Giving Compass’ Take:
• Craig Kielburger argues that investing in human capital is the key to successfully building sustainable economies.
• How can funders support efforts to develop human capital? How does human capital relate to other issue areas you work in?
• Learn about the relationship between human capital and WASH funding.
In 2017, our WE College opened its doors with programs designed to train graduates for jobs in demand in the local market. The students — many the first in their families to graduate from high school — represent truly sustainable impact. Economic development is impossible without human development.
Sustainability, long a favorite buzzword in development circles, is usually thought of in tandem with financial viability, long-term endowments or physical assets. It needs to be more than that. The World Bank launched the Human Capital Project in 2017, betting big on people to drive the next generation of growth. Infrastructure is only scalable if people are capable of running it.
That is how the development sector can match the need across the Global South. No single charity or development organization can build enough schools, dig enough boreholes or train enough doctors. But we can build capacity for the people we are there to serve, empowering them to take the reins.
We have begun to think of our education program as a pipeline for students, from preschool to their first job. That’s why our organization currently operates schools of nursing, agriculture, mechanics and tourism — the first programs identified by locals and market research as the most viable, impactful careers. Future plans for schools of civil engineering, clinical medicine, community health, education and more are in the works. These programs, designed with local needs assessments, help combat brain drain, empowering those who want to stay with an education that opens doors to good jobs in their communities.
I believe this is the new model of scalable development the World Bank is calling for, shifting the focus from physical capital — like roads, bridges and airports — to investments in health and education. In April, the World Bank backed up the idea with resources: $15 billion in new financing as part of the Africa Human Capital Plan. The plan outlines key areas of investment including initiatives designed to prevent early marriage and pregnancy, and expand access to education in rural communities.
Read the full article about investing in human capital by Craig Kielburger at Forbes.
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