The NetHope 2017 Device Challenge provided 17 grantees the opportunity to have significant positive impact on efforts in humanitarian aid, international development, and conservation by providing funding for internet-connected devices.
Using a $5.5 million grant provided by Google.org, the charitable arm of Google, NetHope put out the call to nonprofits around the globe for submissions on how they could use internet-connected devices to further their missions to improve the lives of at-risk or vulnerable populations. With more than 250 organizations entering 290 high-quality submissions, the field was narrowed to the final 17 who demonstrated the applicability of how they could maximize or fulfill their programs with these devices.
The selection criteria gave preference to funding requests that demonstrated the impact that smart phones, laptops and/or tablets can have in amplifying the impact of education, economic opportunities, civic engagement, conservation, health, child protection and other development programs.
The 17 projects chosen covered a variety of sectors, from wildlife conservation to child welfare. Each project demonstrated the integral role that handheld technology could play in improved program facilitation, monitoring, or data gathering and recording. The NetHope 2017 Device Challenge grantees are:
Anudip Foundation for Social Welfare
Catholic Relief Services
Family Educational Services Foundation
Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT)
International Rescue Committee
Management Sciences for Health
The Nature Conservancy
Norwegian Refugee Council
Plan International USA
Save the Children Federation, Inc.
SOS Children’s Villages International
Number of Grantees: 17
Surpassing the original goal of 20,000 devices, grantees have collectively procured 37, 545 devices to date. Of those, 27, 946 devices have been deployed to date.
Estimated usage hours: 18,737,720
Surpassing the original goal of 100,000 direct beneficiaries, grantees have directly reached 133,116 beneficiaries and counting.
NetHope is extremely proud of meeting and surpassing the original goal of 50% female direct beneficiaries. Grantees have collectively reached 51% female direct beneficiaries!
Total indirect beneficiaries to date: 24,452,222
We thank all applicants for participating in the NetHope 2017 Device Challenge.
Please see the NetHope Press Release for the selected award winners.
NetHope would like to thank the Google.org and Tides Foundation for providing the generous grant funding for this program.
More information about how grant award winners were selected.
For Addtional FAQs: Please refer to the NetHope 2017 Device Challenge Program Q&A document.
Project Name: Digital Inclusion of Young Aspirants (DIYA)
Focus: Financial inclusion and education project using digital devices.
Area(s) of Impact: India
Anudip transforms lives by creating aspirational livelihoods through digital inclusion in emerging economies. Large-scale unemployment, lack of penetration of new economy benefits, and stable occupational opportunities force marginalized youth from rural and peri-urban locations to relocate to Indian cities.
The majority of these 100-million educated youth are unable to compete with the urban work force due to their education quality, trade knowledge, and absence of corporate awareness. The consequent lack in confidence and a stable income―especially in women―make them vulnerable to crime, drugs, early marriage, trafficking, and domestic abuse. In order to address these problems and increase its outreach among high-need communities of India, Anudip has been providing targeted skills training and job placement services for these youth from impoverished communities in new economy digital jobs and entrepreneurship.
With NetHope’s support, Anudip has introduced an innovative blended learning model to economically empower thousands of youth in internet-enabled e-commerce, retail, micro-finance, healthcare, hospitality, and manufacturing services through its Digital Inclusion of Young Aspirants (DIYA) initiative. Students have learned Basic IT, Digital and Financial Literacy, English Comprehension, and Workplace Readiness skills through a Learning Management System, gaming apps, creative sessions, a physical library, and mock interviews. Anudip maintains an impressive 70 percent+ job placement rate among program graduates.
Project Name: Digital Transformation of Haiti Social Assistance Services
Focus: Agriculture project to support efficient voucher services.
Area(s) of focus: Haiti
Communities affected by humanitarian emergencies or disasters often require food distribution to survive. However, this approach can be inefficient, and doesn’t allow families to make their own choices about which products they receive. Cash-voucher programs provide an efficient, sustainable way for vulnerable households to access food and other products of their choice, supporting beneficiaries, their families and local venders from whom products are sourced.
