Digital Inclusion of Youth An Initiative By Sanuka Kidijitali
These skills include generic competencies like conducting internet research, online communication via email or instant messaging, the use of professional online platforms, and knowledge of digital financial services.
It is estimated that tens of millions of future jobs will require far more advanced digital skills, including coding, software and app development, network management, machine learning, Big Data analysis, the Internet of Things (IoT), cybersecurity and Distributed Ledger technologies like blockchain.
While young people are often considered “digital natives", the majority of them may not actually possess sufficient job-relevant digital skills to fill vacancies.
Less than 40% of individuals in 40% of the countries surveyed reported having carried out an activity which requires basic digital skills in the last three months.
Moreover, only 15% of the countries had more than 10% of individuals who had written a computer program using a specialized programming language in the last three months.
In our increasingly digital society, low ICT skills continue to remain a barrier to employment.
For young people to engage meaningfully in society, youth must be equipped with the skills and opportunities to advance their vision of a connected future. Sanuka Kidijitali's broader initiative seeks to empower youth.
To build a more inclusive digital society, the Sanuka Kidijitali's Initiative urges leaders in governments, the private sector, academia, and other key stakeholders to act to ensure that young people are equipped with the necessary digital skills to succeed in both the job market and civil society.
It is only by preparing youth with digital education and opportunities that SDG 8 (decent work for all and economic growth) can be achieved.
Data collected by UNESCO for 2020 show that around the world, 40% of primary schools and 66% of secondary schools had access to the Internet in 2020. In LDCs, 28% of primary schools and 35%, of secondary schools had access to the Internet. 100% primary school Internet connectivity has been achieved in 42 of 93 countries for which data were available.
Connectivity for all secondary schools has been met in 50 countries (available data from 94 countries for lower secondary and 97 countries for upper secondary).
As advanced digital skills become more important for employment and entrepreneurial success, some experts predict that there might soon be a “talent gap" for workers with advanced ICT competencies.
This need for qualified workers is exacerbated by various socioeconomic inequities, such as the lack of Internet access at home.
Lack of digital connectivity is just an initial barrier to obtaining the technological skills and education that young people need to succeed.
Over two-thirds of the world's school-age girls and boys aged 3 to 17 years (1.3 billion children) and 63% of youths aged 15 to 24 years (almost 760 million youths) lack Internet access at home. Globally, according to the latest data available, some two-thirds (66%) of all households were connected, leaving some 2.2 billion children and young people aged 25 years or less did not have access to an Internet connection at home.
Access varies widely depending on countries' relative wealth: in high-income countries, 87% of children and young people have an Internet connection at home, but in low-income countries, just 6% do .
A young person's access to an Internet connection (and hence digital skill development) often relies on the wealth, income, and living standards of their parents. Source: UNICEF
All stakeholders, including governments, academia, the private sector,a nd civil society can design strategies which help develop young people's digital skills and support full economic, social, and digital inclusion for all youth.
Digital technology can help enhance education, reduce youth unemployment, and promote socioeconomic development, but for youth to benefit from these opportunities, all young people must be equipped with a range of technological skills and have affordable access to connectivity.
Governments should focus on strategies which empower youth to become more engaged in their local communities.
Such strategies include:
Forming a coalition of talented young leaders active in the digital space. Governments can put out a call for youth in their own countries to develop a national ICT's young Leaders Program. These youth leaders can then organize and advertise ICT-related campaigns, initiatives, youth programs, and other activities which work to contribute to the fulfilment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
They can also lobby for more comprehensive youth participation in political and social forums at local, regional, and international levels.
Organizing and promoting ICT-related challenges and competitions for youth. Governments can fund competitions that ask youth to develop creative digital solutions to existing national or global challenges. Actors in academia can form partnerships with these competitions in order to increase youth participation in the realization of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Organizing regional youth forums. Governments can arrange regional meetings and spaces for youth to discuss technology related opportunities and challenges in their regions and to provide feedback with government leaders. This will create meaningful change and expand youth participation in the implementation of technology related policies.
Engaging young people through youth employment opportunities or open space such as “youth labs" where young people can find mentors and support networks or develop new digital skills .
Expanding national elementary and secondary school curricula to include teaching on digital empowerment skills (i.e. advocating for social issues online, creating and sharing content in different media forms), digital engagement skills (i.e. taking part in conversations around artificial intelligence), digital participation skills (i.e. how to protect digital devices from hackers or phishing scams), and digital wellbeing skills (i.e. how to explore identity online, how to take care of mental health while using social media) .
SANUKA KIDIJITALI'S CONTRIBUTION TO INCLUDE YOUTH IN A DIGITAL SOCIETY
Youth Strategy: The Sanuka Kidijitali Youth Strategy aims to reduce the youth digital divide and improve the lives of young people within Tanzania. The activities and efforts proposed in this strategy are grouped around three areas of action: Empower, Engage and Participate .
The objectives of the Youth Strategy include: encouraging youth participation in Sanuka Kidijitali's programmes, events and activities; promoting ICT youth-related policies within the Country, inclusiveness and empower youth, and engaging in regular dialogue and consultations with youth to undertake concrete actions.
Sanuka Kidijitali,is developing initiatives to engage youth through several organised programmes Eg: The University Ambassador Programme, the Sanuka Kidigitali Digital Villages etc, whose members serve towards accomplishing the common Goal of the Sanuka Kidijitali Initiative. The Careers in Tech Summit was held at Coict UDSM Data Lab, It engaged youth and empowered young people with the skills and opportunities to advance their vision of a connected future.
Partnerships: Sanuka Kidijitali, aims to partner with other National and international organizations and private institutions in order to provide youth with the skills they need to succeed. This will in turn increase the effectiveness of the it's work in youth development and policy by strengthening collaboration, creating coherence, and enabling exchange among all relevant entities, especially those whose work is relevant to youth.
Sanuka Kidijitali collaborates with other agencies, such as NIAJIRI, SAHARA VENTURES, NATOKAJE KIDIJITALI, HER INNITIATIVE, etc, to support, encourage, and cooperate on relevant interagency initiatives to youth issues.
Digital Gender Divide: Sanuka Kijitali is committed to encouraging young women and girls to seek careers in ICT. The Girls and women in Sanuka Queens Digital Village initiative consists of a life long programme that includes capacity building on digital skills, development of evidence-based knowledge resources, and partnerships with Academia, Agencies, Experts in Digital Economy and others, to create campaigns which inspire young girls to pursue STEM related careers and opportunities.
We hereby call upon stakeholders, Supporters, Leaders within our Local communities to join us in making sure we are able to deliver the message and not only that but to come up with more innovative ways to Execute our Mission across the Country.