Digital Opportunity Trust and IBM Team Up to Provide Digital and Career Skills for Youth in Africa and the Middle East
Young Malawians, especially women will make part of a global tech-savvy network of youth earmarked to hone career-ready digital skills and business knowledge following a collaboration between computer giant IBM and Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT).
The collaboration aims to empower the youth in digital skills, workforce readiness proficiencies, and business knowledge needed for successful careers, social wellbeing, and economic growth in the COVID-19 era using IBM’s free Open P-Tech platform.
IBM and DOT said in a joint statement the collaboration will reach 40,000 young people from eight countries in Africa and Middle East. The countries are Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Ghana, Jordan and Lebanon. 70 percent of the youth will be young women.
DOT will work with local organizations to help young people tap into IBM’s free Open P-TECH’s (ptech.org) career readiness curricula. The platform equips learners with competencies in foundational technologies used in all industries, such as AI, cloud computing and cybersecurity, along with professional workplace skills like design thinking, teaming, and presentations.
"Providing career skills to youth, particularly young women and those from under-resourced communities, can be life changing," said Justina Nixon-Saintil, IBM Vice President and Global Head, Corporate Social Responsibility. With resources like IBM Open P-Tech bolstered by the efforts of organizations like Digital Opportunity Trust, we aim to advance equity and create access to opportunity."
The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the gaps and inequitable access to the digital literacy, employment and entrepreneurship skills that youth require to innovate, compete for jobs, or start businesses in a digital economy.
The gender gap is extreme - with women over 50% less likely to be online than men in least developed countries where 390 million women remain unconnected.
Poised to change this are IBM’s new Open P-TECH digital education platform with its potential to scale within formal and informal education systems, and the support of DOT’s network of young leaders with the facilitation, coaching and peer-to-peer talents that are critical to the effectiveness, application and retention of online learning.
The collaboration brings together complementary experience and assets: IBM with its technology and business expertise, and DOT with its extensive channels to youth and local community ecosystems. DOT’s research shows that young people with these skills become the leaders and contributors to the digital transformation of their communities, countries, and economies.
DOT Founder and CEO Janet Longmore said: “DOT and IBM have a history working together and developing the mutual trust that underpins successful collaboration. This partnership, around the Open P-TECH platform, is an example of how the private sector and a social enterprise with "feet on the street" can mobilize their assets to benefit youth and young women in marginalized, rural and remote communities. We share a belief that youth want opportunities to be the innovators and catalysts of digital transformation, shaping the future of work in an inclusive world.”