Young Malawians, especially women, will make part of a global tech-savvy network of youths to hone digital skills and business knowledge.
This follows a collaboration between computer manufacturer IBM and Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT), a Canadian charitable organisation and social enterprise that delivers technology, entrepreneurship and leadership training programmes to young people.
The collaboration, according to a statement from the two firms, aims to empower youths in digital skills and business knowledge needed for successful careers and economic growth in the Covid-19 era using IBM’s technology platform.
IBM and DOT said in a joint statement on Monday the collaboration will reach 40 000 young people from eight countries in Africa and Middle East, namely Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Ghana, Jordan and Lebanon.
The statement says DOT will work with local organisations to help young people advance their technological skills.
IBM vice-president and global head corporate social responsibility Justina Nixon-Saintil is quoted in the statement as having said that providing career skills to youths, particularly young women and those from under-resourced communities, can be life- changing.
“With resources like IBM Open P-Tech bolstered by the efforts of organisations like Digital Opportunity Trust, we aim to advance equity and create access to opportunity,” she said.
The Covid-19 pandemic has laid bare the gaps and inequitable access to the digital literacy, employment and entrepreneurship skills that youths require to innovate, compete for jobs, or start businesses in a digital economy.
Studies show that the gender gap is wide, with women over 50 percent less likely to be online than men in least developed countries where 390 million women remain unconnected.
The statement further says the collaboration brings together complementary experience and assets, with IBM providing technology and business expertise while DOT offering its extensive channels to youths and local community ecosystems.
On her part, DOT founder and chief executive officer Janet Longmore is quoted as having said:
“DOT and IBM have a history working together and developing the mutual trust that underpins successful collaboration.
“This partnership is an example of how the private sector and a social enterprise with “feet on the street” can mobilise their assets to benefit youth and young women in marginalised, rural and remote communities. We share a belief that youth want opportunities to be the innovators and catalysts of digital transformation.”
Caption: Nixon-Saintil: This can be life-changing