The Kore Lavi program, implemented by CARE in Haiti, improves vulnerable households’ access to locally produced foods. Using cash-vouchers, beneficiaries can buy fresh fruits and vegetables and make their own food choices. In turn, local farmers receive fair prices, participate in a stronger market and meet community needs.
To deal with the identified food-distribution and cash-voucher issues, CARE launched a program working with vulnerable families in five departments in Haiti using devices provided by NetHope to help improve and streamline voucher and food distribution systems, resulting in greater efficiency and impact, and giving beneficiaries more agency and dignity. This initiative uses a technological solution to automate and streamline food voucher redemption and monitoring including phones with built-in biometric sensors to beneficiaries (organized in village saving and loan associations, or VSLAs); point-of-service/biometrics to venders; and tablets to local actors and community leaders.
The program supports more than 18,000 beneficiary households – approximately 90,000 individuals – served by 135 staple food vendors. The devices also support dissemination of information related to markets, nutrition, food availability, standards of safety net services, and a service feedback/complaints mechanism.
Through the improved digitalized/streamlined evoucher operation, beneficiaries will have direct access to social protection services, without overdependency on project field staff.
Project Name: Girls Rock
Focus: Education and literacy program using the ABC curriculum “Alphabet by Cellphone.”
Area(s) of impact: Niger
Illiteracy, especially for women and girls, significantly hinders all aspects of livelihoods, food security, and overall well-being. Niger’s literacy rates are among the worst in the world with a national average of 71.3 percent. Adolescent girls are especially vulnerable, since they are often held back from school to assist with childcare and household chores.
Mobile phones provide a unique opportunity to address these constraints to adult literacy in sub-Saharan Africa. SMS allows adults and adolescents to practice their reading and writing skills in local languages. In addition, mobile phones allow rural communities to become active participants in the information process, with SMS 1/7 the price of calling, providing a financial incentive to use mobile phones as a platform for literacy.
The funding provided through NetHope enhances the ongoing Pasam-Tai project, which piloted the use of cell phones via the ABC curriculum “Alpha a Base de Cellulaire” (“Alphabet by Cell Phone”). The ABC approach to literacy improves literacy among rural populations with mobile phones are an ideal platform for improving literacy rates among adolescents and adults, putting to practice reading and writing skills they acquire during “regular” classroom literacy classes.
Pasam-Tai implemented literacy trainings in all its villages, but only introduced the ABC curriculum and cell phones as a learning tool to 50 percent of the targeted villages. To date, learners in ABC villages increased their reading skills by 100 percent, while those in non-ABC villages lagged behind at 69 percent. Similarly, after one year of classes, ABC villages scored 32 points higher on arithmetic tests than non-ABC villages. Building off these successes, CRS was able to reach an additional 2,700 adolescent girl learners.
Using NetHope funding to extend the ABC curriculum to more adolescents without phones of their own to cement their literacy skills also the added benefit of fostering community engagement. At the household level, vulnerable women and girls who receive these devices will have increased access to hygiene, agriculture, health and nutrition messages, especially key messages around maternal and child health and nutrition.
Project Name: Learning Tech for Refugees
Focus: Education program to increase enrollment, attendance and learning outcomes of refugees.
Area(s) of Impact: Turkey, Ireland
Concern Worldwide is focusing on serving refugee populations in Turkey and in Ireland with their NetHope Device Challenge funding.
Connecting Refugees in Turkey
More than 40 percent of the 830,000 school-aged Syrian children across Turkey are out of school and this percentage is even higher in some provinces. The most vulnerable children are in need of innovative programs to support integration into the Turkish formal education system, language learning, literacy, social cohesion, and psychosocial wellbeing.
Concern is helping these children become ready for the public school system through the integration of digital devices and educational content.
Connecting Refugees in Ireland
Asylum seekers and persons recognized as refugees face significant barriers in engaging in Irish life: language, limited financial resources, social isolation, racism, and lasting effects of trauma. It is particularly difficult for people to access employment, education, and obtain housing and navigate a complicated welfare system.
By providing access via laptops to refugees this program will assist integration into Irish society via online services and support e.g. education, health, employment, legal entitlements, accommodation and culture. The devices will be given to people in the asylum process and who have been recognized as refugees, selected using suitability and impact criteria. The program is focused on women and girls, in particular, with whom the IRC has worked with through their integration programs (housing, education and employment). Assistance and training is being given to recipients so that they can make the best use of the device to improve their new life in Ireland. This access to the laptops and information has been life changing for program participants.
