UNESCO’s YouthMobile Initiative at YouthConnekt Africa Summit 2018


Focused on supporting the efforts of young African App developers, the YouthMobile initiative hosted a workshop from 8 to 10 October 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda attracting 25 international youth participants from Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, South Sudan, and Rwanda, many of which are former YouthMobile students/trainees.

The workshop offered young people that participated in the YouthMobile initiative an opportunity to meet with peers from other African countries in fine tuning mobile applications from around the continent. “I learnt many new things. I enjoyed working on mobile App. It was really amazing! I liked the way our group shared different views," said Gaëlle, a young coder from Rwanda.

Led by a team of trainers from Kenya and Rwanda, and in cooperation with KLab Kigali, the participants worked in teams to improve and finalize mobile Apps developed by YouthMobile students to respond to pressing local needs and address sustainable development. After two days of intensive collaborative development, the participants were able to release final products, including mobile Apps such as “Spelling Phone”, aimed at improving learning outcomes for children; “Agro Assist”, providing farmers with the information they need; “Votestat”; “DK Hospital Management System”; “FitGirl”; and “Youth Mobile Prep”. The workshop has been very amazing!! said Hamza, from Abuja, Nigeria, “The facilitators have done a great work by guiding us through the group projects. I expect to learn more about Android Studio".

Launched in Rwanda in 2012 by President P. Kagame, the YouthConnekt Africa Summit is a platform created to empower the youth across Africa, and it brings together individuals coming from a variety of different backgrounds, be they artists, entrepreneurs, political leaders, students, innovators, youth with ICT skills, to mention just a few. The main objective of YouthConnekt Africa is to provide “youth with the skills, networks and information needed to scale their initiatives and gain meaningful employment”. The 2018 Summit emphasized the importance of creating positive socio-political and economic environments as enablers for the youth. Furthermore, the Summit offered regional support to youth programmes and to scale the YouthConnekt Initiative and its establishments across Africa.

Through a partnership between UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa and UNESCO Headquarters, the activity was carried out in the framework of the UNESCO Korea Funds-in-Trust project that aims to foster human and social development in Mozambique, Rwanda and Zimbabwe, through the use of information and communication technology (ICT), and, in particular, mobile learning. Different UNESCO Offices from Nairobi, Accra, Abuja and Maputo assisted in identifying former YouthMobile students to take part in this learning experience.

The UNESCO YouthMobile Initiative leverages computer science education and the widespread availability of mobile phones to empower its students. Young girls and boys are introduced to coding as both a resource to solve local issues and as a tool to develop complex learning skills.

The Information for All Programme (IFAP) was established in 2001 to provide a platform for international cooperation in the area of access to information and knowledge for the participation of all in the knowledge societies. IFAP is a unique UNESCO intergovernmental programme that focuses on ensuring that all people have access to information they can use to improve their lives.