From 12 to 22 August 2014, UNESCO, in partnership with Zain, The Dev School of Kenya, and the University of Juba, hosted its first YouthMobile workshop on mobile app development for 40 university students in South Sudan. The YouthMobile Initiative empowers young people with the skills and confidence to build mobile applications for sustainable development. In South Sudan, participants were able to create 10 mobile apps that addressed locally-relevant challenges such as peace, youth unemployment and literacy.
The 10-day training took place at the University of Juba in South Sudan, where Ms Martha Chumo, Director of The Dev School, conducted an extensive workshop on mobile app development using the globally renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) App Inventor curriculum.
All 40 participants successfully completed the beginner-level portion of the MIT curriculum, allowing for the creation of basic mobile applications. For the closing ceremony held on 23 August, the participants divided into teams in order to develop and present mobile applications for peace, youth unemployment, literacy and culture.
Dona Apiyo and Ponny Rose Lupai, aged 25 and 28, proudly presented a mobile app that served as a game and an educational tool for children to learn about the flag of South Sudan. The app allowed users to draw the South Sudan flag and learn the meaning behind each of the flag’s colours.
Rana Najmaldin and Poni Wani, both 22 years old, chose to develop a mobile app that effectively communicates information on South Sudan as a nation while promoting the concept of peace among South Sudanese people.
Students started developing their mobile applications on day four of the 10-day training, giving each team approximately one week to develop the application. For many students, the concept of using ICTs and mobile phones for development was a new one.
Maria Chana, a 19 year-old YouthMobile participant, expressed her interest in pursuing a career using mobile app development in the future: “I always wanted to work in IT and this has given me the [motivation] to move forward. I plan to go ahead and teach more people [app development] where I come from. I'm really grateful." - Maria Chana.
Ms Muyou Charity Lady described the training as not only helpful for herself but also for other young women looking to gain the right “opportunities and skills to create new developments in IT, social work and education”.
Ms Araba Victoria Gunga proudly recommended mobile app development training for young people, commenting that: “[mobile app development] is really something different that I have never learned before”.
Final presentations of all the mobile apps developed were made at the closing ceremony, held at the College of Computer Science and Information at the University of Juba.
In addition to the final presentations, the closing ceremony consisted of a series of notable remarks from Mr. David Lukudu (University of Juba), Martha Chumo (The Dev School), Prof. Pauline Elaine Riak (University of Juba), Mr. Basel Manasrah (Zain South Sudan), Mr. Salah Khaled (UNESCO) and Hon. Rebecca Joshua Okwachi (Ministor of Telecommunication and Postal Services).
UNESCO and Zain South Sudan were proud to see 10 total mobile apps developed as a result of this beginner-level training.
The YouthMobile workshop was largely a success because of its partnership with Zain South Sudan, a local mobile telecommunications provider, and the University of Juba.
Zain generously provided 20 Android mobile phones with prepaid data access to the participating students and the University of Juba supported the initiative with the provision of 40 computers.
In the upcoming months, UNESCO and Zain hope to replicate this training workshop in South Sudan and neighboring countries in order to reach the maximum number of young people with app development training.
By 2017, YouthMobile aims to have empowered at least 25,000 young people worldwide with the skills and confidence to develop, promote and sell at least 5,000 mobile apps.
UNESCO is currently organizing similar YouthMobile workshops in Kenya, Nigeria, Jordan and Lebanon.
To find out more on this initiative please follow us on Twitter : JubaYouthMobile.
Openly-licensed photos from the Workshop are available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/125945777@N02/.
UNESCO is organizing similar YouthMobile workshops in Kenya, Nigeria and Lebanon.
Tel : +211 911 066002/922066002
Email : l.gachungi(at)unesco.org