The DStv Online team loves a good story with a happy ending, especially when it’s something that positively benefits our beautiful Mother Africa. This is one such story and it’s brought to you by the influence of Microsoft. At the recent Partners in Learning Global Forum, the software and technology frontrunner made an announcement about their latest initiative and partnership: YouthSpark – Spark a child’s digital future.
What is youthspark?
It’s an initiative set to create opportunity for up to 300 million children across the world by introducing digital into their lives, thus aiding in the transformation of their education. The partnership between Microsoft, Intel, World Vision and British Council aims to invest $75 million in Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) in a bid to offer digital access to children in developing areas of the world, starting with Kenya.
Anthony Salcito, vice president of Worldwide Education for Microsoft, tells us how they envision the initiative changing people’s lives, as well as transforming developing countries across the world: “Today’s young people face an opportunity divide — a gap between those who have the access, skills and opportunities to be successful and those who do not. We firmly believe in the power of technology to help close this gap. But we can only achieve our ambitions with the help of these kinds of partnerships. Together, we can help bring digital access to youth and support to educators in developing countries worldwide.”
Creating opportunity in Africa
The initiative is already underway and has seen the implementation of 100 digital hubs across Africa where locals will receive training on how to use digital mediums. This alone has extended the possibilities for African people, but has only eaten into $2 million of the total $75 million investment funds. We’re eager to see what else will be implemented as a part of this initiative.
We do know that YouthSpark aims to achieve three primary goals:
• Advance technology in African schools
• Introduce digital access in classrooms via devices, infrastructure and teacher training
• Enhance academics, life skills and economic opportunity for all students involved
With this in mind, World Vision US president, Rich Stearns had this to say, “We recognize that once a child’s basic needs are met, digital skills development can be vital in securing economic growth. This program is essential in helping children in developing countries succeed in a global world.”
We’re thrilled to see something of this nature and stature unfolding on African soil. We all know that digital is the way of the future and by creating equal opportunity for all Africans to stake their claim in the digital landscape, we can only expect bigger ideas, greater advances and an enhanced potential for all. Viva Microsoft!