Read more about this project:
Project Name: Technology-Based Deaf Education
Focus: Education project to provide access to education and literacy development for the deaf.
Area(s) of Impact: Pakistan
The literacy rate of Pakistan’s deaf children, estimated in 2010 as comprising upwards of 1 million profoundly deaf school-age children, lags far behind that of their hearing peers due to the scarcity of educational programs and deaf education resources, and the inability of parents to foster language development in their deaf children.
It has been estimated that less than five percent of Pakistan’s deaf children attend school and become literate, with the rate of attendance being much lower for deaf girls.
Literacy and language development have been further hindered amongst deaf children in Pakistan due to the lack of sign language-based educational materials and teachers capacitated to educate the Deaf.
Digital and communication technologies enable unprecedented access to educational and teaching resources for improving literacy and language development for Deaf children, especially in rural areas where access to deaf education is extremely limited. Since 2013, FESF’s Technology-Based Education (TBDE) program has bridged the gap in deaf education for the deaf children in Pakistan.
Through the NetHope Device Challenge grant, FESF has expanded its reach to provide a more comprehensive solution for the lack of educational resources, and a full complement of TBDE resources were packaged, loaded onto low-cost computer units, and disseminated to schools with deaf and special education needs children in schools and Deaf Community Centers across all of Pakistan, reaching over 15,000 direct beneficiaries to date.
The funding has helped build capacity in Deaf educators through teacher training tutorials. It has also improved quality of life and opened the door to previously unattainable future employment and economic opportunities.
Through the grant from NetHope, FESF has also been able to increase the literacy rates amongst deaf girls who are unable to attend school by providing access to learning materials in their homes. NetHope would like to congratulate FESF on winning a 2018 WISE award for their efforts.
Project Name: FINCA Tanzania Device Challenge
Focus: Project to effectively use internet-enabled devices to scale financial inclusion for rural, underserved markets.
Area(s) of Impact: Tanzania
When people can save, borrow, and conduct basic financial transactions, they thrive, as do their families and communities. Responsible and affordable financial services enable people to start or grow a business, purchase critical goods and services, plan for the future, and weather the unexpected.
At the community level, financial services catalyze job creation, alleviate poverty, and advance economic and social development. Yet affordable, responsible, and well-designed financial services are still out of reach for Tanzania’s population of 53 million, half of whom live on less than $2 USD per day, especially women and the rural poor.
Technology has helped usher in mobile money in markets in East Africa, specifically Tanzania, but the money transfer and cash in/out services offered on this channel are often expensive and address only a small portion of the financial services needed. The result is that full-service banking and the formal economy remains the reserve of the upper strata of the market, with disproportionate outreach to males and urban communities. Where mobile savings and loans are offered, mobile loan interest rates can reach upwards of 240 percent effective APR.
Key to this strategy is the use of tablets, provided through this NetHope Device Challenge grant. Tablets make it possible for FINCA staff, agents, or other partners to open accounts, extend credit, provide financial education, and conduct banking transactions anywhere, any time. They allow FINCA’s clients to build financial confidence and knowledge, access mobile savings and credit products, and transact on the devices.
Support from NetHope has accelerated the pace of financial inclusion in key markets as over 350,000 individuals—especially women, the rural poor, and the unbanked—will access FINCA’s financial services. Insights gained through this project are allowing FINCA to further scale and replicate the model across other underserved markets.
Project Name: Technology Enabled Girl Ambassadors (TEGA)
Focus: Livelihood project for girls to collect information via survey from peers.
Area(s) of Impact: India, Bangladesh, Nigeria
When designing solutions for the world’s girls, governments, private sector companies and NGOs often don’t have the means to listen to girls directly because conventional research methods may not reach her. As a result, programs are designed, implemented and evaluated without girls’ voices directly informing them.
