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Malawi youths on IBM, Dot radar

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FOR YOUTH EMPOWERMENT—Nixon-Saintil

By Frank Phiri, contributor:

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 era using IBM’s free Open P-Tech platform.

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IBM and Dot said in a joint statement the collaboration will reach 40,000 young people from eight countries in Africa and the 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 organisations to help young people tap into IBM’s free Open P-tech’s career readiness curricula.

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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 such as 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 organisations like Digital Opportunity Trust, we aim to advance equity and create access to opportunity.”

The Covid pandemic has laid bare gaps and inequitable access to digital literacy, employment and entrepreneurship skills that youth require to innovate, compete for job, or start businesses in a digital economy.

The gender gap is extreme— with women over 50 percent less likely to be online than men in least developed countries where 390 million women remain unconnected.

Dot Founder and CEO Janet Longmore said: “Dot and IBM have a history of working together and developing the mutual trust that underpins successful collaboration.”

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