Microsoft collaborates with non-profits in Middle East and Africa to upskill 10 million youth in computing science

Microsoft Youthspark Kick-off group photo. Retrieved from cio.co.ke.

Microsoft Youthspark Kick-off group photo. Retrieved from cio.co.ke.

Microsoft announced its new goal to impart digital skills to 10 million youth in the Middle East and Africa throughout a period of three years. The company intends to reach this goal by leveraging the on-going YouthSpark programme, which currently supports youth to learn ICT skills for employment and entrepreneurship through strategic collaboration with governments, businesses and non-profit organizations.

One example of these partnerships is the yearly collaboration with Code.org during Computer Science Education Week for Hour of Code. The Hour of Code encourages students of all ages across the world to learn coding for an hour using different entertaining tutorials. In the case of the Middle East and Africa regions, Microsoft is partnering with 15 non-profit organizations across eight countries to offer YouthSpark cash grants, technology and resources for the organizations to provide digital skills and computer science education for youth. Another important component of the YouthSpark programme is that it is focused on increasing the number of teachers and youth-serving organizations that are engaged in bringing digital skills to youth.

An article from CIO.co provided some examples from the implementation of the programme in Kenya, where some non-profits focusing on women and youth are currently receiving cash grants. Some highlighted cases are:

  • The Forum for African Women (FAWE), which provides young women with access to digital skills and computer science training, job placement and internships. Also supports trainers to learn skills for preparing their students.
  • The African Center for Women, Information and Communications Technology (ACWICT) that creates opportunities for youth from underserved regions to pursue STEM-related careers. It connects participants with employment opportunities and continued education resources.
  • The New Generation Trust, which is focused on training the trainers with support from the African Development Bank.

Source: CIO.co