MTN Foundation, Ubunifu Empower Youth As 60 Graduate From Youth Skilling Program

  • 60 youth have graduated in the first cohort of the MTN Foundation youth skilling program.
  • The program, which kicked off in December 2020 targeted 100 beneficiaries from university graduates, Small and medium enterprises and young innovators.
  • The youth skilling program is in line with MTN’s priority area focusing on youth as it seeks to inspire and empower them with the goal of creating practical ICT driven solutions to challenges in society.
Collage of graduates during the virtual graduation ceremony organised by the MTN Foundation and Ubunifu systems

60 youth have successfully graduated having attained digital and technical skills in the first cohort of the MTN Foundation youth skilling program.

The MTN Foundation youth skilling program is an initiative funded by MTN Foundation Uganda and implemented by Ubunifu systems aimed at inspiring and empowering youth with the goal of creating practical ICT driven solutions to challenges in society.

The program, which kicked off in December 2020 received nearly 2000 applications but only targeted 100 youth from university graduates, Small and medium enterprises and young innovators.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony held during an online webinar, The MTN General Manager Corporate services and Legal, Enid Edroma who was representing the MTN CEO congratulated the youth upon the accomplishment urging them to use the skills attained to improve their society.

“These graduands are not your ordinary people. They were picked out of 1900 applicants for the training. This was not a chance occurrence because within each one of you are certain special qualities that helped identify you as the right candidates and these include, the passion which we saw through your applications. We also noticed your resilience and positive outlook to life and its challenges,” Edroma said.

Edroma highlighted the resilience of the youth who quickly adapted to online training when the pandemic hit and interrupted the program.

The MTN youth skilling program which was entirely conducted online employed a three pronged approach tackling digital and technical skills as well as an incubation phase for aspiring entrepreneurs focused on four thematic areas including agriculture, health, education and youth empowerment.

Addressing the effect of the pandemic especially on the education sector, Edroma said covid-19 has accelerated the advancement and adoption of technology.

She however also noted that there are still gaps that need to be plugged especially in the lower education segments.

“There are areas that can still be better for instance primary and secondary education. It would be nice to see that segment also move into the digital space which will demonstrate the value of digitisation,” she said.

Edroma was reiterated by Brian Mbasa, the senior manager MTN Foundation who said the objective of the program is to empower youth to establish businesses which will have a trickle-down effect by employing other youth in society.

He explained that this is the first of many editions of the MTN youth skilling program as a new edition will kick off in January next year.

Sylvester Nyombi, the brand and communications manager, Ubunifu systems said the program enjoyed a diversity of youth having drawn people from 86 districts, with a high level of female participation and inclusion of persons with disabilities.

Nagawa Hajara, one of the female graduates in the program said she has attained various skills which have been instrumental in aiding her establish her agribusiness training center.

Hajarah-Naggawa-one-of-the-graduands-during-the-skilling-program-conducted-online.

The graduation ceremony was graced with various dignitaries from the ICT sector such as Micheal Niyitegeka, International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL) Africa country director and Kenneth Muhangi, advisor at ministry of ICT, who awarded certificates of excellence to the graduands.

The guest of honour, Honorable Sarah Mateke Nyirabashitsi, Minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs commended MTN and Ubunifu systems for the initiative of skilling youth explaining that this has contributed a lot to improving the quality of labour in the country.

She also said that despite existence of similar government programs geared towards skilling the youth for example the youth livelihood program, there is still need for extra support from the private sector.

“Demand for affordable credit to support the youth to establish viable businesses is very high compared to the available funds I therefore appeal to the private sector to keep supporting us and implementing government programs,” she urged.

Hon Mateke said the program is timely and will be acknowledged during her first 100 days in office as the country prepares to celebrate the international youth day on August 12.

MTN Uganda Announces the MTN Foundation Youth Empowerment Program Winners

  • MTN Foundation Uganda has selected 100 youths for its Youth Empowerment Program. A call for applications was put up at the end of last year and close to 2000 applicants took a shot at the exciting offer.
  • The full list of winners is available here.
  • The Program that will be conducted by Ubunifu systems, a software Development firm, will equip the selected youths with the technical skills to empower them to solve communities’ pressing challenges using technological expertise.
  • The Five MTN #ForGood winners will be the pioneer beneficiaries of this intensive program that is a building block to Uganda’s Fourth Industrial revolution.

At the end of last year, the MTN Foundation Uganda launched an exciting training opportunity for the youth, dubbed the Youth Empowerment Program with the aim of offering technology training to at least 100 youths, in the various areas of their interest as the country embraces the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The MTN Foundation Youth Empowerment Program is aimed at designing and delivering practical knowledge, skills experience for youth and young adults in preparation for the 4th Industrial Revolution. All this comes at a backdrop of the Covid19 pandemic that has demonstrated the immense need of digitalized systems to keep businesses and communities afloat in times of catastrophic circumstances.

While announcing the winners of the Youth Empowerment Program today, Wim Vanhelleputte, the MTN Uganda Chief Executive Officer said that this is one of the many initiatives that MTN Uganda has put in place to enable the youth tap into the limitless possibilities of the Fourth industrial revolution to the benefit of both communities and businesses in the country.

“The overwhelming numbers of the applications that we received are a good indicator that the youth of this country are keen on Technology and are eager to become the very instruments of growth and development in their communities,” said Vanhelleputte.

Applications were called and within the 14-day application window, an impressive 1,993 applications were received for the thrilling offer. The applications comprised of: 1,741 unique applications, with 71.2% male applicants and 28.9% female applicants, a good indicator that the females are starting to take up their Space in the Technology space.

 

The application call appealed to youths of various academic qualifications ranging from the Masters’ level of education to even those with no academic qualifications but a keen interest in the field of technology and innovation. The applicants included a plethora of university graduates, innovators and those engaged in Small and Medium with a mission of inspiring and empowering them towards harnessing the practical application of innovative ICT solutions to solve their communities’ most pressing challenges. The bulk of the applications came in from Kampala, Wakiso, Mbarara, Lira, Gulu.

Out of the above applications, 100 applicants were carefully selected and they will be trained in their various fields of interest, with the aim of empowering them to harness the limitless possibilities of Technology to provide solutions to the challenges in their communities in their selected areas of interest. The full list of winners is available here. The program participants will be trained in the key thematic areas of: Agriculture, Education, Health, Technology and Youth Empowerment

The MTN Foundation Youth Empowerment Program will be implemented in partnership with Ubunifu systems, a software development firm based in Uganda. Ubunifu systems has cut its niche in professional mobile and web development with a focus on innovative, personalized and fully functional solutions that deliver value and satisfaction.

In his announcement, Vanhelleputte also noted that the five winners of last year’s MTN #ForGood campaign will be the first beneficiaries of the Youth Empowerment program. The five winners are; Douglas Smith, Joseph Semayengo, Julius Tusingwire, Tony Ayebare and Brian Mawere aka Maw Brian.

Since the youth are the majority in Uganda, with 77% of them aged below 25 years, they are a big and essential component in the country’s growth and development. It is against this background that the MTN Foundation chose to involve them to stimulate local innovation, which in turn will help them find gainful employment through community transforming innovations as we enter the new era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

MTN is committed to integrating the youth in its programs as envisaged by its past engagements with them. In 2019, MTN invited the youth to develop applications that use MTN MoMo APIs, to monetize both consumer and business opportunities digitally, a task many of them executed successfully.

MTN and Ericsson awarded MTN Mobile Money Open API challenge with cash a combined cash prize of USD$6,000 (approx. UGX22.06 million) and a trip to the Ericsson innovation Centre in Sweden, for the overall winner.

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