helping pioneer Barcelona’s next design transformation: reinventing public space as an incubator for innovative ventures, meetings and spontaneous collaboration.

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Coworking Urbano hexagonal hub

Drawing its inspiration from the shape of a pinecone, the team envisions Coworking Urbano [email protected] as a hexagonal hub with six offshoots.

Style Meets Sustainability Syreeta Bond

Style Meets Sustainability: Reducing Fashion’s Footprint

Number of Hours Pledged: 200 

SDGs Supported: #10 Reduced Inequalities, #11 Sustainable Cities and Communities and #13 Climate Action

Country: USA 

Summary: The apparel biz has an abysmal sustainability rep, with one of the largest carbon footprints of any industry. But Syreeta Bond, DBA, PMP, is making her own fashion statement with Lipstick Killers Collection (LKC), what she calls a “chic-punk” clothing line—that’s 100 percent carbon neutral.

“Our aim is to set the standard for fashion companies worldwide and to encourage all fashion companies to reverse their impact on the environment as much as possible,” says Bond, who’s also a project manager at tech giant Apple and a member of the PMI Los Angeles Chapter.

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Seeding Opportunity Through Education

SDGs Supported: #4 Quality Education, #10 Reduced Inequalities

Country: Kenya

Summary: Aouki Patrick Odongo grew up in Kibera, one of the most economically impoverished areas in Kenya—and the world. He saw how unreliable access to food, water and a stable home created a path fraught with obstacles, especially for the children living in the Nairobi neighborhood. And now he’s using that experience to change the narrative.

As director of Students for Education, Empowerment and Development (SEED), this determined changemaker is helping transform life for youth in marginalized communities through education. That includes establishing the first SEED School in Kibera, which offers primary school education to more than 70 children annually. Through Hours for Impact, Odongo and his team members are pledging hours to support U.N. Sustainable Development Goals 10, to reduce inequality, and 4, to help “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” 

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Creating Resilient Communities: Women bent down working garden

Creating Resilient Communities

Number of Hours Pledged: 400 

SDGs Supported: #1 No Poverty, #2 Zero Hunger, #3 Good Health and Well-Being, #4 Quality Education, #8 Decent Work and Economic Growth, #11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

Country: Guatemala 

Summary: Ingrid Villaseñor was raised by a single mother who taught her that women are strong, successful and resilient. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have such an encouraging force in their lives, Villaseñor knows. So in 2018 she created Tejiendo Futuros (Weaving Futures), a nonprofit offering social services to families in Panajachel, Guatemala. The organization runs a network of programs to educate, feed, provide medical care and raise aspirations for vulnerable families.

“Ingrid is helping break the poverty cycle by working with families to help them realize that no matter your culture or origin, you are worthy and can succeed,” says María Laura González, PMP, Latin American community coordinator for the nonprofit Project Managers Without Borders (PMWB).

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Advancing Chronic Disease Detection

Number of Hours Pledged: 100 

SDG Supported: #3 Good Health and Well-Being

Country: China 

Summary: An increasing number of people across China are living with chronic conditions that impact their quality of life—and can become life-threatening without proper treatment. Looking to help his community, Yawei Song, PMP, is putting his expertise in healthcare project management to work: volunteering his time to advance chronic disease detection in Changsha, the capital of China’s Hunan province.

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Advancing Chronic Disease Detection: Men sitting in red chairs
Adil -Warsi-PM-Deloitte-India

Improving Economic Opportunities Through Infrastructure

Number of Hours Pledged: 150

SDGs Supported: #8 Decent Work and Economic Growth, #9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, #15 Life on Land

Country: India

Summary: The journey between the city of Ahmednagar and the rural village of Hiware Bazar in the state of Maharashtra, India, has never been an easy one. When it rains, travelers must navigate a muddy mess—or worse, heavy flooding makes the road impassible. And even in favorable weather conditions, the route is studded with potholes.

“When we visited the village for the first time, every bone in our body hurt from all the bumps we hit along the way,” says Adil Warsi, a project manager at Deloitte India and longtime member of the PMI Pearl City, Hyderabad Chapter.

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Making Roads Safer

Number of Hours Pledged: 250

SDGs Supported: #3 Good Health and Well-Being, #4 Quality Education, #9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, #11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

Country: Panama

Summary: Osiris Gratacós was 19 years old when another car slammed into hers, killing a close friend and leaving her with serious injuries. As she healed, Gratacós found her mission: to make the roads safer in Panama City. And in 2011, she launched Fundación Educación Vial , a nonprofit devoted to reducing the frequency of car accidents and cutting the fatality rate.

