September 2013
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TD Magazine

The Training Industry Gives Back to Support Global Development

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Humanitarian aid organizations receive the training skills and resources they need to do good work in the world.

At the ASTD 2012 International Conference & Exposition in Denver, Chris Pirie, then ASTD's board chairman, spoke passionately about the massive global skills gaps and challenged attendees to help close them. After his talk, Pirie was approached by Eric Berg, CEO of Learning in Nongovernmental Organizations (LINGOs), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing training skills and services to international development and humanitarian relief organizations. Berg challenged Pirie to put his money, or at least his time, where his mouth was. Pirie ended up on the board of Berg's organization.

The two men co-facilitated a session the following year at ASTD 2013 in Dallas, which showcased the corporate social responsibility of several industry leaders in partnership with LINGOs. Through the organization, these training companies support the professional development of individuals and not-for-profit organizations that are helping to change the world.

Dennis Bonilla, senior vice president for global learning solutions at GP Strategies, was among several representatives who shared how his team and their client, Microsoft, work to support LINGOs member organizations. The GP Strategies and Microsoft corporate teams contributed their expertise in project management, instructional design, and web development to create a full curriculum around financial management.

"People felt really good," says Bonilla. "There is a clear connection between what they are doing and how it will be used." Together with British charity MANGO (Management Accounting in NGOs), GP Strategies and Microsoft developed the Last Mile Learning program, which provides contextualized learning and facilitation resources for people working at the front lines of international development in remote corners of the world.

Meanwhile, Articulate, an e-learning software company and the 2008 LINGOs partner of the year, has provided more than $200,000 of software to LINGOs member organizations, and actively encourages its community to get involved. Articulate Storyline was used to develop the curriculum in the Last Mile Learning program.


"There's no shortage of desire to give back," notes Pirie. "Training companies and trainers can't necessarily make big cash contributions to these organizations, but the donation of products, services, and time can have an even greater impact than the cash. If we focus our efforts as an industry, we can be a transformative force in the developing world."

To learn how you or your organization can support international development, go to

About the Author

Marian Abernathy is director of member services and communications at Learning in Nongovernmental Organizations (LINGOs).

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