When the Ntha Foundation was entrusted by the PPPC Malawi to carry out the Digital Skills For All Program under the Digital Malawi project, on behalf of the Malawi Government, with funding from the World Bank, one of the key things was that we had to train youth ages 8-35 in digital skills.
As an organisation, our key focus is job-creation; and we, in the beginning, failed to see how training young people, specifically people younger than 15 years would directly lead to job creation. Still, we took on the challenge, and reprogrammed our courses (which previously targetted post-university and graduating students) and made our learning materials more palatable, to accommodate primary and secondary school-going learners.
We have spent the past few months taking the kids through various digital skills. Vitu – 23 and Geoffrey – 26, (ICT specialists) take the class, as supervised by Panji (lead ICT Specialist). Thus far, we have trained 83 learners, 47 of whom are female.
We have many reasons why we have easily come to love the digital skills for kids class, and below we list just 3:
1. They are curious
In the past few months, we have trained three different cohorts – 6-12yrs (Primary School), 13-18yrs (Secondary School) and 19-35 (Entrepreneurs and social enterprise leaders). Of the 3 groups, the primary school learners are the most curious about computers and how the digital world works, followed by secondary school learners, and then the older learners. We came to realise that younger people are more hungry for new information, and that computers and digital skills are generally very interesting to them.
2. They are very engaged
Credit to the same curiousity, they are very engaged. The classes are always lively, and they partake in class discussions, asking questions, and contributing where relevant. Often, we see them getting ahead of their trainers, to explore more information. The hub has been open to all trainees for use in their free time, and we see mostly the primary and secondary school learners utilising this opportunities.
3. We are training future leaders
We realise these trainings may not have immediate (job-creation) effect as we would have hoped, but come 5-10years, we will have a generation that is very digitally savvy, and knows how to navigate the world of technology. Imagine the kind of business leaders and job creators those will be!
We will be putting out a call for the next cohort of learners soon. Please subscribe to the website, to get the notifications of when the next cohort goes live directly in your mailbox.