15 in ‘15: GBC-Education’s Top Moments of the Year

Photos clockwise by Olivia Simone, Steve Gong, and Legatum Limited.

1. Rallying Support for 1 Million Syrian Refugee Children


Photo Courtesy of Legatum Limited.

GBC-Education, in collaboration with A World at School, Theirworld, and education experts, proposed a plan using a double-shift school system to help 1 million Syrian refugee children return to school in Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon by the end of the next school year. This builds off earlier efforts established during GBC-Education’s high-level roundtable in Beirut in May to secure education solutions for the 13 million children whose educations have been jeopardized by conflict across the Middle East and North Africa.

2. Guiding Business Support of the Post-2015 Agenda, One #smartinvestment at a Time

Photo Courtesy of PwC.

To provide insights on the supporting roles businesses can play alongside the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda, GBC-Education and the UN Global Compact developed Investing in Education: Lessons from the Business Community. The report features a diverse set of responsible investments in education by six GBC-Education member companies and a new framework that showcases how businesses can make a smart investment in education.

3. Engaging in the Most Impactful High-Level Education Events

Photo by Espen Røst/Norway MFA.

Seizing the few remaining chances to inform the global agenda that would define the next 15 years, the Coalition advocated for the inclusion of the private sector in key education development events including the World Education Forum in Incheon, the Oslo Summit on Education for Development, and the UN General Assembly in New York. The Coalition also supported the broader private sector’s involvement in development through participation in the UN Global Compact’s 15th Anniversary and Private Sector Forum.

4. Launching the ‘Largest’ Writing Contest in India’s History

Photo by Wattpad.

Building on conversations over the past 12 months, the Global Education Platform announced a partnership with Wattpad to launch #YourStoryIndia, the largest and most inclusive digital writing contest in India. The contest aims not only to bring attention to pathways to close the global skills gap, but also to empower youth across India to create their own content and increase access to relevant content. After just two months GEP Director Adam Braun shared exciting preliminary results: The contest has resulted in Wattpad users in India spending 20 percent more time reading using the platform and 35 percent more time reading local content created in India.

5. Building the Business Case for Financing Education

Photo by Espen Røst/Norway.

After advocating on behalf of the private sector for more opportunities to invest strategically in development for global education, GBC-Education celebrated a big win when the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity was announced. This Commission, which includes GBC-Education Advisory Board members, aims to reverse the downward trend in financing for education and create pathways which in some cases may allow for private sector involvement.

6. Advocating for a Mechanism to Finance Education in Emergencies

Photo by Steve Gong.

After the UN Special Envoy for Global Education called for a Global Emergency Education Fund, GBC-Education was swift to mobilize the private sector’s feedback by publishing A Fund for Education in Emergencies: Business Weighs In. Just weeks later, at the high-level Oslo Summit for Education and Development in July, government officials agreed to move forward with a financing platform with the potential to provide readily available aid for education during crises. Most recently, the Coalition convened education ministers and other education stakeholders during our largest annual breakfast ever to share the need for partnerships and increased financing for education in emergencies.

7. Standing Up for Girls’ Education

Photo by Jawad Jalali/GPE.

Launched in March, the Girls’ Education Task Force assembled to improve the futures of 31 million out-of-school girls across the globe. The Task Force organized a webinar on the topic to map out critical moments when businesses can champion girls’ education. Building on this conversation, it released Journey of a Girl in October to guide business investments throughout every stage of a girl’s education. The paper, which surveys 32 companies investing in girls’ education, was accompanied by a series, The Power of the Adolescent Girl: GBC-Education Members Speak Up for Girls’ Education, featuring personal essays from Coalition business leaders.

8. Pushing Forward the Early Childhood Development Dialogue

Photo by Gretel Truong/GBC-Education.

