The African Development Bank’s Coding for Employment program will train over 500 digital ambassadors to lead a peer-to-peer training model set to expand digital skills to more African youth, especially in rural communities with limited internet connectivity.
Coding for Employment and its technical partners, Microsoft Philanthropies, will offer the digital ambassadors an intensive three-month program featuring in-demand skills, such as web design and digital marketing, as well as soft skills such as critical thinking, project management and communication.
At the end of the coursework, the Bank and Microsoft Philanthropies will provide graduates with information and communication technology toolkits and resources so they can offer the same training within their local communities.
Coding for Employment online platforms and in-person classes offer these technical courses for free. The program recently hit a 130,000-enrollment milestone among young people across Africa on its eLearning and Digital Nigeria platforms.
“It is very important that we build upon the success of the Coding for Employment program to take digital literacy to the grassroots. The community-based model will ensure that the youth in rural areas are digitally empowered, which further affirms the Bank’s commitment to raising the next generation of digitally enabled youth and women on the continent,” said Martha Phiri, Director of the Bank’s Human Capital, Youth and Skills Development Department.
The digital ambassadors initiative is part of the Bank’s strategy to center its technology and digital investments around the youth and enable them to bring about economic and social transformation in the digital age. The digital ambassadors peer-to-peer model is expected to draw more youth because it offers a more personalized learning experience.
Applicants, aged between 18 and 35 years, are expected to be proficient in English or French and must be citizens of Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Nigeria, or Senegal. Coding for Employment expects to expand the digital ambassador program to other countries soon after the pilot phase.
“Today’s youth are our future leaders and entrepreneurs, which is why it is so critical that we empower them with the digital skills they need to contribute meaningfully to the global digital economy. Microsoft is honored to be partnering with the African Development Bank on its incredible Coding for Employment program,” said Ghada Khalifa, Regional Director for Microsoft Philanthropies, Middle East and Africa.
Digital ambassadors will receive stipends and have access to the digital skills training centers in Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, and Rwanda. They will also have access to a network of employers, private sector partners and freelancing platforms.
The Coding for Employment digital ambassadors initiative aims to achieve at least 50% women participation by collaborating with women’s groups and strongly encouraging women to be part of the program.