Technology’s most profound impact on underserved populations can be its ability to improve education, but simply “having” technology is not enough. A computer, for instance, can never replace a good teacher. And internet access and computer labs alone cannot improve instruction. But when technology is well integrated into the classroom and coupled with teacher training, it can enable essential improvements in teaching and learning.


Already an East African economic force, Nairobi, Kenya is on a mission. The city of more than three million residents aspires to become one of the world’s leading urban areas, but to do that, it’ll have to get a handle on critical operational issues – including transportation. Nairobi has some of the world’s worst traffic congestion – a problem that costs Kenya’s capital approximately $500,000 per day in lost productivity and excess fuel consumption.


Corporate responsibility has its beginnings in philanthropy, which in America has a long history. It began in earnest with individuals of great wealth, such as Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie. They amassed outsized fortunes through their business activities and then used that wealth to create foundations to distribute large amounts of cash directed at specific issues they were interested in. Carnegie’s activities in support of public libraries are an example. The philanthropy of these individuals, which has survived for more than a century, is now complemented by Bill Gates and other individuals of great wealth. Foundations funded by great personal wealth can be transformative by providing needed support to worthy causes. But the tradition of amassing personal wealth and then distributing it through foundations seldom has involved incorporating a culture of citizenship and service into business practices.

In this interview with Forbes, I discuss the long history of IBM’s public engagement, our philosophy for bringing about global social change, our key initiatives and priorities, how we measure success, collaborating across sectors, challenges to progress and much more.
    Hippocampus Learning Centres (HLC) aims to address the growing demand for quality education in India by providing a specialized curriculum that will better prepare children for advanced education and employment opportunities. HLC recruits, trains, and manages a network of teachers in rented village centers, and charges an affordable monthly fee for quality educational services based on international best practices.
The Challenge
  • In a growing economy such as India there is a severe need for primary education that will prepare students for academic achievement and success in the job market, but the education system has struggled to meet the needs of low-income individuals. While pre- and primary enrolment rates are now greater than 95%, dropout rates are greater than 60% for grades 1-10.
  • Those that go to school receive low-quality instruction that often focuses more on rote memorization than on real learning. The challenge is greatest in rural India; national surveys show that more than half of rural 5th standard students cannot read a 2nd standard level text and only 28% can do a basic division problem.
The Innovation
  • HLC addresses huge gaps in the local education system by providing pre-school and after-school primary coaching programs to children aged 3-12 in rural Karnataka. HLC also generates local employment by recruiting and training local women to teach their curriculum.
  • In areas where low-income families typically spend 10-20% of their income on education, HLC charges a low rate of Rs 100-250 ($2-5) per month, making their education services accessible to low-income families.
  • HLC is pioneering a new model for improving learning outcomes by developing a low-cost system to deliver an supplementary education curriculum that focuses on a targeted set of learning outcomes.
The Impact
  • HLC’s pilot in 39 villages has enrolled 700 students and employed 50 teachers across two districts in rural Karnataka, demonstrating potential to scale the model significantly.
  • With Acumen and Lok Capital’s co-investment, the company plans to expand to 100 villages with 300 teachers serving over 7,000 students in the next academic year.

We all want to help. Over the past fifty years $1 trillion of development aid has flowed from Western governments to Africa, with rock stars and actors campaigning for more. But this has not helped Africa. It has ruined it.

Dead Aid shows us another way. Using hard evidence to illustrate her case, Moyo shows how, with access to capital and with the right policies, even the poorest nations can turn themselves around. First we must destroy the myth that aid works - and make charity history.


Leadership programmes are facilitating social enterprise projects that could be a viable alternative to aid


Finding leaders for purpose-driven business
At On Purpose, we believe there is a better way of doing business that can help solve many of society’s most intractable problems. We find and work with the best professionals to develop the next generation of social enterprise leaders who have the commitment to tackle these problems by harnessing the power of business for social and environmental good.