Since then, Gratacós’ passion as a safety advocate has drawn others to support the foundation’s cause, including María Laura González, PMP, Latin American community coordinator for Project Managers Without Borders (PMWB). “Some would be bitter, but Osiris chose to make a difference—to help people avoid what she went through,” says González.

Yet when she met Gratacós in 2020, González could see that the crusader was running on empty from doing everything on her own: marketing, fundraising, speaking at schools and calling on the government to change traffic laws. “She was a one-person team,” González says. “But you can run on passion alone for only so long.”

Gratacós was also taking on a deeply complex problem caused by multiple intertwining factors: speeding, poorly built cars, narrow roads, slow medical response and government disinterest. And she was trying to do it with no real strategic roadmap.

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Building the Next Generation of Coders

Number of Hours Pledged: 300 

SDGs Supported: #4 Quality Education, #5 Gender Equality

Country: France

Summary: Eager to make a difference, Yvann Nzengue, PMP, was looking for an opportunity to use his IT and coding skills in a way that would benefit children of Valbonne, France. A portfolio project manager, Nzengue had grown up with parents who always looked for ways to give back, so it was natural that he might do the same. “I love teaching,” Nzengue says. “And I like doing something that can have a big impact on the community.”

In learning about the global nonprofit CoderDojo in 2018, Nzengue saw his opportunity. Its mission? Give young people around the world an opportunity to learn to code in a social and safe environment. Nzengue approached the staff at his local library, and they agreed to let him start one of CoderDojo’s free programming clubs there.

Meanwhile, he’d recently completed his Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification and learned about PMI’s Hours for Impact program. Inspired, Nzengue pledged his time launching the Valbonne program to Hours for Impact, to advance U.N. Sustainable Development Goal 4, which aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”

Participants in the CoderDojo program work individually or in groups on projects ranging from web development to game creation—giving young people access to technology and the opportunity to gain new skills. 

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Bringing Broadband and the World to Rural Nigeria

Number of Hours Pledged: 1,000 

SDGs Supported: #4 Quality Education, # 9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

Country: Nigeria 

Summary: Students at the Federal University of Lafia and nearby Nasarawa State University, Keffi in Nigeria have long struggled to complete their assignments without reliable internet access. “To do their research, some were traveling to the Federal Capital Territory Abuja,” 43 miles (70 kilometers) away, says Gbolade Bankole, PMP, senior network engineer at VDT Communications Ltd.   

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Providing Resources to a Vulnerable Community in Malaysia

Number of Hours Pledged: 150 hours 

SDGs Supported: #1 No Poverty, #2 Zero Hunger, #3 Good Health and Well-Being, #4 Quality Education

Country: Malaysia

Summary: Deep in the forests of Malaysia live the Orang Asli, the peninsula’s oldest inhabitants. The Indigenous group—comprised of only around 150,000 people—struggles with poverty exacerbated by its rural location. Seeing a community lacking essential resources, Paramasivam Chandrababu devised a plan to help: Organize a volunteer event to donate clothes, toys and books to the village. 

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Scoring a Win for Disadvantaged Students

Number of Hours Pledged: 16+

SDGs Supported: #4 Quality Education, #10 Reduced Inequalities

Country: USA

Summary: An education that includes science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) gives students the foundational tools for future innovation. And for students from economically disadvantaged and historically marginalized communities, it can also illuminate career paths that can help them escape the cycle of poverty.

Since 2007, the Young Men and Women in Charge (YMWIC) Foundation in Exton, Pennsylvania, USA, has been working to turn that vision into reality. Along with offering academic tutoring, mentoring and financial assistance programs, the foundation holds an annual Science Expo. Primary and high school students spend months preparing projects, which are then presented to judges.

It’s the kind of event that helps build excitement and engagement among the students. And some volunteers from the PMI Delaware Valley Chapter saw an opportunity to make it even better: As part of their pledge to PMI Hours for Impact, they leaned into their own creativity and problem-solving potential to address a long-standing concern with the expo’s scoring process.

The issue? The event’s cumbersome scoring system. To determine the winners in each of the five categories, expo judges had to fill out between 100 and 200 spreadsheets. That information was then copied and pasted into one master document to be analyzed. “It was a lot of wasted manipulation of spreadsheets,” says Stephan Rouyer, PMP, an IT project manager at Saint-Gobain.

So the team created a more user-friendly app that judges could download to their mobile phones. Judges would use the tool to enter scores and comment on students’ project boards and presentations, and then could review and modify the information they’d entered before submitting it. After that, the app would calculate the results automatically.

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