To address this challenge, international nonprofit, Girl Effect, invented Technology Enabled Girl Ambassadors or TEGA—a mobile based, girl-led research methodology to unlock insights that might otherwise be lost or not included when collecting data in traditional ways. It works by employing and training girls aged 17-24, using bespoke smartphones, to become Market Research Society (MRS) qualified researchers and TEGAs. Operating within their own communities, TEGAs conduct interview research—collecting video, audio and qualitative data—that is instantly transferred to a data hub where it can be viewed and programmatically analyzed. This unique approach provides insights on communities through a new female-led lens—unlocking open and honest conversations that might otherwise be lost or not included when collecting data in traditional ways.
Insights collected by TEGAs across the world have helped Girl Effect and other organizations better understand the reality of girls’ lives, and the community around her, informing product and program design, by leading development organization programs such as DFAT and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The NetHope Device Challenge grant has enabled the provision of better technology resources for Girl Effect’s TEGAs, not only in existing networks in Nigeria, Rwanda and Malawi, but also in newly launched networks in India, Bangladesh and Tanzania.
As a result, the speed and quality of data collected by TEGA is improving, and Girl Effect has been able to develop a brand new in-app support center to help TEGAs tech troubleshoot and support themselves during research. The funding has also allowed for the testing of innovations including TEGA Selfie, an exciting, new lighter-touch pilot of TEGA where girls self-report and interview a panel of family and friends over several months. TEGA Selfie has great potential for scale and we are looking forward to the next development phase.
Project Name: Missing Maps
Focus: Map communities under the Missing Maps project, contributing to open data to be used to inform NGO programming and government service delivery.
Area(s) of Impact: Bangladesh, Benin, Botswana, Colombia, The Gambia, Guinea, Haiti, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Peru, Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda, Zambia
Huge swathes of many of the most vulnerable places in the world do not exist on any map. This missing map data can have significant consequences, including omission from survey sampling and censes, being left out of urban and service delivery planning, and leading to less than optimal decision making in planning development interventions. Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) works in multiple countries in the developing world to help fill this gap by building the capacity of local people to map their own communities. HOT works by deploying specialists to the field to provide training in OpenStreetMap data collection, mapping tools, and open data concepts to local partners, including academic institutions, government officials, and community volunteers.
In 2015, HOT co-founded the Missing Maps program together with the American Red Cross, British Red Cross, and MSF, to fill in blank areas on the map comprehensive, micro-level detail together with the people who live there. Missing Maps is a collaborative mapping project with three steps:
In many countries, HOT volunteers lack the basics - devices such as phones, laptops, and GPS units required for mapping. Through the NetHope Device Challenge, HOT was able to support 22 OpenStreetMap communities in 20 countries. The range of projects and communities HOT has impacted has been astounding ranging from South Sudanese and Congolese refugee response in Uganda, youth empowerment in The Gambia, epidemiological mapping for the Lassa virus in Benin, malaria mapping in Botswana, territorial management in Colombia, waste management and costal embankment, sustainable city planning in Bangladesh, disaster planning in Haiti, flood mapping in Mozambique and Nigeria, cholera response in Zambia, and cultural heritage preservation and education in Peru.
Project Name: PRO-Jeunes
Focus: Education and financial inclusion project to increase the economic well-being of youth by enabling them to generate income and assets.
Area(s) of Impact: Côte d’Ivoire
Due to years of forced idleness, most youth in Ivory Coast lack the skills, knowledge, and resources to grasp employment opportunities, while private sector partners struggle to find suitably trained employees and entrepreneurs. This idleness, combined with inadequate education, low quality of vocational training, limited access to business development services, and a lack of initiatives that would introduce youth to private sector entities, hinders them from realizing a full spectrum of opportunities.
Demographic pressure in the form of an additional 350,000 job seekers entering the labor force each year means there are far too many youth for the jobs available.
The PRO-Jeunes project leverages the bundled services approach, providing business and employment readiness training to 10,000 disadvantaged youth ages 15-24 over the course of five years. At least 60 percent of the participants are young women. Other vulnerable populations, including disabled persons, minorities, and unemployed youth with little to no formal education, are also included. The IRC expects a minimum of 60 percent of beneficiaries to increase their income and assets, ultimately benefiting entire families through their economic impact.
