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Skills for their future

Unlocking a better future

By 2030, more than half of all young people won’t have the basic skills needed to succeed in the workforce. For many reasons, girls and young women are particularly likely to be left behind, so Theirworld is dedicated to initiatives that will help them unlock a better future.

In many parts of the world, girls face considerable barriers to education. They might be discriminated against, forced into child marriage or child labour, or fall prey to sexual exploitation or trafficking. Around the world, 132 million girls are out of school, but this actually represents progress: there were over 200 million out of school in 1998.

Theirworld works to both advocate for the value of educating girls, and deliver skills to young women in underserved communities. We do this because unlocking opportunity for young women has benefits far beyond the economic advantages new skills can bring to individuals.

A girl with an education is less likely to be forced into child marriage, experience violence or suffer from poor health; she is more likely to be able to break free from the cycle of poverty, contribute to a country’s economic growth and have a healthy family.

132 million girls around the world are out of school

In 2016 Theirworld began its Code Clubs initiative in several parts of sub-Saharan Africa. We worked with local partners to teach girls a programme in online coding, as well as provide access to numeracy, literacy, art and music to support their formal education. They also received a healthy snack during the class to help their energy levels and improve concentration.

The programme reached girls in Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Nigeria, before expanding further to help young Syrian and Palestinian refugee students in Lebanon. By the end of 2018, 1,300 girls and young women had been trained in coding as a result of Code Clubs.

In 2019 Theirworld embarked on an ambitious initiative. We created a dedicated Digital Literacy Curriculum with a view to being able to help young people all over the world gain access to digital skills. Aimed at the 16-20 age range, the curriculum takes students through a range of topics, including making the most of productivity tools, using email and social media and staying safe online. Alongside this they receive guidance on career pathways they may want to pursue.


Impact

Skills for Their Future, and its predecessor programme Code Clubs, has helped over 3,000 young women gain technology skills across sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, and delivered training to over 100 teachers.

Skills for their future

Seeing the possibilities

We started to test and validate the curriculum through the Skills for Their Future programme, with a cohort in Tanzania. By partnering with local organisation Bringing Resources Across Communities (BRAC) we’ve been able to provide skills to 1,800 students, as well as training for 45 teachers. Moreover, we’re consulting with the Tanzanian government around integrating the programme into the national curriculum.

Skills for Their Future has since broadened its reach, bringing quality skills provision to Kenya & Nigeria (with our partner Youth For Technology) and Uganda (in partnership with Women in Technology Uganda). It means we’ve been able to help another 1,300 young women across 16 schools, as well as 60 teachers.

Local links mean the programme also incorporates careers mentoring and events with private companies, so students are able to see the benefits beyond their school days. Helping students see the possibilities of a future unlocked through education is the ultimate aim of Skills for Their Future.

Since 2020, of course, education programmes have faced considerable challenges as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. We’ve kept in close contact with our regional partners to ensure they’re able to do all they can to keep students connected to education. For example, during lockdown BRAC in Tanzania went door-to-door to more than a hundred families, with printed educational materials as well as advice on healthy routines that would help them and their families avoid infection.

In Uganda, Women in Technology Uganda combined door-to-door outreach, printed materials and online technology to ensure students’ isolation didn’t mean the end of their education. In Kenya and Nigeria, 100 teachers received training on transitioning their classes to digital learning environments through Youth for Technology Foundation’s ‘Locked Down, but Not Locked Out’ workshops.

Continuing to help students through the pandemic is symbolic of Theirworld’s determination to help young women build a better future for themselves and their families.

Thanks to our regional partners we’ve been able to unlock previously unimagined opportunities for thousands of girls. We’ll continue to build programmes to ensure the next generation can access the skills they need to succeed.

Fund the education shortfall

We need at least $75 billion a year for the next 10 years to end the global education crisis and meet the Sustainable Development Goal 4 timelines – but current aid to education is just $16bn a year.

If we want every child in the world to be in school by 2030, our leaders must step up and support innovative ways to fund the shortfall.

We’re calling on world leaders to prioritise education in their recovery plans because currently the numbers just don’t add up.

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