by John Trybus, Managing Director

It’s exciting to see the many forms corporate social responsibility (CSR) is taking these days. From cause marketing to employee volunteer programs that connect talent with worthy causes and many things in between, CSR is getting more creative and impactful.

The Discovery Channel’s Global Education Partnership is one such creative use of a corporation’s assets – both monetarily and through skills.

This week’s Social Strategist features Aric Noboa, the Partnership’s president, to learn more about the organization and what other corporations can learn from its model.

“We are a unique entity…that is determined on using the power of media to transform education and improve lives in the developing work,” Aric explains of the Discovery Global Education Partnership. “We’re taking the power of the Discovery brand, its assets and putting them to a sustainable and charitable use in under resourced communities around the world.”

At its simplest form the Global Education Partnership uses media to improve education, Aric adds, and the impact has been impressive. The organization has reached more than 16 countries, over 18,000 teachers, over 1 million students and more than 3.5 million community members.

Aric’s personal career journey is just as exciting as the work of the organization he now leads. After starting his career in government working on the legislative staff for a member of the U.S. Congress, Aric and his wife decided to move to Africa and ended up working on a hospital ship that traveled throughout West Africa. It was there that the power of education and information came to life for them.

“When we thought about how we could combine information with film and television in international development and spread these messages with consistency, high quality and broadly, that was a game changing moment for us in our careers,” Aric explains.

In addition to its impressive impact, what’s so unique about the Global Education Partnership is just what its name implies – a focus on bringing together partners to create social impact. Here’s a preview of the ways in which the organization approaches partnerships that Aric and I discuss in our interview:

  • Understand a partner organization’s values by establishing human connections. “First and foremost, [a successful partnership] is a question of values,” Aric says. “Make sure your values aligned with those prospective partners – you can glean that in part by what they’ve done in the past, but there’s always new leadership, so [personally] connecting with them and really understanding what they value, what they want to see and what success looks like them will ensure that right from the start you’re on the path to success.”
  • Good partnerships are ones that are transparent. Remember that transparency is a huge part of successful partnerships. Here’s Aric’s recommendation: “Being very transparent about not just the opportunities but about what the challenges are and being realistic about what’s doable in a certain context and what’s not is key.” Working collaboratively and “making sure your partner wants the partnership to succeed in the same way over the long term” creates success.
  • Take a long view of partnership development. Successful partnerships don’t happen overnight. “Don’t look for a quick win or getting a grant as fast as possible,” Aric advises. “Rather, use every opportunity to deepen the relationship with that partner or perspective partner over time so you’re really building something meaningful over the long term.” 

Listen to my interview with social strategist Aric Noboa to learn more about how the Discovery Channel Global Education creates partnerships around the world and uses the power of media to educate and inspire students and the communities in which they live.