Project Name: Empowering Community Health Workers in Rural Madagascar and Malawi to Provide Quality Frontline Health Services
Focus: Project to strengthen community level health services.
Area(s) of Impact: Madagascar, Malawi
Access to health care in rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa can be extremely limited, endangering the health and lives of residents, and contributing to high morbidity and mortality for women and children under 5 years old in particular. Many African countries use community health workers (CHWs) to extend basic health services to women, children, and men when they cannot easily access health facilities.
Existing resources within MSH’s projects currently provide for the distribution of smartphones to 50 CHWs in Madagascar and 1,000 CHWs in Malawi. MSH is using the NetHope Device Challenge funds to increase the reach of the planned interventions to an additional 1,600 more CHWs via the USAID Mikolo program in Madagascar and the USAID ONSE program in Malawi that together serve approximately 1,141,000 women and children in their communities. Using the open-source CommCare (www.commcarehq.org) software on Android phones, with integration of other mhealth activities, MSH will strengthen the capacity of CHWs to provide quality frontline health services to women and children under five.
The devices are being used to strengthen data collection to accelerate reduction of maternal, infant, and child morbidity and mortality in both countries. Implementation of CommCare programming has demonstrated improved health worker performance and service quality, as well as program efficiency.
The devices and program are also increasing connection between CHWs and their supervisors and health facilities. The health system sees benefits from the program through increased ability to supervise CHW activities and respond to information learned through supervisory modules. The gains in quality and availability of data will feed up through multiple levels of the public health system with the program being rolled out and handed over to local health partners in Madagascar and Malawi.
Project Name: Technology for South Sudanese Refugees (Tech4SSR)
Focus: Refugee response project to provide access to mobile money services, learning tools, and data collection.
Area(s) of Impact: Uganda
Mercy Corps’ Technology for South Sudanese Refugees (Tech4SSR) program is putting mobile devices into the hands of South Sudanese refugees across three settlements in Northern Uganda’s West Nile region, providing unfettered access to the benefits of mobile money services, visual learning tools, and improved settlement management by increasing the speed at which data is turned into action.
Mercy Corps has enlisted the help of Village Traders, quick learners with an entrepreneurial spirit, to sell phones to individuals at a reduced rate, register SIM cards, become mobile money agents, develop solar charging business models, and provide training to other users in the community. Users are being trained on basic digital literacy, financial awareness, and budgeting. The phones are also being provided to individuals including Agro-Agents, Village Savings and Loan Association members, entrepreneurs, Community Safety Action Groups, Gender-Based Violence Preventers, and Peace and Conflict Facilitators.
As a result of the NetHope Device Challenge funding, Mercy Corps is expected to provide over 21,000 phones directly to individuals living in the Bidibidi, Palorinya, and Rhino Camp Settlements. Working in partnership with DanChurchAid, Mercy Corps has deployed over 15,000 devices to date with 59 percent of direct beneficiaries being female.
Project Name: Using Technology to Conserve Forests and Improve Lives in East Kalimantan, Indonesia
Focus: Civic engagement and environmental project (SIGAP) to empower communities to improve their lives by securing rights to access and manage their forests.
Area(s) of Impact: Indonesia
Tropical forests are disappearing in Indonesia faster than anywhere else on Earth. The widespread conversion of these lands to agricultural and logging use requires community engagement on an unprecedented scale to salvage irreplaceable habitat and to safeguard the natural resources that traditional villages have depended on for centuries.
With support from the NetHope 2017 Device Challenge grant, The Nature Conservancy is helping to strengthen the capacity of Indonesian village communities to protect their forests through an innovative community planning and engagement program (SIGAP) that is enhanced through the use of smartphone technology. The Nature Conservancy has distributed 1,700 smartphones to community change agents in 160 villages (and over 500,000 villagers, government and partner stakeholders) who are adopting the SIGAP “inspiring community actions for change” approach to better protect and manage forests, improve livelihoods and improve the capacity and self-sufficiency of villages to create and implement development plans.
Through the use of smartphones, remote communities in the provinces of East Kalimantan, Southeast Sulawesi, East Nusa Tenggara, and West Papua are revolutionizing how they communicate conservation strategies, increase local knowledge of forest protection and access lessons learned on sustainable village development from other communities.
