Networked Impact takes the Global Education crisis. What does that mean?
The global education crisis has been going on for decades. Hundreds of millions of children are out of school all over the world. Lack of access to resources or living in conflict areas are two of the overarching reasons. Many organizations have been working on the ground in every corner of the world to get children an equitable, quality education. So why haven’t we achieved that goal yet?
While there are many brilliant, committed folx working in their communities, organizations have a tendency to work in silos. This does not give much room for collaboration thereby hindering their impact. Unfortunately, the way that organizations are structured does not cultivate collaboration. In fact, it often cultivates a culture of competition where organizations are competing for a relatively limited pool of funding.
Collective action is the most effective way to tackle the most pressing issues that society faces today. Significant activist’s work, like those by Angela Davis, always note that collective action is a crucial component for change. In order to create real sustainable change we need to create large, dynamic movements. In order to create these movements, there is a need for players with different expertise to work together. Once we cultivate a culture of collaboration with various stakeholders to create a movement, we will see change.
Sustainable Development Goal 4: to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. How do we achieve this? First, we need to center local leadership. Grassroots organizations are where we see an immeasurable amount of folx who are working tirelessly in their own communities to get children quality education. Local leaders have strong relationships with folx in their communities and have a deep understanding of the issues their communities face. By centering local leadership, external organizations can support by working with these leaders to develop tailored solutions for individual communities. Second, we need to recognize how many organizations do work to achieve equitable education and what their roles are. By taking an audit of all of the organizations that exist, we can see where the gaps are and how these organizations can work together to fill each other’s gaps. Third, we need to assess what resources are necessary to achieve this goal. The United Nations does a great job of assessing the monetary need necessary to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4.
260by26 is an organization I co-founded with friends three years ago. Before founding yet another nonprofit, we did this same analysis, and realized that we needed to do our part in creating a more collaborative, and connected world within the global education space. We call this approach, networked impact. That translates to working with grassroots organizations by supporting them with resources, connecting them with partners, and advocating for their work. By connecting with different partner organizations, we have learned that there are so many organizations that could work together to fill each other’s gaps in order to achieve their goals. We have also learned how crucial it is to advocate for more funding for global education from governments and development/multilateral banks. Luckily, in the spirit of networked impact, there are organizations, like Global Citizen, that do just that. Global Citizen combines unexpected networks, like pop stars and government officials, to get us closer to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Our hope is that by cultivating a culture of collaboration and advocating for the dire need to educate children all over the world, we can piece together an unstoppably sweeping movement.
Sahar is a first-generation Pakistani-American born and raised in New York. She is Co-Founder of 260by26, a global education organization working to support and connect grassroots organizations addressing education inequities around the world. She currently works in tech, exploring the importance of cross-sector collaboration for social impact.