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ADDIS ABABA - The Pan-African Youth Empowerment (PAYE) Conference gave 150 young people from 47 African countries the opportunity to meet with and learn from representatives from international and Pan-African institutions, corporations and academia.

The conference, held 22-24 August 2017, was co-hosted by SOS Children’s Villages International and the African Union.

 “Today, young people across Africa face an uncertain future, a lack of opportunity and a lack of ability to realise potential”, said Norbert Meder, CEO of SOS Children’s Villages International. “The young people participating in this conference have set out a strong outcome statement, which calls upon all of us to take action and ensure young people can find and create the opportunities they need.”
 
Albert Muchanga, African Union Commissioner of Trade and Industry, told the conference: “My message to the young people: I am listening very clearly, I am very attentive to the outcomes,” he said. “The three-day conference has given you, the youth, a voice and power to contribute in transforming challenges into opportunities. You know your potential. The three day conference has emboldened you to realise that potential.”

Of the African continent’s 1.2 billion people, an estimated 200 million are between ages 15 and 24, making employability a challenge at the global, regional and national levels.

Empowering young people is critical to give them the tools, experience and jobs they need to succeed in life. The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda Goal 8, Africa Union Agenda 2063 Aspiration 6 and SOS Children’s Villages Strategy 2030 Objective 3 provide a new opportunity to mobilise broad global partnerships to support action on a more significant scale.

A call for action

Based on the discussions at the conference, the youth participants developed outcomes which include calls to action for young people, governments, non-governmental organisations and corporations.
 
The outcome statement was presented by Winnifred Johnson, a young woman from Nigeria, who emphasised that young people in Africa have what it takes to face the challenge of youth employability and effect change: “Despite all the problems and struggles that young people in Africa are going through, it is true that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. We believe that Africa will rise and shine, powered by its young people.”

The participants will return home and share their findings, experiences and outcomes with their peers. The next step is up to them – to use this chance to reach out to governments, non-governmental organisations and companies, finding ways to work together to address the challenge of youth employability. A possible next step is for the outcome statement to be integrated within national and regional youth strategies.

In total, 250 people attended the conference. Representatives from companies as Allianz, DHL, Microsoft and Coca-Cola shared their insights on programmes that support young people at the start of their careers looking to build experience.

Children using new digital learning tools in the Open Space Literacy (OSL) classrooms now benefit from additional free e-learning material. Due to SOS Children's Villages ensuring access to quality education in Kenya, Longhorn Publishers has partnered with SOS Kenya in the areas of e-learning, advancing digital learning and in improving the quality of education. The content offered for free includes access to the e-book store and the e-learning platform.

Longhorn Publishers, the only listed publishing house in the region, was impressed by the fact that SOS is doing a commendable job to ensure numerous students in Kenya not only get access to education but also get quality education that impacts both their lives and the lives of the communities they live in through digital devices in OSL schools. The content is much needed as it is a great revision platform for learners in kindergarten, primary and secondary schools. The success has been proven: Children benefitting from the new digital learning tools in OSL classrooms demonstrated better literacy than their peers who were not using technology for learning. Interestingly, the students with access to technology in their classrooms also had better attendance.

Teach the teacher

To make the most of the material e-Learning techniques need to be learned not only by the students, but also by the teachers. Longhorn therefore held a trained teachers and SOS staff on the use of e-Learning material, modern ways of teachin including the integration of ICT in teaching and learning as well as the benefits of e-Learning in teaching and learning. “It will simplify my work and greatly help my pupils progress to the next level well equipped.”, one of the trainees stated. "I believe this is the way to go while focusing on strategic partnership to enhance the ultimate goal that ICT4D could bring in the organization. Currently education and learning has become portable while anybody could have in their hands through handheld devices."

What does the e-learning platform offer

The content offered by Longhorn offers general readership materials and curriculum specific titles for eight countries (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Malawi, Zambia, DRC Congo, Zimbabwe and South Sudan). “This is an excellent way of keeping the learners interested in school while increasing their intellectual capacity in a way they can relate.”, the headteacher says. The e-learning platform offers junked content and provides short revision notes alongside interactive revision questions, opener and other termly exams with auto-test, auto mark and auto-time capabilities. The platform can monitor students’ progress reports and identify students’ weaknesses and strengths for reward purposes.

At the moment, the app is available for use in Kenya. Content for other countries is currently being developed.

The e-book store

The e-book store is a platform that hosts more than 280 titles in various digital formats (audio book, interactive books, animated stories for children and standard epubs) enabling learners to diversify their studies in a much relaxed and interesting mode of study.

