WFP and Impact Hub Kigali launch programme to support food system innovations in Rwanda

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and Impact Hub Kigali (IHK), with the support of USAID Bureau of Humanitarian Affairs (BHA) and the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, are launching the IGNITE Food Systems Challenge in Rwanda to foster locally-driven solutions to tackle food systems challenges. The initiative will offer technical support and a total of 300,000 USD in financial support. 

The IGNITE Food Systems Challenge is a first-of-its-kind initiative to support Rwandan start-ups, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and cooperatives to scale up their solutions, contributing to the economy while addressing different gaps in the food system. The call for applications opens on 05 January 2022 and will close on 04 February 2022. 

The programme seeks innovative solutions that contribute to food security in areas such as resilience to shocks and stress, access to safe and nutritious food, improved food supply chains, the empowerment of smallholder farmers, and the advancement of food security for all. Selected ventures will have the opportunity to receive grant funding of up to US$50,000 as well as 6 months acceleration support, including connections to experts, mentors and partners, and other tailored support to address business gaps. 

The IGNITE Food Systems Challenge will be simultaneously running in Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda, and is being made possible with the support of US$2 million from USAID. The initiative comes at a time of worsening food insecurity in the region due to the compounding effects of rising conflict, climate change, natural disasters like droughts, floods, locusts, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The biggest challenge for many entrepreneurs in Eastern Africa is not only access to funding, but also technical support that furthers their concepts. Through this generous support by USAID, we are confident that we will be able to reach many bright and talented entrepreneurs in the region who might have been left behind,” says Mr Jeremie Pigé, the head of the WFP IGNITE Innovation Hub for Eastern Africa.

Piloting, implementing and scaling innovative ideas lies at the heart of WFP and Impact Hub Kigali’s work. This programme will have an impact on promoting innovation in the food systems and advancing efforts towards achieving zero hunger in the world.

“With the IGNITE Food Systems Challenge, we will provide tailored support for local entrepreneurs to scale their impact in the Rwandan food system. Ventures will undergo diagnostics at the start of the programme and will be able to co-design their own acceleration journey, indicating the support they require, from coaching to peer and expert support such as legal or accounting services, among others.” adds Mafer Betancourt, Managing Director of Impact Hub Kigali.

The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters, and the impact of climate change.

www.wfp.org

Accenture, Dubai Cares, Microsoft and UNICEF launch digital education platform

Accenture, Dubai Cares, Microsoft and UNICEF announced the launch of a global, digital learning platform for young people. Operating under the Generation Unlimited partnership, the Passport to Earning platform aims to address the global education crisis, currently exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare the next generation for decent work.

The platform will provide young people aged 15-24 across the world with free, certified education and skills training—with content spanning across digital, foundational, role-based, and technical skills. Young people using the platform will be able to use the certifications gained to support future employment and entrepreneurship opportunities made available on the platform. The Passport to Earning platform was unveiled today at the RewirEd Summit, the largest global education summit of its kind, led by Dubai Cares, in partnership with Expo 2020 Dubai and in close coordination with the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC), and delivered in partnership with global stakeholders.

“The youth of today represent the leaders of tomorrow. Preparing and equipping them for the challenges that lie ahead of us is critical to ensuring that our future is in capable hands. Passport to Earning will provide young individuals with an effective tool to strengthen and upscale their skillsets and empower their professional journeys towards greater goals. In addition, the RewirEd Summit proved to be a fitting gathering to launch this platform in line with the conversations we hosted around the summit’s first day theme: Youth, Skills and the Future of Work,” said His Excellency Dr. Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer and Vice-Chairman of Dubai Cares.

Passport to Earning is built on Microsoft’s Community Training (MCT) platform and will form an extension of UNICEF and Microsoft’s Learning Passport, a digital learning platform aimed at school-age children struggling to access mainstream education. Operational in 20 countries, the Learning Passport was recently identified by Time Magazine as one of the 100 best inventions of 2021.

“We’ve seen first-hand how technology can be used in transformative ways to reach and connect learners—even in the most challenging scenarios. Passport to Earning is a powerful tool that allows us to reach young people and provide them with digital skilling opportunities at scale. We’re thrilled to work with UNICEF, GenU, Accenture and Dubai Cares to bring this program to life,” said Kate Behncken, Vice President and Lead of Microsoft Philanthropies.

The platform will offer online and offline digitalized curricula with supplemental content curated at the national level. It will keep young people learning—both inside and outside of classrooms—with content that is not dependent on a consistent web connection. It will also build government capacity to provide sustainable skilling and employment opportunities in the digital economy.

