In case you missed it: Here’s a great piece by Amanda MacArthur, VP of CDC Development Solutions. Originally posted at CSRWire.

Skills-based volunteering is on the rise. In 2011, four times as many companies sent employees to volunteer professional skills in countries such as Ghana, India and Nigeria compared to just six years ago according to the CDS’s 2012 International Corporate Volunteer Benchmarking Survey. Volunteers – and their employers –often call the experience life changing.  NGOs, nonprofits, government agencies and other organizations say expertise in areas such as technology, supply chain management and marketing allows them to advance in ways they otherwise never could.

Over the past few years, companies such as IBM, Pfizer, PepsiCo  and Dow Corning have sent employees on skills-based, pro bono, short-term volunteer assignments in emerging markets for leadership development, product innovation opportunities and to better understand emerging markets while providing much needed assistance and enabling skills transfer.  Now, companies can also send their employees on volunteer assignments that link directly to U.S. global development goals that help solve some of the world’s most pressing issues – clean water, education, food security and healthcare.

The Center of Excellence for International Corporate Volunteerism (CEICV) is the result of a new partnership between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and IBM, which operates the largest skills-based International Corporate Volunteer (ICV) program. CEICV, which is implemented by CDC Development Solutions, enables companies to learn how to create and manage International Corporate Volunteer programs and highlights the potential for these programs to support broader development goals in critical emerging markets around the world.  The aim is to help build the capacity of beneficiary organizations in emerging markets through short-term partnerships with highly-skilled corporate volunteers.

Read on for the complete article, including more details about the first USAID/IBM supported trip to Ghana