Switch off your TV and go read a book

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Alexis Sampson, Kathrin Frauscher and Michael Jarvis report on the IBF:

"Switch off your TV and go read a book" this was the simple message displayed on screen for 15 minutes each afternoon as part of an MTV Brazil social awareness campaign. It was also the closing clip of a montage of social messages played for IBF participants. In explaining his motivation in running such campaigns, MTV Brazil's CEO, Andre Mantovani, emphasized the crucial educational role that companies have, particularly in the media sector. He called for more business leaders to be brave enough to support social actions in spite of profit pressures and occasional employee skepticism.

Subhi Quraishi, CEO of ZMQ Software Systems, certainly heeds that call. He explained how ZMQ promotes HIV/AIDS awareness through games for mobile phones. Following success in India with 9.8 million phone downloads, they are linking to partners in Africa to export the model there. The resounding message: education is key to achieving the MDGs and sustainable development, whether for consumers, shareholders, employees, and young people.

Many participating business leaders, particularly from Africa, emphasized that education systems do not properly prepare students to become entrepreneurs and contribute to reaching the MDGs and income generation in their countries. They called for more mid-level skills training in sectors such as agriculture and IT.

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