“Young people across the world are poised to advance their societies and economies. Yet, without access to relevant, quality education and training opportunities, they are unable to truly participate in the 21st century workforce. The Passport to Earning, which builds upon proven solutions in delivering education in the most challenging of environments, will provide young people with the skills and certification they need to create a better, more sustainable world,” said Omar Abdi, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director.

According to a recent World Bank-UNESCO-UNICEF report, the current generation of students risks losing $17 trillion in lifetime earnings—around 14 per cent of today’s global GDP—as a result of COVID-19 pandemic-related school closures. However, even before the pandemic, young people were not learning the skills necessary for future work. Pre-pandemic data showed that without immediate action, by 2030 an estimated 825 million children will not acquire the basic secondary-level skills—such as transferable, digital and job-specific skills—needed to support lifelong learning and employment.

“The fourth industrial revolution is bringing with it irreversible changes for the education sector and the labor market—and we must not fail to do our part in enabling young people to prepare for what’s ahead. Passport to Earning exemplifies what partnerships between the public and private sectors, the UN and young people can achieve. It’s a new, modern, and inclusive global skilling solution that will connect millions of underserved youth worldwide with state-of-the-art curriculum, certifications, and ultimately jobs,” said Kevin Frey, Chief Executive Officer of GenU.

Rapidly advancing digital solutions have the potential to reach all young people and help them to access world-class learning. Accenture will bring expertise in digital learning and a user-centric design approach to Passport to Earning.

“The need for digital skills has never been greater, especially in those regions hardest hit by global inequalities and the impacts of COVID. We are proud to partner with UNICEF, Microsoft and Dubai Cares on Passport to Earning to support many thousands of young people get a job or start a business. Working with our global partners, Accenture’s Skills to Succeed initiative has equipped over 4.5 million people with the skills to make substantive improvements to their lives,” said Jill Huntley, Managing Director for Corporate Citizenship at Accenture.

www.unicef.org

Ericsson pledges to support one million young people by 2025 with access to digital learning and skills

Ericsson announces a major new commitment to empower one million children and young people by 2025 through access to digital learning, tools, content and development programs.

This commitment forms part of the World Economic Forum-aligned EDISON Alliance 1 Billion Lives Challenge – a global movement of forty-five champions from the public and private sectors.

The members, including Ericsson, are committed to prioritizing digital inclusion as foundational to the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) so that every person can fully participate in the digital economy and society.

The ‘1 Billion Lives Challenge’ brings together digital inclusion commitments from governments, companies and other organizations globally.

Ericsson’s new commitment will be unveiled today by company President and CEO, Börje Ekholm, in a virtual address to the Global Forum for Children and Youth. Ekholm will explain the criticality of the work to Ericsson in realizing its mission: to enable a world where limitless connectivity improves lives, redefines business and pioneers a sustainable future – a world where limitless connectivity means limitless possibility.

Building on a legacy of work in digital inclusion

Today’s commitment will be realized through Ericsson’s leading Connect To Learn initiative which has positively impacted more than 200,000 children and young people in more than 25 countries around the world since its foundation in 2010.

The initiative is enabling access to quality education for underserved and unconnected communities and establishing an inclusive digital platform with a focus on empowering the next generation with digital skills, essential for their socio-economic development. It also aims to improve gender equality by empowering women and girls through ICT.

Ericsson President and CEO, Börje Ekholm, says: “At the heart of Ericsson’s purpose is the belief that connectivity creates possibilities for all people. We believe it is a responsibility of government and business to work together to build a more equitable future for children and young people – digital connection is a critical enabler of this, ensuring that every young person has access to a quality internet connection and can acquire the necessary skills to thrive in a digital economy.”

He adds: “This is why we are making this pledge to help narrow the digital divide and create a more equitable society. This is the latest milestone for Ericsson’s Connect To Learn program, which has been working for over 10 years to advance digital inclusion. However, there is still much more to be done. We call on partners, customers, governments and NGOs to join us in pledging the resources needed to make a real, lasting difference.”

A long-term partnership with the EDISON Alliance

Ericsson’s commitment to the World Economic Forum’s EDISON Alliance 1 Billion lives challenge comes in addition to its partnership with UNICEF, in support of the Giga Initiative. The Giga Initiative is a partner of the EDISON alliance and aims to connect every school to the internet by 2030 and every young person to information, opportunity, and choice.

www.ericsson.com

MTN appoints Hermann Tischendorf Chief Technology & Information Officer for Digital and Fintech

MTN Group has announced the appointment of Hermann Tischendorf as Chief Technology & Information Officer for Digital and Fintech.

