Digital upskilling against the odds

Join our Youth at Heart Spotlight Session, “Digital Upskilling against the Odds”, on 2 November at 14:50.

Young people’s involvement is vital to build inclusive and sustainable societies that offer opportunities to all. Youth make up a majority of the population in the Middle East and Africa – presenting great opportunities but also great challenges. Lack of decent work and training opportunities are a barrier to young people’s full participation in their societies and the current COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the situation. RNW Media is proud to be taking part in the Youth at Heart virtual forum set up by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs to address these issues and ask how digitalisation can support the economic inclusion of young people.

Taking place on 2 November, Youth at Heart will feature a range of sessions in which young people will discuss their needs and ideas with partners and stakeholders. Amr Mohamed, Coordinator of RNW Media’s Egypt-based youth economic inclusion platform, Masaraat, will present at the 15-minute session, Digital up skilling against the odds, co-organised with Dutch development bank FMO and Nuffic, the Dutch organisation for internationalisation in education. The focus will be on how young people are putting themselves in the driver’s seat to strengthen skills for entrepreneurship and employment despite the challenges of living in restrictive settings.

Amr Mohamed

This session is a response to the development recommendations of the Dutch Advisory Council for International Affairs (the AIV) on digitalisation and youth employment in Africa and follows an earlier webinar on the game-changing potential of digitalisation for young  Africans which RNW Media co-organised with the AIV and FMO.

Skills gap
One of the major challenges in the African context is the gap between the skills the digital economy requires and the skills young people are able to acquire through standard education. Young women in particular need more support to develop digital skills. Amr Mohamed will discuss how peer learning can help fill the skills gap in restrictive settings and the ways in which Masaraat supports knowledge and skills strengthening—including in relation to women—through research-based tailored content, peer support and exchange, and sensitive moderation.

Tackling digital illiteracy
Also presenting at the “Digital up skilling against the odds” session will be Amged Shwehdy who is an ICT for development specialist and a co-founder of Hexa Connection in Libya. Hexa Connection is a youth-led NGO, which works to end digital illiteracy. Projects include multi-stakeholder collaborations such as the Libyan-U.S. Space Camp in 2019, which featured the first ever Libyan Robotic Championship for youths aged 15-18. Hexa also teaches computer and programming basics and organises tech job forums and hackathons to find solutions to societal challenges through ICTs.

Amged Shwehdy

Dutch development support
Last but not least, Linda Broekhuizen and Roos Hogenkamp of FMO and Nuffic, respectively, will engage in discussion with Amr and Amged about how Dutch development approaches can support young people in restrictive settings to improve their digital skills. Linda Broekhuizen is the Chief Executive Officer ad interim of the Dutch development bank FMO, having served as Chief Investment Officer for almost seven years. She is also a member of the Development Cooperation Committee of the AIV. Roos Hogenkamp is Manager Knowledge & Innovation and Global Development at Nuffic which supports access to education and training for professionals and organisations from some 50+ countries.

Take part
You can jointhe session by registering for the Youth at Heart forum. Registration is open until October 28. It will also be possible to follow sessions on YouTube.