Access for children using Open Space Literacy (OSL)

The platform can be accessed online by children in the schools using both the OSL devices as well as their parents' mobile devices from the link http://ebooks.longhornpublishers.com or offline on the Longhorn e-readers app.

Users can subscribe for e-Learning materials monthly, termly or yearly for a small fee.

Currently, the project is being implemented in Eldoret, Mombasa and Nairobi Herman Gmeiner Schools. With a farther inclusion of the 28 schools implementing OSL in Nairobi.

 

On the 10th December 2016, SOS Children’s Villages Kenya partnered with global online transport company Uber for their 2016 giveback promotion #UberGiving. 

According to Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, Head of EMEA at Uber, the act of giving is often highly personal with people having all sorts of reasons to give time, money or goods. And yet, there’s been too many occasions where I’ve heard people not donate or volunteer because they don’t know how or due to uncertainty of impact, a lack of accessibility or the lack of knowledge on where to start.

UberGIVING campaign aimed at making it easier for people to donate items in need, and support the work of SOS Children’s Villages in Nairobi & Mombasa. The campaign, which Uber Kenya and SOS Children’s Villages Kenya aimed to make annual, focuses on providing people with the opportunity to give back by offering locally tailored donation and volunteering opportunities at a time where many would like to do good, yet may not know where to start.

Receiving the donations at the home was SOS Children's Village Director, Fredrick Ochieng, who thanked Uber for the timely gesture urging more companies to follow suit and offer similar support to such institutions.

"On behalf of the SOS Children's Villages in Nairobi & Dar es Salaam, I'd like to thank Uber for choosing SOS as your partners on this noble initiative. Through such support you inspire the caregivers and children to work harder in order to achieve more," said Ochieng.

Loic Amado, Uber's new General Manager for East Africa who was present at the SOS Village in Buruburu Nairobi said, "We are proud to support the SOS Children's Villages Nairobi, Mombasa, Dar es Salaam and Watoto Childcare Ministries in Kampala enabling them to continue the good work that that they are doing and even achieve more." Amado who was accompanied by Uber Staff and Uber driver-partners also gave SOS Village in Buruburu a corporate donation of toiletries, food and personal care products.

Amado further thanked all the riders who through a simple tap on the Uber App participated in UberGIVING. "A special thanks to our driver-partners who made this initiative possible by picking up all the donations and delivering them to the homes. We all came together to make a difference," concluded Amado.

We at SOS Children’s Villages Kenya thank Uber Kenya for this great partnership we look forward to continue partnering as we support the children of Kenya. .

For more than a decade, Xellia has been supporting SOS Children’s Villages. SOS Children’s Villages has grown, promoting the rights of children around the world, sending emergency teams to over 133 countries and territories and helping more than 2 million children and their families by providing them with a safe place to live, learn and grow up.

Xellia has selected SOS Children’s Villages as its nominated charity due to its status as a nonpolitical, non-religious and not-for-profit organization.

As stated by Xellia’s CEO, Carl-Åke Carlsson “It is in our corporate DNA to help people in need, as we strive to contribute with the development of medicines to fight life-threatening diseases and ultimately save lives. The partnership with SOS Children’s Villages is felt by us a natural fit for our company”.

From January 2015 to January 2018, Xellia has entered a partnership with SOS Children’s Villages to sponsor the SOS Medical Center Eldoret in Kenya. Through the partnership, Xellia commits to bringing healthcare to patients who are located in an underdeveloped area and in desperate need of care.

Working with SOS Children’s Villages, Xellia is able to have a direct impact on helping struggling families care for their children as the Center not only aims to treat illnesses, but also works to increase education within the community and prevent life-threatening diseases.

At the SOS Medical Center Eldoret, there are currently 10 full-time employees, and an average of 6000 patients visiting the clinic each year. At the Eldoret Medical Center, which has been in operation since 2011, the most common aliments of patients who visit the clinic are; respiratory tract infections, malaria, diabetes and hypertension, HIV, sexually transmitted infections and waterborne diseases.

The SOS Medical Center not only treats the illnesses that patients arrive with, but also provides patients with the possiblity for cancer screening, HIV testing and other diagnostic and monitoring tests for pregnant women in the community. As the Center also faces the local communities’ health concerns through door-to-door campaigns to educate and address illness awareness and prevention, the value of the SOS Medical Center Eldoret is truly incalculable. As explained by, Paula Guillet de Monthoux, Managing Director at SOS Children’s Villages Denmark “Creating sustainable financial and social progress in developing countries is only possible with the help of long-term committed partners such as Xellia.”