“We are delighted to have a seasoned executive of Hermann’s calibre joining our growing DigiFin team,” says MTN Group Chief Digital and Fintech Officer Serigne Dioum. “He brings the skills and experience that will accelerate innovative digital and fintech advancements in line with our strategic intent of leading digital solutions for Africa progress.”

Hermann joins from 4Finance Group, where he was Chief Technology Officer. He has 30 years of experience in the financial services sector, where he has occupied numerous senior roles. Hermann brings a solid track record of success in directing organisational expansion, digital product development, operations management, IT budget allocation, as well as mergers and acquisitions.

MTN says Hermann is expected to offer transformation and disruption to mobile payment platform and help improve customer engagement, experience, acquisition and loyalty. He will also be responsible for developing new products and services, building the nascent ecosystem and scaling up existing revenue streams.

Hermann holds a Master of Business Administration and a Diploma with Honours from Karl-Franzens University of Graz, Austria and studied Finance & Banking at the Anderson School of Management, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). His appointment took effect on 1 December 2021.

www.mtn.com

Fellowship opportunity empowers thousands of African students to start/continue scalable businesses

The Mastercard Foundation and the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC) have announced a partnership offering free virtual entrepreneurship training, and an opportunity to receive startup funding to more than 1,000 students through the Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship on Entrepreneurship for African Students at Queen’s University.

The program launched in September 2020. It provides students and recent graduates from African universities within the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program with the opportunity to apply to a free virtual entrepreneurship training program delivered by Queen’s University’s DDQIC Program. Through this program, award-winning faculty and some of the best innovators, policymakers, and business strategists collaborate to support students to become Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellows. During the 2020-2021 Academic year, 1,252 students participated, and more than 60 percent of the cohort were women, recognizing the additional barriers women face when starting a business or seeking employment in Africa.

“The launch of the Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship on Entrepreneurship for African Students last year was a proud moment,” said Jim Leech. “Seeing bright African students take advantage of this entrepreneurial training to initiate, strengthen, and bring their business goals to life is exciting and augurs well for Africa’s future. I look forward to seeing the new waves of talent come in with this year’s applicants.”

Prospective fellows receive access to a curated list of online entrepreneurship courses developed at DDQIC and work through the Disciplined Entrepreneurship Framework developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The fellowship is designed to address unemployment among post-secondary graduates by equipping thousands of students and recent graduates with sufficient entrepreneurial training to initiate and continue to grow their businesses.

Titose Chembezi of the University of Cape Town was a $5,000 winner at the DDQIC Summer Pitch Competition and said the pitch experience provided her with a boost of confidence. “It was the first time my team and I got to compete with ventures from Canada and won a prize. It taught me to move past the stigma that startups from the African continent may not be competent enough compared to the West and it also gave me the courage to see the world as my oasis.”

The Mastercard Foundation created these fellowships through an endowed donation to Queen’s University in honour of Jim Leech, former Chair of the Board of Directors of the Mastercard Foundation and Chancellor Emeritus of Queen’s University (14th Chancellor). In 2014, Mr. Leech was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada for his contributions as an innovator in pension management, for his writings about retirement funding, and for his community involvement.

The applications for the upcoming academic year close on December 10, 2021. Learn more about the Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship and complete your application today.

For application inquiries, please contact:

Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre
Megan Sieroka
Program Coordinator at the Jim Leech Mastercard Foundation Fellowship on Entrepreneurship for African Students: jimleechfellowship@queensu.ca

www.mastercardfdn.org

Mastercard Foundation and Light For The World Launch online platform for persons with disabilities

Light for the World Uganda, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, launched an online platform, Cap-Able, which will enable higher education institutions, primarily Scholars Program Partner Universities, to become more disability inclusive.

Cap-Able is a digital toolkit designed to equip administrators, lecturers, and management with the information, knowledge, and tools to create more inclusive learning institutions. The toolkit offers best practices for higher education institutions to improve enrollment and learning practices, create inclusive learning environments, and help young people effectively transition to the world of work. It is a one-stop-shop for educational material on disability inclusion in higher education.

