Avasant and its Foundation’s work on ICT for Development (ICT4D) initiatives across Africa has helped catalyze the creation of over 6,000 new jobs in collaboration with governments, non-profits and the region’s growing ICT industry. This is critical work as AF’s partner on Digital Jobs Africa, the Rockefeller Foundation, estimates that by 2050, 400 million people under the age of 25 will likely be in need of sustainable employment if the continent stays on its current growth trajectory.
In 2017, Avasant Foundation will continue its focus on creating jobs while also scaling training opportunities for disadvantaged African youth. To accomplish this, AF will build off the success of recent training pilots for a Digital Youth Employment Initiative in South Africa and a “TechnoSpark” training for ICT innovation center in Uganda utilizing AF’s iGNITE entrepreneurship curriculum.
Digital Jobs Africa
Avasant Foundation partnered in 2015-2016 with the Rockefeller Foundation on its Digital Jobs Africa (DJA) Initiative to create jobs for over 1300 disadvantaged youth through Impact Sourcing. AF held workshops for 62 leading ICT companies on the benefits of employing disadvantaged youth, and in effect, helping to end poverty through intentional hiring practices. Youth hired in entry- level ICT service work across Egypt, Kenya, Ghana, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa gain a 40-200% increase in income and a drastic improvement to their community’s quality of life.
Avasant Foundation now continues its partnership with Rockefeller Foundation as an associate member of the Global Impact Sourcing Coalition. The Coalition brings together the world’s leading companies to catalyze new, sustainable employment opportunities and skills training for African youth and especially in the ICT sector.
“Not only does impact sourcing benefit the worker- who might not have other means of employment- it helps connect businesses with the workforce they need to strengthen…and cultivate a workforce of trained, talented, motivated and committed employees.”
–Judith Rodin, President, The Rockefeller Foundation
Digital Employment Training in South Africa
In 2016 AF partnered with the Harambee center to prepare disadvantaged youth for employment with leading ICT service provider, CAPFIN. This pilot training in Capetown was supported by the Rockefeller Foundation and BPeSA, South Africa’s leading BPO investment and industry group. The Foundation also leveraged the expertise of Avasant consultants who successfully helped the Eastern Cape Development Corporation assess the current state of ICT services, identify potential skills gaps, and devise and implement strategies to develop the region as a BPO industry hub.
TechnoSpark Entrepreneurship in Uganda
In the second half of 2016, Avasant and its Foundation helped the Ugandan government promote entrepreneurship by creating and piloting a “TechnoSpark” training that helps budding entrepreneurs develop tech applications that enhance government service delivery. As part of this World-Bank funded effort, Avasant partnered with the RAN Innovation Lab and NITA-U ICT industry association in November to offer the two-day “TechnoSpark” training in Kampala.
Of the forty-nine budding entrepreneurs, primarily women and low-income college graduates, 98% felt that the training was good or excellent and that TechnoSpark accommodated their background and needs. Many of the new businesses sparked and supported through TechnoSpark were inspired by the real-life experiences of the participants. One woman whose mother had died of an unidentified urinary tract infection is now creating a health gadget for use in rural areas that enables cell phones to test urine for infections.
Through a train-the-trainer approach, TechnoSpark is expected to kickstart an innovation movement in Uganda targeted at satisfying the government’s demand for innovative e-services and interest in creating the next generation of job creators.
“Avasant has demonstrated utmost efficiency and excellence in all you do, and we appreciate and pledge our support to even greater initiatives to come.”
–Joshua Akandwanaho – IT Research and Innovation Officer, NITA-Uganda
Case Study: E-Ghana Promotion & Tech Park
Through initiatives funded by the World Bank and Rockefeller Foundation, Avasant has helped catalyze the creation of at least 3,000 new jobs by designing, building and supporting Ghana’s ICT services industry. For the World Bank, Avasant provided research and strategy consulting as well as training and mentorship workshops to help Ghana’s Ministry of Communications and other stakeholders successfully promote ICT services and the E-Ghana brand. As part of a Rockefeller Foundation pilot, Avasant also identified companies willing to hire underprivileged youth to perform the much-needed government demographic data entry and processing services to be provided at a new Tech Park- including for digitizing information on birth and death registries.