» UNESCO Trains Young Women Leaders in Burkina Faso in Mobile App Development
02.11.2016 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

UNESCO Trains Young Women Leaders in Burkina Faso in Mobile App Development

©UNESCO/M. Piccio

ICT use, development, and growth are determining factors of growth in West African countries. Promoting their use and their dissemination in vital areas such as the fight against poverty is crucial for youth, especially for girls.

In this context, in July and August 2016, UNESCO supported the African Youth Network, an African NGO promoting information and education for youth in Burkina Faso, in the development of training sessions for young girls who are leaders of local associations on the use of mobile applications in the fight against poverty. This training enabled 104 young girls to better understand how mobile applications are designed and how they work.

Following this training session, 20 among the 104 initial participants were selected to be trained on the conception and development of mobile applications. The 20 young girls were selected in function of their commitments and responsibilities in their associative structures.

The objective of the training, which occurred working on computers and smartphones connected to broadband, was to introduce the trainees to the design and sharing of mobile applications through various platforms frequently used in Burkina Faso. During this session the girls were trained in the basic techniques of designing and sharing mobile applications with useful content for young girls. They also learned how to make inquiries via SMS and how to use and share with their peers existing and effective web applications, as well as tablets and smartphones for job seekers.

The training focused on the optimal use of common applications for job searches, information sharing, the development of solidarity amongst women in ICTs, and research of promising sectors for the empowerment of young girls. The various funds and institutions for financing income-generating activities of women in Burkina Faso were also analyzed in depth. Understanding and learning to develop mobile applications and general IT applications and the Web empowered the young girls by giving them the means to understand the services offered by ICTs and to create or design new ones.

This capacity building initiative is part of UNESCO’s YouthMobile Initiative and The Information for All Programme (IFAP). The UNESCO YouthMobile Initiative, created in 2014, offers introductory courses in computer programming (learning-to-code) and problem solving (coding-to-learn). The initiative targets young boys and girls to acquire basic technical skills and the necessary confidence for the development, promotion and marketing of mobile applications that address local sustainability issues. By 2017, the initiative’s overall objective is to allow at least 25,000 young people to develop the skills of the 21st century to fully participate in addressing the challenges of sustainable development in their communities. The initiative introduces young people to entrepreneurship and to create viable employment opportunities in the mobile phone industry and ICT Sector. The Information for All Programme, is an intergovernmental programme created in 2000 by UNESCO, which aims to mobilize new opportunities of the information age to create equitable societies through better access to information. The Information for all programme works in close collaboration with other intergovernmental organizations and international NGOs, in particular with those that are specialized in the management and preservation of information for its promotion in local communities.

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