In Kenya, digital literacy in schools gets a timely boost

Kenya’s push to integrate digital skills in primary and secondary school teaching and learning has received a welcome boost from the Safaricom Foundation as the charity organization moves to enhance roll out of technology skills in its focus and reach under its education support pillar in the next three years.

The Foundation is now seeking to step up the education outcomes of students across Kenya by partnering with Teacher Training Institutions with a view to upskilling the tutors’ competencies and in turn the learner outcomes through the training of tutors to effectively impart digital skills to millions of students.

“In this 2023 to 2026 Safaricom Foundation strategy, we will heavily leverage technology across the three pillars to improve efficiency and scale impact. By 2026, we hope that Safaricom Foundation will have proven that it is possible to impact the community through technological interventions,” said Peter Ndegwa, CEO, Safaricom, at the launch of the new strategy.

The Foundation’s 2023-2026 strategy plans to integrate ICT, sustainable philanthropy and humanitarian response as major execution components to ensure the delivery of long-lasting impactful projects to address communities’ urgent needs and immediate concerns.

“Our new strategy will rely a lot on partnerships, technology, and community engagement by bringing on-board all stakeholders in our programmes. That is why we have incorporated sustainable philanthropy as a key delivery component so that through such gainful partnerships, communities can continue thriving long after we have implemented our initiatives,” said Joseph Ogutu, Chairman, Safaricom Foundation.

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Under education, the Foundation will give a special focus on literacy programmes for teachers and the youth in Kenya’s Technical and Vovational Education Training (TVET) through the deployment of modern technology and up-to-date content.

By upskilling the capacity of teachers through digital skills, Safaricom Foundation aims at increasing the employability of young people in Kenya while also equipping millions with right skillset to harness opportunities in the country’s rising digital economy.

Kenya has been on a journey to a digital economy with the Kenya Kwanza administration planning to expand the national digital superhighway by 100,000 kilometres over a period of ten years.

The government has set out to establish 25,000 free digital hotspots, create digital centers in marketplaces, and connect all public institutions, schools, and hospitals to the national digital superhighway.

The government is also digitizing state services to enhance service delivery to the people as well as eliminate red tape while drastically cutting wait times.

In the next three years, Safaricom Foundation will also increase access to TVET training for young people through establishing TVET centres of excellence and provision of scholarships, apprenticeships, and tooling of graduates in readiness for the workplace.

In Kenya, the number of students joining TVET institutions has been on the rise with statistics showing that students entering public universities for undergraduate degrees dropped to 448,482 in the year to June 2022 from 452,089 earlier.

Students joining TVETs, however, surged to 265,095 from 217,440, which was one of the biggest upticks as technical colleges assume a significant role in driving Kenya’s push to create skilled labour in various trades such as plumping, leather technology, masonry, garment making, among others.

Established in 2003 in line with Safaricom PLC’s responsible corporate citizenry policy, Safaricom Foundation has impacted the lives of roughly eight million Kenyans in education, health and economic empowerment programmes.

In the next three years, the Foundation says it will maintain the three focus areas but enhance the scope to positevely impact even more lives across the 47 counties in the country.

“We will increase access to and utilization of quality reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child and adolescent health services in Kenya,” the Foundation’s 2023-2026 strategy notes in part.

The Foundation will also amplify public awareness of non-communicable diseases, which account for 39 percent of deaths in Kenya annually, with a view to prevent premature deaths.

By leveraging technology and working closely with both national and county governments, the Foundation has set out to engage women of reproductive age, newborns, children under five years, adolescent girls and young women in an effort to increase access to quality health services.

Under the economic empowerment pillar, Safaricom Foundation will double down on agribusiness development projects, boosting the agriculture sector, which accounts for about 25 percent of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product.

They will also be prioritizing community projects on eco-preneurship/green economy by boosting agroforestry initiatives, solid waste recycling, and the manufacture of eco-friendly products while riding on technology to link entrepreneurs to markets.

Through these programmes, the Foundation says it will increase the number of employment opportunities thereby helping tackle joblessness among young people in Kenya.

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