“We need to come together and explore every avenue to facilitate access to education for people with disabilities,” said Musa Mwambu, a Disability Inclusion Advisor at Light for the World Uganda. “Through strong partnerships like the one between Light for the World and the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, we can swiftly deploy innovative, scalable solutions for students and educators. The accessibility nature of Cap-Able is a powerful reminder of what we can achieve together as we bridge the education gap for people with disabilities.”

Cap-Able will provide key resources to Scholars Program partners, educators, and students on understanding disability and inclusion, detailed information on different types of disabilities and inclusion needs, practical guidance on disability inclusion throughout the different phases of the university experience, as well as a range of educational materials, quizzes, and games. The platform also provides an opportunity for users to share their experiences and other best practices on disability inclusion.

Creating prosperity across the continent requires leaders of all backgrounds and experiences who will work to ensure that emerging economic and social benefits are available to all. Equity and inclusion are central to the realization of the Mastercard Foundation’s vision and mission. It is reflected in the Foundation’s strategy, Young Africa Works, which has set out to enable 30 million youth, particularly women, to access dignified and fulfilling work by 2030.

“The Scholars Program seeks to inspire an inclusive approach in which all young people, no matter their starting point in life, have an equal opportunity to succeed,” said Andre Okunzuwa, Program Partner, Mastercard Foundation. “By leveraging technology, our hope is that Cap-Able will contribute to ensuring equitable access for all young people, including those underrepresented in higher education by supporting institutions to access the knowledge needed to put disability inclusion into action.”

The Cap-Able website has been designed to ensure a user-friendly experience with robust navigation and functionality features. Created with the user experience in mind, the website includes an accessibility menu that will ensure users are able to customize anything and control everything based on their unique accessibility needs — preferred button types, language and locales, size, position, colour, and more.

Cap-Able, while designed to support partners of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, can also be useful to other institutions, staff, and students who are interested in taking on a more active role in creating an enabling environment for people with disabilities. 

www.mastercardfdn.org

UNICEF and Liquid Intelligent Technologies launch a partnership to help Giga bridge the digital divide in Africa

UNICEF and Liquid Intelligent Technologies, a business of Cassava Technologies, a pan-African technology group, announced a partnership in support of Giga’s work to connect every school to the Internet and every young person to information, opportunity, and choice.

Liquid will share anonymized data to support Giga’s work to map the location and connectivity status of schools in Africa. Liquid will also share information with Giga about schools’ proximity to telecoms infrastructure and will help develop a connectivity monitoring platform. The resulting information will provide a basis for better-targeted investment to connect schools, including in hard-to-reach areas.

The partnership will initially focus on Kenya but will aim to incorporate other Liquid markets over time, including South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Rwanda.

“This partnership with Liquid will allow our Giga team to gain a deeper understanding of the connectivity landscape in Kenya and across Africa,” said Thomas Davin, Director, Office of Innovation at UNICEF. “That knowledge will help UNICEF to get more schools online, giving children access to the opportunities they need to flourish.”

Ben Roberts, Group Chief Technology and Innovation Officer at Liquid Intelligent Technologies, said, “The Giga Initiative from UNICEF and ITU echoes Liquid’s sentiment of creating a digitally resilient economy in Kenya and Africa at large. There is no better place to start than our schools that shape the minds of our children, thereby securing our future. Through our expertise in the digital and telecom landscape, we will support UNICEF in its endeavour to map school connectivity data across Kenya by providing real-time figures to measure impact. This initiative also reiterates the vision of our parent company – Cassava Technologies, of creating a digitally connected continent that leaves no African behind.”

Around half of the world’s population still has no meaningful access to the Internet. UNICEF and Liquid are committed to addressing this digital divide, which has widened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Giga has already mapped over 1 million schools and their connectivity around the world and has connected over 3,000 schools.

Liquid has connected 4,000 schools to internet across Africa. The company aspires to continue empowering schools with digital technology and has mapped 150,000 schools through the continent. 

Giga is part of UNICEF’s broader Reimagine Education initiative, the UN Secretary General’s Common Agenda and Roadmap for Digital Cooperation, and ITU’s Partner2 Connect Coalition. It has the potential to transform efforts to narrow the digital divide, providing a connectivity layer on which digital empowerment initiatives can build.

www.liquid.tech

Washington University joins major NIH effort to advance health data science in Africa

Washington University in St. Louis is joining a major international effort to advance data science, catalyze innovation and spur health discoveries across Africa. The program is supported by the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Common Fund, which will invest nearly $75 million over five years to fund the Harnessing Data Science for Health Discovery and Innovation in Africa (DS-I Africa) program. 

