The rapid pace of technology adoption across Africa presents significant opportunity for private sector, civil society and government partners to engage with youth in new ways while building the skills and connections that are essential for employment.
This is why COCA-COLA Africa foundation has set out to tap into widely-available technology that includes SMS and voice-based mobile devices to connect young people to employment, training and mentoring opportunities in its pan-African youth empowerment initiative, Youth Empowered for Success (YES!).
The program currently being introduced to Kenya, South Africa and Tunisia by TCCAF and implementing partners Mercy Corps, Microsoft, Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator and Kuza Biashara will concentrate on inclusive reach for the initiative, providing access to services for both young people who live in remote locations and those with limited literacy skills through the $4.5 million TCCAF investment.
YES program services will include establishment of hubs that will be powered by solar panels and supported by standalone battery powered wireless internet devices. This will ensure that even the most disadvantaged youth between the ages of 18-35 will have access to critical YES! program services.
Besides helping the youth access jobs and internship and mentoring programs, the technology platform is designed to be scalable and replicable across Africa, ensuring immediate and iterative improvements can easily be made based on local program details and feedback from youth participants.
YES program in Kenya
In Kenya, the YES! program will train youth with life-skills along with market-driven technical and business skills through a blended model of offline training conducted by Mercy Corps and online through the YES! technology platform. Young people will be linked to jobs and business or micro franchise opportunities in growth segments of the Kenyan economy, such as the construction, agriculture, renewable energy and hospitality sectors.
The initiative will also help young entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and thrive by connecting them to mentors and sources of capital. Finally, the program will help provide an environment to enable youth economic empowerment by helping youth register their businesses and benefit from Kenya’s existing youth friendly policies, such as the government tender policy that prioritizes youth, women and people with disabilities. The new YES! Technology platform is being rolled out in Nairobi County and will be available to youth who are participating in the program.