Q&A with Tammy Noboa, Managing Director, Discovery Learning Alliance

TNoboa headshot - 2011We are 500 days away from the deadline to achieve MDG2: Universal Primary Education – but today, 58 million children are still not in school.
The Global Business Coalition for Education – a business-led coalition committed to global education – recently sat down with Tammy Noboa, Managing Director of the Discovery Learning Alliance, to discuss the #EducationCountdown Campaign and how business can improve access to a quality education.

Why are Discovery Communications and Discovery Learning Alliance partnering in the #EducationCountdown Campaign? What are they contributing?


Education is in Discovery’s DNA.  It is really important both to the company and to Discovery Learning Alliance to do our part to ensure that every child has the opportunity for an education.  We believe that education is a human right and the key to breaking the cycle of poverty, so we want to do everything that we can to support the UN Secretary General and the UN Special Envoy for Global Education to bring the world’s attention to the fact that 58 million children are out of school and there are millions more who are not learning.

With over 2 billion cumulative subscribers around the world, Discovery has a unique ability to reach people.  And having worked in  education in the developing world for the past 16 years, Discovery Learning Alliance understands how to use the power of media to transform education.  Discovery Learning Alliance produced a series of PSAs (public service announcements) in support of the #EducationCountdown Campaign which Discovery is airing across channels in the U.S. and internationally.  You can view one of the PSAs at AWorldatSchool.org/Discovery. We hope folks will “like” it, “share” it and join the movement.

How can the public and private sectors work together to achieve the goal of getting all children in school and learning? 

The potential to reach more children and achieve impact is greater if we collaborate and build partnerships that address the needs with innovative and sustainable solutions.  As was shown recently at the Global Partnership for Education replenishment conference, there is significant commitment from the public and private sector to work together in new and innovative ways to solve the education crisis.  I think it will be exciting to see how a lot of different players – both traditional and nontraditional – work together to test innovations, find solutions and go to scale.

Media companies like Discovery can partner in a campaign such as the #EducationCountdown by using its core assets and expertise ignite awareness and action.

As a media partner of the Campaign, how do you see local viewership empower more people to join the movement for education?

Television is a powerful way to connect people personally and emotionally to an issue.  These 58 million children are not statistics – they are real people with a real story and an important contribution to make to this world.  Watching my own children get ready to go back to school makes it even more compelling for me.  One of the 58 million children could just as easily be my child or yours, and every one of them deserves an education.  Knowing the power of media, we want to help catalyze this movement and get every child in school and learning.

How is Discovery Communications/Discovery Learning Alliance using its core business to use its core business to improve education opportunities and learning outcomes for children without access to a quality education?


Whether through digital learning opportunities that Discovery Education is bringing to half the schools in the U.S. and United Kingdom, or through the work Discovery Learning Alliance is doing in underserved areas of the world, Discovery is committed to improving education for students everywhere.

Discovery uses the power of media to transform education around the world.  Through Discovery Learning Alliance we work with many partners to provide sustainable technology, educational video programming and extensive teacher training.  So more children (and teachers!) are coming to school and learning more when they get there.

What public-private partnership are you currently working on in the global education space that is particularly exciting?


We are especially excited about the work we are doing in the girls’ education space.  Discovery, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and Discovery Learning Alliance* are partnering to overcome barriers and improve the quality of education so girls are more likely to go to school, stay in school and succeed. We bring together teacher professional development, sustainable technology, mass media, community mobilizations and girls clubs to get more girls in school and learning.

In this initiative, we are working with Ministries of Education in 1,500 schools in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria. We expect to train over 14,000 teachers, and reach over 600,000 students.  Our magazine- style talk shows, will reach 10 million people in these three countries through entertaining, inspiring and informative programming that will share the value of girls’ education.

We look forward to continuing to expand this work – through new and existing partnerships – to help achieve quality universal education.

*Discovery and DFID are co-funding this initiative and it is being implemented through the Discovery Learning Alliance.

Photo © Discovery Learning Alliance