Call to Action: Business Leads in Emergencies

Photo by Gerhard Jörén / World Bank

With the education of over 75 million youth disrupted by conflict and emergency last year, the economic growth critical to business operations in our globalized world is increasingly impacted. Investing in the education of these youth is good for society and business alike — only by investing in education in emergency contexts can economies begin to grow again.

The newly launched Education Cannot Wait Fund presents a critical opportunity for business to do their part and capitalize on the growing political will to take action. Through a coordinated and targeted approach, the Fund will help the private sector to engage, contribute, and prioritize investments, create shared value, and promote sustainable development and growth.

A newly released GBC-Education circular outlines the business case to invest in the Fund and provides four ways in which the private sector can do so:

  1. Contribute Financial Resources: The private sector can provide philanthropic contributions to the Fund so that it can respond immediately in an emergency. We encourage companies to creatively identify ways to engage in mobilizing resources, including through their corporate social responsibility or philanthropic initiatives, customer contributions, or employee and external matching campaigns.
  2. Donate In-kind Services or Products: Companies can provide core business assets, including the deployment of products and services, as well as human resources, to operationalize the Fund’s activities, and provide support to address barriers to education post-emergency.
  3. Sign Up for an Innovation Team: GBC-Education will work with the Fund to pinpoint specific challenges and form targeted, short-term business task teams to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in the identification of specific, relevant, and transformative solutions.
  4. Join the Corporate CEO Challenge: Business leaders can provide thought, political, and community leadership to jumpstart and accelerate progress. We ask CEOs engaging with the Education Cannot Wait Fund to challenge their corporate peers to join them and match their efforts.

Investing in education can serve to provide stability in both the short- and long-term and can link young people to employment, spurring economic growth and helping to develop more productive citizens. It can also enable business to proactively strengthen their longer-term operations; improve brand visibility, reputation, and customer loyalty; strengthen trust amongst customers, political leaders and communities; manage operational risks; and develop goodwill with local communities, thereby sustaining investments.

Donor governments stepped up at the Fund’s launch at the World Humanitarian Summit in May, committing $90 million, but there is more to be accomplished and business can play a critical role. GBC-Education will continue to lead private sector in this role, building off of the integral part we played in the Fund’s development, having led two global consultations with the business community, and holding the only private sector seat on the Technical Strategy Group charged with its establishment. Now is the time for business to act. Will you join us?

To learn more about the Fund and how you can contribute, email [email protected].