Education in emergencies requires urgent fundraising and a powerful business coalition
The business community’s contributions to education have been small, short-term, and uncoordinated – and a fraction of the size of business contributions to other sectors like health and climate. With an estimated 75 million children having had their education disrupted and more than half of the world’s young people projected to be without the basic skills necessary for job by 2030, the team behind this initiative decided there was no time to waste.
The Global Business Coalition for Education (GBC-Education) brings together business alongside NGOs, UN Agencies and young people to solve the toughest challenges in education and drive forward progress on SDG 4. Two challenges the team has prioritized are education in emergencies and the youth skills gap. The small team has “hearts of activists and heads of strategists” and they have leveraged millions of dollars in public-private support to help young people have opportunity through education. The team established the REACT digital platform to efficiently and effectively record, match, and deploy corporate resources to the education needs in emergencies. By utilizing the digital platform’s immediacy and ease of access, the project has enabled a real-time matchmaking and streamlined delivery of contributions from more than 55 companies to the most urgent educational needs.
For instance, the team worked with HP on a Livelihoods Center in Istanbul to support Syrian refugees. Marisa – a Syrian refugee who left everything behind and had her university education stopped because of the conflict – admits this project has given her the opportunity to continue her studies and to have a routine and a place to go to everyday to gain skills for a job. To address the looming skills gap, the Youth Skills and Innovation Initiative convenes business leaders, youth organizations, international organizations and civil society to identify models for industry leaders bridge the skills gap by working directly with young people.
These unique partnerships across diverse stakeholders make it possible to deliver positive impact and transformative models of change. Just last month, the project brokered a $15 million pledged from the business community to deliver low-cost technology solutions for school systems in the poorest countries and expand access to learning opportunities for millions of children. The team aspires to be the go-to source for the business community in global education to lead the private sector in driving education investments across the globe, engaging in critical dialogue on key issues, facilitating multi-sector partnerships, and harnessing opportunities to bring dozens of companies and partnerships valued at hundreds of millions of dollars to deliver SDG4.