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IBM and Digital Opportunity Trust collaborate to help 40,000 youth in 8 countries

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Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) is announcing a timely collaboration with IBM to empower young women and men in the Middle East and Africa with the digital skills, workforce readiness proficiencies, and business knowledge needed for successful careers, social wellbeing, and economic growth.

DOT will work with local organizations to help young people tap into IBM’s free Open P-TECH’s (ptech.org) career readiness curricula. The platform equips learners with competencies in foundational technologies used in all industries, such as AI, cloud computing and cybersecurity, along with professional workplace skills like design thinking, teaming, and presentations.

Together, the organizations will aim to reach at least 40,000 young people in 8 countries – Jordan, Lebanon, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi and Ghana. 70% of the youth will be young women.

The pandemic has laid bare the gaps and inequitable access to the digital literacy, employment and entrepreneurship skills that youth require to innovate, compete for jobs, or start businesses in a digital economy. The gender gap is extreme – with women over 50% less likely to be online than men in least developed countries where 390 million women remain unconnected.

Poised to change this are IBM’s new Open P-TECH digital education platform with its potential to scale within formal and informal education systems, and the support of DOT’s network of young leaders with the facilitation, coaching and peer-to-peer talents that are critical to the effectiveness, application and retention of online learning.

Hossam Seif El-Din, General Manager, IBM Middle East and Pakistan said: “The impact of the pandemic has demonstrated the importance of technology in business and society. Challenges remain and access to technology such as AI and cloud computing is essential for people to create opportunities and help communities to innovate. Public-private collaborations are critical in allowing all communities to have this kind of access and it’s a point of pride for IBM that we are able to work closely with DOT to empower people across the Middle East and Africa with these skills and technology.”

The collaboration brings together complementary experience and assets: IBM with its technology and business expertise, and DOT with its extensive channels to youth and local community ecosystems. DOT’s research shows that young people with these skills become the leaders and contributors to the digital transformation of their communities, countries, and economies.

DOT Founder and CEO Janet Longmore said: “DOT and IBM have a history working together and developing the mutual trust that underpins successful collaboration. This partnership, around the Open P-TECH platform, is an example of how the private sector and a social enterprise with “feet on the street” can mobilize their assets to benefit youth and young women in marginalized, rural and remote communities. We share a belief that youth want opportunities to be the innovators and catalysts of digital transformation, shaping the future of work in an inclusive world.”

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