Researchers at the School of Medicine are receiving one of 19 grant awards that will support data science research and training activities in Africa. The researchers will focus their efforts on developing new training programs in health data science in Rwanda. Faculty from the Brown School and the McKelvey School of Engineering also are involved in the initiative.

Led by co-principal investigators Victor Davila-Roman, MD, director of the Global Health Center at Washington University’s Institute for Public Health; and Philip R.O. Payne, PhD, director of Washington University’s Institute for Informatics, the investigators will collaborate with colleagues at the University of Rwanda and the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, both in Kigali, Rwanda.

The project aims to develop a program that nurtures the development of trainees in research careers with a focus on urgent health-care issues in Rwanda, including the burden of infectious diseases, such as HIV, malaria and COVID-19, as well as chronic health conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. Applying the techniques of big data science to these issues will enable researchers to identify patterns in diseases and their prevalence in large populations and, based on these, help scientists develop new hypotheses to test with the goal of improving public health.

“Data science holds great potential for understanding the burden of disease across Africa,” said Davila-Roman, also a professor of medicine, of anesthesiology and of radiology. “But to make strides in tackling these diseases, we need highly trained data scientists in Africa, to gather and analyze large sets of health data across populations. Such analyses can then be used to guide interventions. We look forward to working with our colleagues in Rwanda and other sites within the DS-I Africa initiative to develop and implement exceptional training programs for students in Rwanda so they can learn these skills and gain valuable experience.”

The Global Health Center is joining with Washington University’s Institute for Informatics to develop the training programs and curricula that will go into the project.

“The major public health problems that we’re trying to tackle are global in nature — the COVID-19 pandemic alone demonstrates that these issues don’t care about geographic boundaries,” said Payne, also the Janet and Bernard Becker Professor, associate dean for health information and data science, and chief data scientist for the School of Medicine. “In order to tackle these huge problems, we have to be able to collect and analyze immense amounts of data. The NIH is making a substantial investment in creating a network of academic institutions and other groups in Africa and the U.S. that will launch important research and training programs so we can better organize and understand the health data that’s being generated. In addition, the program will help develop a workforce in Rwanda and across many other African countries that can carry this work forward.”

The training programs in Rwanda will build skills in health data science, and trainees in Rwanda will be able to choose among master’s and doctoral degree programs as well as postdoctoral training and faculty development. In-person and remote training options will include opportunities to build skills in applied mathematics, biostatistics, epidemiology, clinical informatics, analytics, computational biology, biomedical imaging, machine intelligence, computer science and engineering.

Mentoring and internship opportunities will help trainees harness their skills to tackle real world problems. They could, for example, apply data science concepts to medical and public health areas such as social determinants of health, climate change, food systems, infectious diseases, noncommunicable diseases, health surveillance, injuries, pediatrics and parasitology.

The NIH program in Africa has four components: a coordinating center at the University of Cape Town in South Africa; seven training centers, including the one led by Washington University; seven research hubs; and four centers focused on understanding the ethical, legal and social implications of data science research.

“This initiative has generated tremendous enthusiasm in all sectors of Africa’s biomedical research community,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, in the NIH announcement. “Big data and artificial intelligence have the potential to transform the conduct of research across the continent, while investing in research training will help to support Africa’s future data science leaders and ensure sustainable progress in this promising field.”

In addition to the Common Fund (CF), the awards are being supported by the Fogarty International Center (FIC), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the National Human Genome Research Institute, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the NIH Office of Data Science Strategy. The initiative is being led by the CF, FIC, NIBIB, NIMH and NLM.

www.medicine.wustl.edu

Government of Rwanda and Google collaborate to accelerate digital transformation

The Government of Rwanda, led by the Ministry of ICT and Innovation, has partnered with Google to accelerate the country’s digital transformation. This initiative is in line with Rwanda’s ambition to drive inclusive economic development leveraging technology.

Rwanda’s vibrant economy is an ideal launch pad for future innovation in Africa, with focus in four key areas: affordable and universal access to connectivity; adoption of digital platforms; Digital Skilling for All; and fostering a pan-African innovation ecosystem. The Rwanda-Google collaboration is one of several initiatives to advance the above key areas. It will also include support for a progressive policy framework and contribute to an open digital payment ecosystem through the Mojaloop platform.

