REACT Platform Launched to Mobilize Corporate Support for Education in Emergencies
Photo © Mohamad Al-Arief / World Bank
Please find below our press release for the launch of the REACT platform:
Rapid Education Action platform launched to help companies deliver schooling to children in wars and disasters
Today sees the launch of an innovative new digital platform that aims to get millions of displaced and marginalised children back into education.
The Global Business Coalition for Education’s REACT initiative is a ‘digital meet up’ for corporate donors committed to supporting education for some of the 75 million children and young people whose education has been disrupted or stopped by war and humanitarian disasters.
REACT emerged out of GBC-Education’s commitment to mobilize in-kind and financial resources for Education Cannot Wait (ECW) – a fund to support education in emergencies that was launched at the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey. Together they have identified specific challenges where business can play a key role in delivering quality education for children affected by conflict and natural disasters. To date over 55 leading brands have pledged their support.
Yasmine Sherif, Director, Education Cannot Wait said: “Supporting education is the most powerful investment one can make, as this is an investment in human capital, an investment in humanity. The REACT platform enables successful businesses and entrepreneurs to utilize their wealth and creativity to contribute to positive changes for children throughout the world.”
The Rapid Education Action (REACT) platform has been created as a pro bono project by LexisNexis Risk Solutions and its parent company RELX Group. REACT is set to revolutionise corporate social responsibility by allowing companies to pledge targeted resources to specific education projects at the click of a button.
Emili Budell-Rhodes, Corporate Responsibility Community Manager at RELX Group, said: “The core focus of our global community programme is education for disadvantaged young people that advances one or more of our unique contributions as a business.
“We are a proud member of GBC-Education, and building the REACT database has been a wonderful opportunity for our division LexisNexis Risk Solutions’ expertise, skills and tech capacity to make a long-term sustainable impact in granting access to education to some of the world’s most vulnerable children and young people.”
GBC-Education Executive Chair Sarah Brown said: “The private sector wants to support children’s education in emergencies with their skills and expertise, but do not know how to be most effective. Together we have created an online system that matches leading corporations with education needs on the ground in real time. We are using tech solutions to tackle the global education crisis.”
Through REACT, HP is partnering with ECW to pilot its School Cloud initiative––a hybrid cloud appliance that allows schools without internet access to provide students with access to millions of e-textbooks and thousands of lessons on reading, science, mathematics and more––as part of HP’s goal of improving learning outcomes for 100 million people by 2025.
HP’s Chief Sustainability and Social Impact officer, Nate Hurst said: “As a company, HP is committed to enabling better learning outcomes for millions of people worldwide. Education is one of the most powerful levers to expand social and economic opportunity.
“But, for many, technology and connectivity gaps, inadequate support for teachers, and the effects of natural disasters or other disruptions present significant barriers. This is why we are so inspired by GBC-Education’s REACT platform – a collaborative initiative committed to providing education in emergencies worldwide, so that children can continue to learn and grow, no matter their circumstances.”
Scott Mitchell, President of Sumitomo Chemical America Inc. – another REACT member company – said: “We believe that every child deserves to have the opportunity for and access to a quality education. REACT is an integrated platform that allows the private sector to actively and effectively get involved in and partner with others to support education in emergency situations. We hope that this tool can be widely used among like-minded partners bringing greater and collaborative impact so that every child has the opportunity to flourish.”
Tom Fletcher, an adviser to GBC-Education, said: “Education is the single most effective way for children in conflict zones to build a secure future. This database offers opportunity to some of the world’s most vulnerable. In the Middle East alone, there are more than 500,000 Syrian refugee children out of school. REACT’s pilot projects are already providing young Syrian and Iraqi refugees with marketable skills. We hope many more companies will come forward to support this effort with time, ideas and energy.”
In the pilot phase of the initiative, REACT has already brought together a number of business connections. US-based language company, NaTakallam, with an NGO who teach coding skills to young Syrians and Iraqis. NaTakallam agreed to hire the refugees participating in the training programme and offered them the opportunity to train as Arabic instructors. The students have gone on to earn a living as coders in the technology industry and Arabic language instructors and the next cohort of refugee instructors taking the RE:Coded certification courses.
REACT brokered a partnership between software company CEREGO, with the Thaki charity to deliver education directly to marginalised children in Lebanon. Rudayna Abdo, Founder of Thaki said “Providing digital literacy training to a dispersed migrant community comes with its many challenges. We are, however, determined to find a successful, scalable, affordable, self-paced solution that can be replicated across wide geographies. We were introduced to Cerego through the GBC-Education’s REACT initiative and are very excited to pilot a solution using Cerego’s innovative platform.”
Andrew Smith Lewis, CEREGO’s CEO, said: “I am absolutely passionate about providing the best possible digital learning solutions for students in need across the world. Our personalized learning delivers the right content, in the right format, to each individual user to help them understand and retain knowledge. As opposed to a ‘one size fits all’ approach to education. Cloud technology affords the opportunity to deliver to anyone, anywhere in the world.”
Tom Fletcher continued: “We must get more children and young people in school. REACT is an innovative way to deliver real and targeted aid. It is a digital space where the most successful corporates can use their expertise to support education projects across the globe.”
The Global Business Coalition for Education is a coalition of 140 companies that bring the business community together to accelerate progress in delivering quality education for all of the world’s children and youth. For companies, investing in education promotes economic growth, leads to more stable societies, fosters healthy communities and makes it easier to do business. Education spurs innovation and increases the skills of employees, the income potential of consumers and the prosperity of communities where business operates
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