January 20, 2021

Joyce Malombe: Why we need more businesses and foundations to support education

Joyce Malombe says education is a lifeline for all children, particularly those who are vulnerable

The Global Business Coalition for Education new Executive Board member also talks about her childhood challenges and the role learning has played in her life.

Growing up in a rural Kenyan village, Joyce Malombe overcame disabilities to attend school and university. She became a renowned education expert and university professor in her home country and the United States, as well as working for the World Bank, the Ford Foundation and ELMA Philanthropies.

Now Joyce has joined the Executive Board of the Global Business Coalition for Education (GBC-Education), an initiative of Theirworld. In a video interview, she talks about the challenges in her childhood, the role of education in her life and why she wants more businesses and foundations to support learning.

"Education totally changed my life," said Joyce, who is Interim Program Director at the Wellspring Philanthropic Fund. "Education has opened a lot of doors for me and I have worked in education most of my life because I believe this is a lifeline for all children and especially vulnerable children."

On the role of businesses in education, she said: "Because education faces complex problems, we need different actors in the field. Businesses can bring their expertise, add value and propel something to the next level."

How has education impacted your life?

What role can companies and foundations play to support education?

What area of GBC-Education's work are you most passionate about?

“We’re thrilled to have Joyce join our executive leadership team," said Justin van Fleet, Executive Director of the Global Business Coalition for Education and President of Theirworld. "Her passion for building partnerships to advance diversity and inclusion coupled with expertise in education and philanthropy will help us harness the business community to end the global education crisis.” 

Theirworld's online resource The Key - which helps campaigners advocate powerfully for education - has a section on Education and the Business Case. It includes the major challenges and talking points, as well as useful facts and opinions to make the case for the private sector to invest in learning.

Education is key to the future success of business across the world. It provides the skills required for a talented workforce, fuels innovation, expands business opportunities, boosts wages, promotes economic growth and creates more affluent consumers.

If current trends continue, by 2030 fewer than 10% of young people in low-income countries will be on track to gain basic secondary level skills. The costs of this education crisis – unemployment, poverty, inequality and instability – could undermine the very fabric of our economies and societies.

But more businesses are playing an active role in education. In a study of 250 companies, 28% of total corporate philanthropic giving went to education programmes, making it the number one cause that businesses supported. Visit the Global Business Coalition for Education to find out more.

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