The UNESCO Windhoek Office launched a ten-day training-of-trainers (ToT) in mobile application development, in partnership with the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service (MSYNS) and Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) through its division, the Namibia Business Innovation Institute (NBII). The training is organised within the framework of the UNESCO YouthMobile initiative aimed at equipping young people with skills and confidence to develop mobile apps for sustainable development.
The participants are going to form the first pool of trainers who will in turn train young people in all 14 regions of Namibia to produce mobile applications that can solve identified local issues of sustainable development.
The group of trainers comprises of 15 Youth Officers and computer instructors from the Multipurpose Youth Centres of MSYNS, and 12 trainee computer science teachers from the University of Namibia (UNAM) and members of the Developers’ Circle, drawn from UNAM, NUST and the International University of Management (IUM). The Circle brings together mobile development agents to share and develop ideas into useful local mobile applications.
The objectives of the training-of-trainers, running from 11 to 22 April 2016 at NBII, are to:
- Equip 27 trainers with the technical and pedagogical skills and knowledge to train young Namibians in mobile applications development and entrepreneurship.
- To empower the trainers, particularly women, to become coders and programmers who will train young Namibians in mobile applications development.
- To contribute to efforts in solving identified local issues of sustainable development especially those related to poverty reduction and climate change, and to reduce chronic youth unemployment through the sale of smart mobile applications and formation of small businesses.
The first day of the ToT was dedicated to setting up the Android development environment, an introduction to Object Oriented Programming, an overview of mobile application development and the main components of an Android application.
At the official opening of the training, Dr Jean-Pierre Ilboudo, Head of Office and UNESCO Representative to Namibia, emphasised the crucial role of ICTs and mobile applications in supporting sustainable development.
Dr Ilboudo called for all stakeholders to come together in support of the Youth Mobile Initiative. He said he was convinced that by having this training of trainers, the partners have set in motion the machinery that will help Namibian youth unleash their potential to develop mobile applications to solve local issues of sustainable development, generate income, create jobs for others and thus reducing youth unemployment and eradicating poverty. He added that the Initiative prioritises young women who are vastly underrepresented in this field.
The Head of the Windhoek Office thanked the Ministry of Sport, Youth and National Service for extending a hand of partnership to UNESCO and contributing to the success of the training workshop. Through the Youth Directorate, he said, the Ministry made a huge contribution by supporting the participation of Youth Officers from the various regions at this training.
Dr Ilboudo also thanked the Namibia University of Science and Technology, other partners from the government of Namibia, the University of Namibia, IUM, One Billion Africa, Physically Active Youth and TechGuys, for contributing to the training of trainers and to the YouthMobile initiative in different ways.
The training-of-trainers is focusing mainly on the technical aspects and will be followed by an e-Learning course which is being developed by the Centre for Teaching and Learning at NUST. The e-learning course is aimed at equipping the trainers with the pedagogical skills required to train the youth. The Centre is currently working on the course content in collaboration with NBII and One Billion Africa, in order to adapt it specifically to mobile applications development.
YouthMobile is an innovative UNESCO initiative that aims to engage a critical mass of young people to acquire basic technical skills and confidence to develop, promote, and sell locally relevant mobile applications (Apps) that address local issues of sustainable development.
Launched in 2014 by the Communication and Information Sector of UNESCO, the Initiative seeks also to provide an opportunity for young men and women to be introduced to entrepreneurship and to create viable employment opportunities in the mobile/Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) industry.
With activities already deployed in 17 countries worldwide, the global objective of the Initiative is to empower at least 25,000 young people to develop, distribute or sell mobile Apps for sustainable development by 2017.