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The Geneva Learning Foundation is a Swiss non-profit with the mission to develop, trial, and scale up new ways to lead change to tackle the challenges that threaten our societies.

We build leadership programmes for change at scale.

The Challenge

Education is failing to prepare humanity for the volatility, uncertainty and ambiguity wreaked by accelerating changes in climate, conflicts, and inequality. Existing initiatives do not address this failure. In the face of growing challenges, no organization, no industry, no government can do so alone. The promise of technology’s affordances and a new economy of effort for teaching and learning has yet to be fully realized. Attempting to do more of what has been done in the past is not the answer.

The rapid pace of change in education has so far had limited impact on established training methods. The global community allocates considerable human and financial resources to training, yet “Training” has not kept pace with the increasing cost and complexity of global challenges. Furthermore, a reductive focus on formal training is unlikely to lead to improvements in service delivery. 

There is growing recognition that (1) uneven quality and performance of personnel are major limiting factors in humanitarian response, global health, and development and that (2) new learning approaches are needed to foster community-based capacity strengthening.

Current approaches remain predominantly face-to-face, low volume, and high cost. They are often characterized by startling disparities in quality, scalability, replicability, and sustainability, making it difficult or impossible to determine their impact (if any).

Recent crises have demonstrated the need for learning innovation that can address the leadership gap to accelerate the production of local, contextualized knowledge that is connected to global networks.

Progress toward the global goals will remain elusive if the prevailing paradigm for capacity-building remains unchanged.

The opportunity

A new paradigm for how to effect change is possible with the economy of effort afforded by the digital transformation of our societies.

In a knowledge-based society, learning is a key process that can drive capacity-building, improve preparedness, response, recovery, and longer-term sustainability and resilience. The ability to learn is key to the ability to deliver on the promise of change. In a complex world, this ability to know more than what is known is key to our ability to survive, sustain, and thrive.

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 4 includes the target to ensure by 2030 that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development.

We believe that the emergence of MOOCs, new theories of learning, new collaborative leadership, and other innovations coming from higher education, technology, and corporate learning need to be harnessed and leveraged to improve both the performance of humanitarian, health, and development workers and the resilience of communities facing unprecedented economic, humanitarian, global health, and sustainable development challenges.

New technologies for learning, commitment to the localization of aid, and the goal of community-led sustainability and resilience already exist. We can rapidly (today, not in a far-off future) provide countries and communities within them with new, practical tools that empower them as full and equal partners on the road to universal health coverage and the SDGs.

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Discover our impact.

Learn how our programme partnerships across disciplines and silos are making a difference to tackle ‘wicked problems’ where the future of our societies is at stake. Note: You will first receive a request for permission to send you e-mail. You will then receive the IMPACT REVIEW.