Initially, the partnership aims to:

  • Support a Training of Trainers (ToT) pilot for Rwanda’s Digital Ambassadors, a national program to increase digital literacy among Rwanda citizens by recruiting digitally-savvy youth to deliver digital literacy training
  • Upskill 500 developers through Google’s developer training and community support programs
  • Pilot a fintech incubation program for early stage fintech companies, starting with 15 companies in collaboration with Kigali Innovation City, and delivered by a Google for Startups partner
  • Accelerate e-commerce growth by supporting 3,000 Small and Medium Businesses to go online as well as equipping 1,000 iWorkers
  • Bring Rwanda to the world through Google Street View by enhancing digital maps of key urban centres
  • Digitise Rwanda’s cultural assets and provide access to heritage through digital storytelling in collaboration with the National Museums of Rwanda

“This collaboration with the Government of Rwanda is an important milestone for us coming soon after our CEO’s commitment to the continent to support Africa’s digital transformation. We will help build a Digital Rwanda by up-skilling the youth, digitally accelerating small businesses, supporting start-ups and developers, improved maps and navigation, digitising Rwanda’s cultural heritage as well as supporting a progressive policy framework. We look forward to deepening our collaboration with the Government of Rwanda,” Agnes Gathaiya, Country Director, Eastern Africa.

“We are pleased to launch this partnership with Google to complement existing efforts to drive digital inclusion, skilling and support the growth of the innovation ecosystem in Rwanda. Growing the digital economy is critical and will continue to drive Rwanda’s economic transformation in line with the country’s vision to become a knowledge-driven economy,” Paula Ingabire, Rwanda’s Minister of ICT and Innovation.

Google will continue to work with the Ministry of ICT and Innovation to increase its efforts to support Rwanda’s digital transformation.

www.minict.gov.rw

African Development Bank’s Coding for Employment program set to expand digital skills among rural youth

The African Development Bank’s (AfDB.org) Coding for Employment (https://bit.ly/3kMNqEF) program will train over 500 digital ambassadors to lead a peer-to-peer training model set to expand digital skills to more African youth, especially in rural communities with limited internet connectivity.

Coding for Employment and its technical partners, Microsoft Philanthropies, will offer the digital ambassadors an intensive three-month program featuring in-demand skills, such as web design and digital marketing, as well as soft skills such as critical thinking, project management and communication.

At the end of the coursework, the Bank and Microsoft Philanthropies will provide graduates with information and communication technology toolkits and resources so they can offer the same training within their local communities.

Coding for Employment online platforms and in-person classes offer these technical courses for free. The program recently hit a 130,000-enrollment milestone among young people across Africa on its eLearning and Digital Nigeria platforms.

“It is very important that we build upon the success of the Coding for Employment program to take digital literacy to the grassroots. The community-based model will ensure that the youth in rural areas are digitally empowered, which further affirms the Bank’s commitment to raising the next generation of digitally enabled youth and women on the continent,” said Martha Phiri, Director of the Bank’s Human Capital, Youth and Skills Development Department.

The digital ambassadors initiative is part of the Bank’s strategy to center its technology and digital investments around the youth and enable them to bring about economic and social transformation in the digital age. The digital ambassadors peer-to-peer model is expected to draw more youth because it offers a more personalized learning experience.

Today’s youth are our future leaders and entrepreneurs, which is why it is so critical that we empower them with the digital skills they need to contribute meaningfully

Applicants, aged between 18 and 35 years, are expected to be proficient in English or French and must be citizens of Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Nigeria, or Senegal. Coding for Employment expects to expand the digital ambassador program to other countries soon after the pilot phase.

“Today’s youth are our future leaders and entrepreneurs, which is why it is so critical that we empower them with the digital skills they need to contribute meaningfully to the global digital economy. Microsoft is honored to be partnering with the African Development Bank on its incredible Coding for Employment program,” said Ghada Khalifa, Regional Director for Microsoft Philanthropies, Middle East and Africa.

Digital ambassadors will receive stipends and have access to the digital skills training centers in Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, and Rwanda. They will also have access to a network of employers, private sector partners and freelancing platforms.

The Coding for Employment digital ambassadors initiative aims to achieve at least 50% women participation by collaborating with women’s groups and strongly encouraging women to be part of the program.

Register to become a Coding for Employment digital ambassador:

French form: https://bit.ly/3CmLvMT

English form: https://bit.ly/3HxNMbN

Application deadline for the first cohort (known as the Nile Cohort): 31st December 2021 at 5:00 pm GMT.

Coding for Employment aims to create over 9 million jobs and reach 32 million youth and women across Africa. The program is part of the Bank’s Jobs for Youth in Africa Initiative

www.AfDB.org