The Nature Conservancy has charted a path to scale up further by introducing SIGAP to 300 villages, helping to improve forest management across 10,117,141 hectares (25 million acres) by 2020.
Project Name: Digital Opportunities for Refugees
Focus: Education and refugee response project to enhance education and employability skills programs.
Area(s) of Impact: Kenya, Jordan, Lebanon
The Digital Opportunities for Refugees program aims to provide services to people affected by displacement, be these refugees or vulnerable members of the host communities, across Jordan, Kenya and Lebanon.
When forced to flee their homes, those affected often lose their livelihoods, access to basic services and rights. Whether in camp situations, urban settings or repeatedly on the move, Involuntarily Displaced Persons (IDP) and refugees risk being further marginalized by a lack of opportunities to restore a sense of dignity and hope for the future.
NRC’s efforts target children and youth, defined roughly as being between 6 and 32 years of age. These groups face even more challenges as displacement often interrupts their education and, when protracted over time, their chances of returning to it. Their potential to positively contribute to society is not lost, but they often face dangerous alternatives affecting their safety and psychosocial well-being.
The Jordan office has used the NetHope Device Challenge grant to support activities in both its Education in Camps and Youth in Host Communities (YHC) projects. The YHC program established a computer lab in the center of Mafraq town. Since the establishment of the IT Lab in January 2018, Syrian refugees and Jordanian youth have accessed blended learning courses using the EDRAAK platform.
The tablets continue to be used by Syrian and Jordanian youth in Irbid and Mafraq governorates to gain skills to enhance their social engagement and employability. Volunteers are able to register new participants in remote community-based organizations through the use of the tablets. NRC has also integrated the devices into other face-to-face training workshops, extending the range of activities for the youth participants such as providing foundational English skills through the Duolingo platform. In addition, Syrian teachers have taken advantage of the devices to incorporate e-learning materials to enrich their learning plans and improve learning outcomes.
Project Name: Expanding MyWorth
Focus: Financial inclusion program using MyWORTH application to manage village savings group program.
Area(s) of Impact: Tanzania, Vietnam, Liberia
Pact has developed an Android phone app called MyWORTH that automates the accounting and governance functions of their Village savings group program called WORTH (Women Organizing Resources Together). WORTH is one of Pact’s most effective poverty-reduction tools, placing women at the center of their own solutions and helping them to build or accumulate assets with diversified income streams.
The NetHope Device Challenge has enabled Pact to pilot and scale up the use of the MyWORTH app across WORTH Savings groups and get phones into the hands of 1,600 female savings group members.
By decreasing transaction time, MyWORTH is increasing group productivity, improving management audits, and—most importantly—allowing faster turnover of the groups loan capital, escalating the women’s ascent from poverty. With additional investment for mobile money integration, MyWORTH provides group participants with the convenience of a phone-based ATM card, real-time access to group loans, and creates group and individual credit histories—transformative benefits for joining the formal economy. As additional benefit, the phones are also being used to browse the internet for information concerning different issues on sexual and reproductive health.
Project Name: Harnessing technology to improve rural schools in Guatemala
Focus: Education program using Endless Computers to help students access quality education and decrease school dropouts.
Area(s) of Impact: Guatemala
Plan International is a child-centered non-profit that has been working with local communities in Guatemala since 1978. Plan works with 499 rural and indigenous communities and focuses on strengthening the capacity of communities via staff that speak the local language, and promoting the active participation of children, especially girls, families, and communities, in long-term development processes.
In Guatemala, access to quality education is sub-standard and school dropout rates remain abysmal. In 2011, the national average of educational attainment in the country was 4.1 years. Despite notably high primary school enrollment rates (almost 100 percent), student enrollment drops by a half when entering secondary school. This problem is particularly acute in rural communities, where poverty, gender, and ethnicity compound the severity of the situation as only about 16 percent of Guatemalans have access to the internet. Less than 30 percent of rural indigenous girls are enrolled in secondary school as a result of limited schooling options, early marriage, pregnancy, and chronic poverty.