In the lead up to the Oslo Summit on Education for Development, GBC-Education member LEGO Education and #smartinvestment Network members Rovio Entertainment Ltd. and H&M Conscious Foundation teamed up to ensure that early childhood development would not get lost in the post-2015 agenda dialogue. To further support the prioritization for early childhood development, GBC-Education Executive Chair Sarah Brown joined Business for Early Childhood Development (Biz4ECD) Task Force co-chairs from LEGO Education and the Oando Foundation to sign a ReadyNation-organized open letter directed at UN leaders.

9. Enhancing Partnerships Between Businesses and Other Stakeholders

Photo by Gretel Truong/GBC-Education.

To identify co-investment opportunities in financing increased access to education, GBC-Education gathered members of the global education community in Washington, D.C. alongside the annual spring meetings of the World Bank and IMF. The discussion explored the synergies between the public sector and donor agencies, and showcased the key role the private sector plays in scaling up investments in education.

10. Standing #UpForSchool at A World at School’s Largest Event Ever

Photo by Steve Gong.

At the historic Town Hall in the heart of Times Square in New York City, GBC-Education business leaders joined youth, global leaders, celebrities, and civil society for the #UpForSchool Town Hall event to mark a year of petitioning world leaders for every child’s right to learn and to carry that momentum forward to get the world’s out-of-school children in school. Shakira, along with UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown and A World at School Global Youth Ambassadors, delivered the #UpForSchool petition to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

11. Bolstering our Work to Make Schools Safe

Photo by Phuong Tran/IRIN.
In the 500 days since the Safe Schools Initiative was launched at WEF Africa, nearly 50,000 girls and boys have returned to school in Nigeria. Over the past year, the initiative expanded to include Pakistan, the Ebola-affected countries, the countries affected by the Syrian crisis, and most recently Latin America and the Caribbean. In Pakistan in particular, exciting developments within the past 12 months include Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s endorsement of the Initiative, GBC-Education’s publication of the report, Protecting the Right to Learn in Pakistan, and our #smartinvestment Network member PredictifyMe rolling out its technology to identify recommendations to make schools safer.

12. Strategizing to Help ‘Skill the Next Generation’ in India

Photo by GBC-Education.

Top leaders of local schools, major organizations, and multinational companies convened through GBC-Education’s India Working Group roundtable on “Skilling the Next Generation” in India this April. The attendees strategized over how to enroll 1.3 million Indian children into school and prepare them for future employment while encouraging support for the #UpForSchool petition.

13. Launching a Blog Series to Prioritize Youth in Business Investments in Education

Photo by Steve Gong.

The Coalition launched a new blog series, In Their Own Words: Youth Speak Out for Education Investment, featuring stories of youth working with businesses. This series highlights A World at School’s Global Youth Ambassadors and the unique relationship between private sector investors in education and youth. The blogs explore Microsoft and PwC’s youth-driven work in South Africa and Guyana to deliver technology to local schools and to finance an initiative to enhance learning for children with disabilities, respectively.

14. Growing the Coalition to Deepen Impact

Photo by Anthony Achkar.
With the addition of three new members, the Coalition supported some of the world’s most marginalized children with 300 Kano computer kits and connected major corporations and government representatives through NRS International’s interactive art exhibit in response to the global refugee crisis. Through member HP, Syrian refugee children in Lebanon received HP Envy XP360 laptops fostering technological skills and French and English language learning. Also, through the addition of Sumitomo Chemical, the Coalition’s reach extended to Japan where the company is pioneering an early childhood education program which simultaneously empowers women in the workplace. The Coalition looks forward to expanding in 2016 to scale up private sector involvement in education development.

And Our Most Recent Moment…


15. Expanding Investments in the Middle East

Photo Courtesy of Legatum Limited.

Following GBC-Education’s addition of Tom Fletcher, former UK Ambassador to Lebanon, as our Director of Global Strategy in the fall, the Coalition hosted a high-level meeting in Dubai convening business leaders in the Middle East to identify immediate solutions to provide education for Syrian refugee children. Building on this momentum, 30 companies joined the campaign to support a plan to address the refugee crisis.

To learn more about membership opportunities, please contact us at [email protected].