Empowering African Youth

Empowering African Youth for a Sustainable Future  

Undoubtedly, the recent epidemic had a profound impact on the world, bringing socioeconomic progress to a standstill in every country. All age groups were equally affected by this existential crisis, but it was the younger generation that bore the majority of its consequences, suffering the most in the subsequent years.  

Amid these challenges, there emerged a silver lining for the youth. As the pandemic forced people to adapt to remote work and digital communication, young people had the opportunity to learn valuable digital skills that became increasingly marketable in a post-pandemic world. Equipped with diverse skills, the youth in Africa now have a greater capacity to shape their futures and overcome obstacles. 

Equipping African Youth with Green Skills 

According to the PRB’s 2022 report, more than 60% of Africa’s population is currently under the age of 25. Looking ahead to 2030, young Africans are projected to comprise 42% of the global youth population. This demographic reality poses undeniable challenges for policymakers: an increasing number of mouths to feed, bodies to keep healthy, and millions of job seekers waiting in line according to the World Economic Forum. Notably, there are concerns about how to equip youth for an ever-evolving knowledge economy. 

By cultivating a varied skill set, the youth significantly increase the likelihood of fostering sustainable and green economies, while also extending their socioeconomic influence within their regions. Thus, empowering the youth in Africa with education and skills training benefits them personally and holds the potential to transform their communities and contribute to the overall development of the region. These digital skills not only empower them to thrive in a rapidly changing job market but also provide them with the flexibility to work from anywhere in the world, opening new horizons and possibilities for their future careers. 

At Next Step Foundation, we’re dedicated to equipping youth with these essential skills, aligning with this year’s International Youth Day theme, for a brighter future. We are keenly aware of the pressing need to address these challenges and bridge the employability and skills gap, nurturing essential green skills for the youth. Through our impactful efforts, we aim to empower individuals with the necessary skills, training, and job opportunities. Empowering African youth with green skills is vital for accelerated development, combating poverty, and addressing climate challenges. These skills empower them to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals and create a climate-friendly world. 

Highlighting one of our remarkable projects from the previous year, in 2022, where we embarked on an important initiative that successfully trained over 150 young individuals in Tanga, Tanzania—a testament to our efforts spanning beyond Kenya to impact youth across East Africa and Africa. This significant project was made possible through the generous support of Fondation Botnar. Our comprehensive training program was carefully designed to provide these youths with skills in Digital and Cloud Computing skills, along with essential soft skills and job-readiness training. This accomplishment was a big step forward in our mission to empower young individuals. Expanding upon this achievement, we are thrilled to announce that even more exciting and ambitious projects are planned for this year, showing our strong dedication to nurturing growth and transformation among the youth we serve across the region and the continent. 

About the Author 

Daniel Ngugi is the Head of Inclusion and Development at the Next Step Foundation. Daniel believes in the transformative power of technology and its ability to offer sustainable development solutions. 

He actively contributes to the Kenya Business Disability Network’s Steering Committee and on the Board of Management at Naivasha Girls and Enaiposha Girls High School, providing valuable advice on inclusion matters. As an expert in inclusion and disability, he supports companies and organizations on their journey towards nurturing a culture of inclusion. 

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