The NetHope Device Challenge funding has allowed Plan and their partner, Endless Computers, to provide students with better access to quality education and subsequently decrease school dropouts in rural secondary schools. Education centers received new computers and schools lacking electricity arranged to purchase power solutions. Onboarding via a “train the trainer” model training was provided for 100+ teachers, and a comprehensive approach involving the Ministry of Education, parents, students, and others in the community has helped the adoption of the new technology.
Project Name: Empowering Youth through Technology (TBC)
Focus: Youth education and development program providing access to training content through e-learning platforms.
Area(s) of Impact: Bangladesh, Ethiopia
Over 1.5 billion young people ages 14-25 are living in developing countries, and almost half of them are living in poverty. Large numbers of young people lack the skills, opportunities and networks they need to get decent jobs or build businesses so they can break the intergenerational cycle of poverty. Save the Children works across the globe to build deprived and at-risk adolescents’ and youth’s self-esteem, capabilities, and opportunities with programming in 34 countries, with flagship programs in Bangladesh and Ethiopia.
Through the NetHope Device Challenge, Save the Children have embedded information and communications technology (ICT) into existing programming in Bangladesh and Ethiopia to achieve scale and ensure success. This has been done by procuring devices, providing youth with access to training content through e-learning platforms, connecting youth to employment through job information and matching platforms, and promoting peer-to-peer training and participatory data collection to support learning efforts.
With funding from the NetHope Device Challenge, Save the Children is addressing the lack of access to market-driven, flexible vocational training for deprived youth with lower levels of education. With access to PCs and tablets, more than 11,000 deprived urban youth, between the ages of 16 and 24 in Dhaka, have been upskilled using an online e-learning platform to be developed under an Accenture-funded Skills to Succeed project developing skills in coding, software development, finance, and accounting. Over 65 percent of these graduates are placed in decent jobs, primarily within the ICT sector. In addition, Save the Children expects to reach an additional 50,000 youth indirectly through technological innovations such as new mobile applications.
The Empowering Youth Through Technology’s program goal in is to assist unemployed and underemployed youth ages 15-29 to skills, knowledge, and social capital that lead to increased income and economic self-sufficiency. This peer-led training and support group has been implemented in six regions and 30 woredas in Ethiopia, reaching 9,000 youth. The program focuses on providing market relevant skills training along with tailored life and technical skills to create viable livelihood prospects. Tablets purchased through the NetHope Device Challenge have been used by the volunteer youth facilitators to share content with participants, gather data, connect youth to employment opportunities. New PCs have been purchased for YES (Youth Economic Strengthening) centers allowing program participants to connect with e-learning, employers, job opportunities, and up to date information in ways that they were unable to do previously. Several thousand youth will benefit from this program with over 50 percent being female.
Project Name: Digital Learning for Digital Generation (DLDG) project
Focus: Education project using ICT to foster self-development through digital resources.
Area(s) of Impact: Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt
A pronounced gap between the demand of the job market and the academic and vocational training young people receive has contributed to a worrisome unemployment rate in sub-Saharan and Central Africa. In North Africa, trapped at a staggering 30.5 percent, the level is still the highest worldwide. Young people’s likelihood of finding employment or of building their own business is significantly increased if the individual has ICT knowledge and soft skills.
This project is using ICT to foster education and self-development for nearly 5,000 beneficiaries in West and Central Africa and over 2,000 in Middle East and North Africa region with over half of those being women. The NetHope Device Challenge grant has allowed for the purchase of new devices in existing computer labs lacking equipment in the SOS Children’s Villages in Morocco, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, as well as in labs created in the communities of SOS Children’s Villages Family Strengthening Programs (FSP).
The project uses an integrated approach of three main areas of intervention: 1) Basic Computer skills learning, 2) Deployment of a Digital Library, and, 3) School and support learning. Children, youth and adults, enrolled in this Digital Learning for Digital Generation (DLDG) project, are learning in an interactive way by gaining access to digital materials in English and French to encourage and re-establish a culture of reading. Early results have been promising with noticeable gains in academic performance, self-confidence, positive attitude, students’ capacity to focus, and their collaboration with other. By strengthening the ICT and soft skills, beneficiaries are coming out of the program with an increased chance of finding employment or building their own business.