Building on its existing broad-scale community affairs and development efforts in Africa, Microsoft has announced a partnership with the International Youth Foundation (IYF) to enhance sustainable youth employment opportunities in Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and Tanzania.
This partnership is part of Microsoft(R) Unlimited Potential, a long-term commitment to use technology, training and partnerships to transform education, foster local innovation, and enable jobs and opportunities to sustain a continuous cycle of social and economic growth for the estimated 5 billion people who are not yet realizing the benefits of technology.
Modelled on the IYF’s umbrella programme ‘Entra 21,’ the partnership will focus on a Youth Empowerment Programme, which aims to improve the employability prospects of disadvantaged African youth, ages 16-35, through targeted high quality Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and other skills training. Over the past five years, ‘Entra 21′ has provided employability training and job placement assistance to 20,000 youth in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The consequences of youth unemployment in Africa are severe. The implementation of the Youth Empowerment Programme, which in its initial stages aims to reach 40,000 young people, offers an opportunity to cohesively link together public-private-civil society partners to address youth unemployment.
According to Orlando Ayala, senior vice president of the Microsoft Emerging Segments Market Development Group, “To enable sustained economic growth, it is imperative to accelerate skills development and help employers find qualified candidates. Sub-Saharan Africa is facing an untenable situation as one-in-five young people are unemployed.”
Supported by a $1 million grant, technology and training expertise from Microsoft, the program aims to develop tailor-made solutions to identified needs in local markets and combine ICT training with life-skills and entrepreneurship training that match the real-world demand of local markets. Participants will also receive training in general employability skills, such as teamwork, conflict resolution and communication.
It is estimated that 70% of the trained beneficiaries from these targeted programs will go on to participate in internships, be placed in jobs, gain income-generating self-employments, or engage in voluntary community service.
Announcing the partnership, CEO and President of IYF, William S. Reese said, “We look forward to working with Microsoft to adapt one of our already successful employability programs to the needs of young people in Africa and to share best practices that we’ve gained in this critical field of youth employment.” Microsoft and IYF have been partners since 2000, working together to promote youth employability and education initiatives in Asia, Latin America, and North Africa.
As part of its commitment to this current effort, IYF will provide technical assistance on project design, labor market assessments, curriculum review, monitoring and evaluation and material development for the organizations that are delivering the programs on the ground.
Concluding, Ayala added that, “Youth empowerment, skills development, and capacity building help enable sustained economic and social opportunity and are at the heart of Microsoft Unlimited Potential. This partnership with the IYF to improve the job prospects and income-generating opportunities for Africa’s youth is extremely important and Microsoft welcomes the opportunity to work with an organization such as IYF on this initiative.’
About Microsoft Corporation
Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device. Microsoft opened its Dubai-based Middle East office in 1991. Microsoft today has five subsidiaries in the Middle East region: Microsoft South Gulf which oversees Microsoft activities in the UAE, Oman, Yemen and Pakistan, Microsoft North Gulf which oversees Microsoft activities in Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar, Microsoft Arabia covering the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Microsoft East Med covering, Lebanon, Jordan, Cyprus and Malta and Microsoft Egypt. Microsoft Corporation’s address on the World Wide Web is: http://www.microsoft.com/ Microsoft Middle East’s Web site is: http://www.microsoft.com/middleeast
About Unlimited Potential
Microsoft Unlimited Potential expands and accelerates Microsoft’s commitment to facilitate sustained social and economic opportunity for the more than 5 billion people living in every country around the world who do not today benefit from technology. For more information, please visit: http://www.microsoft.com/unlimitedpotential
About the International Youth Foundation
The International Youth Foundation is a global non-profit organization uniquely dedicated to preparing young people to be healthy, productive, and engaged citizens. Founded in 1990, IYF’s worldwide network of partner organizations has grown to 70 countries, helping young people to shape their futures through proven programs that tie education to work, improve employability, and enable and inspire them to play a positive role in their communities. IYF collaborates with businesses, governments and civil society organizations to build effective, and sustainable programs that positively impact the lives of young people worldwide. For more information, please visit: http://www.iyfnet.org/
International Youth Foundation
CONTACT: Adrian Wainwright, Microsoft PR Manager West, East and Central
Africa, + 27 11 361 7629, Adrian.Wainwright@microsoft.com; or James Peirce,
Vice President, Planning and Outreach of International Youth Foundation,
Web site: http://www.iyfnet.org/