WALLDORF — More than 430,000 youth in 30 countries in Africa and four countries in the Middle East took part in the 2016 Africa Code Week and Refugee Code Week from SAP SE (NYSE: SAP), exceeding expectations.
The initiatives are strategic to SAP’s goal to empower young people with skills they need to thrive in the digital economy. For Africa the goal is to train more than 200,000 teachers and equip 5 million youth with basic coding skills by 2025. This, in the long term, will help close the information and communication technology skills gap in the regions, which is a critical success factor for economic growth and peace. It is also an integral part of SAP’s vision to help improve people’s lives.
Africa Code Week was spearheaded by SAP in 2015 as part of its social investments to drive sustainable growth in Africa. It is the story of hundreds of schools, teachers, ministers, community centers, code clubs, NGOs, businesses and nonprofits getting together to start the largest digital literacy initiative ever organized on the African continent. Key partners include the Cape Town Science Centre and the Galway Education Centre. Strategic partners are UNESCO, Google Inc., the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and many more. Their joint efforts resulted in training more than 427,000 youth from 30 countries, dramatically exceeding the initial participation target of 150,000 students. The training sessions ran from Oct. 15 to Oct. 23 and were organized by SAP and more than one hundred partners. To secure the sustainability of the initiative, more than 6,000 educators will continue to offer coding sessions to youth after the code weeks’ end.
Inspired by the impact of Africa Code Week, Refugee Code Week was set up as a core pillar of the Refugee Aid Program sponsored by SAP to provide young people and those in refugee communities with job-relevant coding skills. It was in part SAP’s response to United States President Obama’s call to action to address the global refugee crisis. The collaboration involved the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Galway Education Centre and a network of over 30 local and international partners. More than 10,000 children and youth – locals and refugees – in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey received the opportunity to learn basic and advanced coding skills. Especially those in the 18–24 age group learned job-relevant skills, such as Web programming and using the SAP Business One application, the business management software from SAP designed for small businesses and midsize companies.
Providing access to education is one of the biggest challenges of the refugee crisis in the Middle East. Coding skills can help youth and young adults gain employment and lead a self-determined life. The most promising students took part in a four-month IT boot camp of partner RBK, leading to job placements for almost all of them at local companies.
In addition to Refugee Code Week, hundreds of teachers, parents and educators offer online courses to continue the training in communities and universities. This response is magnifying the impact of the initiative and providing digital skills to the youth in the host countries.
Bettina Wunderle, +49 7544 970 538, email@example.com, CET
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Photo via Dana Roesiger, SAP