Wehubit selects 5 innovative projects aiming at closing the digital divide through education, training and the world of work | Enabel - Belgian Development Agency

Wehubit selects 5 innovative projects aiming at closing the digital divide through education, training and the world of work

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(c)EFE-Morocco
The Wehubit programme of the Belgian development agency Enabel has selected five projects that aim to strengthen digital skills through education, training and the world of work. Each of the selected organisations is awarded a grant to scale-up its activities. Wehubit pursues its investment in digitisation as a means to accelerate sustainable development. It does so by granting financial support to projects that provide innovative digital solutions in partner countries of the Belgian Development Cooperation.

Closing the digital divide

Digital transformation and digitisation undeniably open up new career opportunities and create jobs. Yet, not everyone has the capacity to seize the opportunities or simply has the background to get a ride on this journey. In this way, the ‘digital divide’ is created and reinforced, causing ever starker inequalities between generations.

With this new Call for proposals, 1,566,516 euros have been awarded to five initiatives in Palestine, Morocco, Rwanda, Uganda and Burkina Faso, all of which aim to close the digital divide by fostering the digital culture and skills through education, training and the world of work.

Selected projects

In Palestine, where the issue of unemployment specifically affects educated young people, and especially women, the organisation Mercy Corps Europe through the PAL TECH GROWTH project of the Gaza Sky Geeks programme aims not only to train qualified individuals to succeed in the global digital economy but also to create a sustainable ecosystem for these young coders, consultants, subcontractors and start-ups enabling Palestinians to fully exploit the Internet and circumvent physical restrictions for sustainable economic growth.

Together, the two components of the educational digital programming of Gaza Sky Geeks – the Code Academy and the Freelance Academy – will enable hundreds of Palestinians to be technically qualified and ready for employment in the digital marketplace.

In Morocco, as the digital economy grows, existing vocational training programmes seek to be more in line with labour market requirements.

With the support of Wehubit, the Fondation Marocaine de l’Éducation pour l’Emploi (EFE) plans to focus digital training on the demand of young job seekers so as to offer them real well-paying job opportunities. Through the project TAKE IT FORWARD, EFE will use its Emplea+ platform for personalised training. It measures and adapts to the beneficiaries’ initial skills level and responds to real needs in the market. This innovative online training is complemented by general classroom education and advanced coding training.

Innovative approaches proposed by EFE-Morocco include the use of artificial intelligence and big-data for labour market analysis leading to industry-focused programmes. EFE also uses virtual reality technology in its online training, which is developed in collaboration with the private player Accenture to further connect training to the labour market. 

In Rwanda, where the government sees digital technology as a priority in economic and social development, significant challenges remain: inadequate infrastructure, high connectivity costs, low levels of digital knowledge, and teachers' reluctance to integrate information and communication technologies. By introducing junior high school students to Scratch – a free coding tool – VVOB aims to develop their creative, problem-solving and collaborative skills, helping them thrive in a digital economy. Thanks to the project SCRATC²H 2050, VVOB aims to train 120 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) teachers in 60 secondary schools of the Kayonza District to launch and promote Scratch coding clubs, where learners are given the opportunity to learn how to code stories, animation and interactive games. 

In Uganda, young people under the age of 30 make up more than 78% of the population. Yet, less than half of the people uses the Internet. According to Uganda’s Communication Commission, the main obstacles are lack of digital literacy, lack of access facilities, cost of access and lack of awareness. 

In response to this situation, the EIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries) Foundation’s project aims to create a national network of public and community libraries offering affordable digital training with qualified librarians and access to a free online course platform. This project named DIGITAL SKILLS @ YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY is based on a peer-learning methodology, creating learning circles in each of the 24 partner libraries.

In Burkina Faso, young people in the Central Plateau suffer from access to formal education and employment, which limits their entrepreneurial opportunities and reduces their livelihoods. Although these young people have few theoretical skills, they do have strong manual skills, but they too often struggle to transfer them to the digital field. 

The project RESOLAB of the Terre des Hommes Lausanne Foundation proposes to use a digital manufacturing approach (the FabLab) to help young people access education and employment. FabLab will build on the youths’ existing manual skills and them teach literacy and digital culture, support formal education enrolment and develop entrepreneurship skills.

‘While previous calls for proposals were aimed at supporting digital solutions, this call has focused more on training and knowledge-transfer methods to close the digital divide. As always, we are delighted with the wide variety of approaches, actors and countries whose many quality proposals have reached us,’ explains Arnaud Leclercq, Wehubit Programme Manager.

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Wehubit
The Wehubit programme was launched in 2018. It looks for and supports projects that aim to deploy and scale-up existing digital solutions. The programme primarily looks for tested solutions that contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals. The grants are awarded to not-for-profit civil society organisations that want to support digital development projects. Call for proposals are regularly launched on the Wehubit website. In September 2020, a last Call for proposals will focus on inclusive and sustainable cities. This and past calls regarded women and young people’s rights, inclusion and empowerment, climate-smart agriculture, e-health, and the digital divide. 

Enabel 
Enabel is the Belgian development agency. It implements and coordinates Belgium’s international development policy and primarily works for the Belgian State. The agency also implements actions for other national and international donors. Enabel manages about 150 projects, mostly in fragile states in Africa. Enabel has 1,500 staff, of which more than 70 % is local personnel.

Find out more 
Thibaut Monnier, Wehubit Communication officer
thibaut.monnier@enabel.be
 + 32 (0) 470 66 31 83 

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