Young African Leaders Initiative and Microsoft Africa Development Centre partner to improve youth digital skills

Young African Leaders Initiative and Microsoft Africa Development Centre partner to improve youth digital skills

The Microsoft Africa Development Centre (ADC) and the Young African Leaders Initiative Regional Leadership Centre East Africa (YALI) have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate to provide digital skills programs and solutions to young leaders in the region.

According to the MoU, the ADC will provide YALI participants with capacity-building opportunities in digital skills such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, access to its innovation hub at the Microsoft Garage and avail mentorship and training opportunities. YALI, for its part, will collaborate with Microsoft ADC to develop the digital skills programs and will avail training participants and its alumni for training and idea competitions. The YALI alumni will also seek to spread Microsoft’s digital literacy training to other youth.

Kenyatta University VC and Microsoft ADC MD shaking hands on MOU to bring digital skills to the Young African Leaders Initiative

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Catherine Muraga, the ADC Managing Director, noted that the partnership is another step in the organisation’s mission to improve digital skilling for African youth.

“Partnerships are a vital part of our mission as Microsoft to empower everyone to do more. YALI provides essential skills to build a better future, and we are excited to contribute to improving digital skills among their participants. Preparing young leaders with the knowledge to excel within an increasingly digital-first landscape is a great way to set the continent up for success within the global economy,” said Muraga.

Housed at the Kenyatta University for the East Africa region, YALI participants will benefit from skills-building programs co-created by ADC with the intention of improving their digital capabilities as part of their training to add more excellent value to society through sustainably impacting both public and private sector.

Prof. Paul Wainaina, the Kenyatta University Vice Chancellor, said: “The engagement between the Young African Leaders Initiative and the ADC is an opportunity to grow the digital skills of our trainees while augmenting the vision and goals of both YALI and the ADC. It is also a great opportunity to engage in designing training modules for our program’s current and future participants.”

The Africa Development Centre, Microsoft’s premier engineering arm in Africa, is already implementing various projects to improve digital skills, including the recently concluded Game of Learners university coding competition and several other initiatives from the elementary school level into the workplace.

“Our digital skilling efforts align with YALI’s vision of providing access to all emerging leaders regardless of socio-economic status. We are actively investing in creating and fulfilling opportunities for all Africans in the drive towards continental digital transformation,” added Muraga.

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Microsoft launches student hackathon, targets solutions for the health sector

Microsoft launches student hackathon, targets solutions for the health sector

University students from across Kenya and some parts of Africa can now apply to participate in season 4 of the Microsoft Africa Development Centre’s (ADC) Game of Learners (GOL) student hackathon competition. The GOL initiative provides an opportunity for African university students, aspiring software engineers, and solution builders to improve their technical and coding abilities while creating solutions to current challenges facing the continent and the world.

GoL student hackathon Season 4

In this year’s student hackathon competition, participants will be working to develop possible technology solutions that can address different health challenges, including how to improve healthcare service provision in their localities or other parts of the world. The program runs as a 5-week hackathon with teams captained by Microsoft Learn Student Ambassadors crafting the innovations while receiving technical training from Microsoft’s professionals.

student hackathon gol microsoft

Since we launched Game of Learners four years ago, we have seen incredible development in the learner’ skills through each season as they create incredibly clever solutions to some of Africa’s pressing problems using Microsoft technology,” said Ruth Ferland, Senior Program Manager at ADC, and the founder of the Game of Learners Program. “This year’s theme will allow the participants to plug into an area that has enormous potential to impact lives across the continent and indeed around the world.”

The students will benefit from the instruction of 32 coaches and more than 20 advisors who will guide them through the process of learning new technologies and building their solutions. The coaches, mentors, judges, speakers, and trainers will consist of volunteers from Microsoft and partners, who for season 4 will include PSI and AMREF Health Africa.

Winning teams

At the end of the season, the winning team will be eligible for awards, including collaboration with GOL Season 4 partners to advance their solution and entry into the Microsoft Imagine Cup, where they will present their innovation on a global stage.

student hackathon Game of Learners hackathon logo

This partnership with Microsoft is part of a larger initiative to increase the talent pool of individuals working in Digital Health across Africa”, said Martin Dale, Population Services International’s (PSI) Global Director of Digital Health. “There is so much talent graduating from our universities and Game of Learners is a great opportunity for students to dig in and create solutions that make health care more accessible to all.”, he continued.

Speaking about the initiative, Samuel Weru, AMREF Health Africa Group ICT Director, challenged students to apply for the program and be part of the drive towards creating home-grown solutions for Africa’s challenges.

As a continent that has historically had serious healthcare challenges, we need the kind of ideas that can only come from the youth to revitalize healthcare service provision. There are myriad opportunities ranging from health informatics and telemedicine to big data analysis and system security for the learners to explore. We are eager to work with the teams to create solutions that have the potential to change Africa and the world,” said Weru.

GoL Season 4

In total, Season 4 will have 16 teams, each made up of 4 learners, 2 men and 2 women, drawn from all over the continent. The virtual student hackathon competition is open to students of accredited universities and colleges in sub-Saharan Africa, who will be vetted as per the requirements after submitting an online application.

The program is designed to provide a fun, hands-on learning experience while creating a virtual environment that transcends borders to allow young minds to collaborate and drive the advancement of Africa into a global innovation hub. Having gender-balanced teams further ties into our mission of promoting diversity and inclusion within the tech industry,” explains Ferland.

Like a sports league, each 5-week season of Game of Learners follows up with a month-long season of GOL Clinic and GOL exhibitions to accord individuals seeking deeper hands-on technical experience and specialized training from Microsoft and GOL partners.

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Microsoft launches technical skill-enhancement program for university lecturers.

Microsoft launches technical skill-enhancement program for university lecturers.

The Microsoft Africa Development Centre (ADC) and Microsoft Leap are delighted to launch an inaugural workshop intentionally designed for university lecturers, proficient in leading technology-focused courses. University lecturers will be provided with an opportunity to engage with fellow educators in skill enhancement modules and identify best practices to incorporate into their curriculum. The 12-week program, which begins on March 6th, will use a hybrid classroom model and practical training to provide instructors with a better understanding of industry requirements and inspire a curriculum change that will align university classrooms with the needs of the technology industry.

“This program is the result of collaboration on many fronts, including university lecturers and
their students. The training has been designed to provide lecturers with hands-on experience
with industry needs, allowing them to design effective teaching for their students in an
equally practical manner. The course will also expose them to advanced topics and allow
them to learn and experiment with effective teaching techniques while obtaining essential
aspects of carrying out research studies,” said Catherine Muraga, Microsoft ADC Managing
Director, at the program’s launch.

Yolanda Natal-Santos, Microsoft Leap’s Senior Business Program Manager says “Rooted in
our culture of the growth mindset and the belief that digital skills are for everyone, we are
grateful for our partnership with the Microsoft ADC, as we extend Microsoft Leap’s global
reach to a region that is rich in culture and talent. The growth of our partnership with the
Microsoft ADC, has provided our program with a platform to continue identifying, engaging,
and aligning with changemakers in Africa, as we impact and elevate together.”

Working collectively with Engineers from the ADC, Nairobi, the program will enhance skills,
based on a curriculum developed and taught by Microsoft Leap instructors.

In addition to technical programming aspects and teaching a hybrid classroom, educators
will receive training on specific Microsoft tools that are already being used in classrooms
around the world and can be introduced to Kenyan lecture halls. The program will also
provide technical educators with the tools they need to introduce popular Microsoft
resources like Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Power Platforms, and Microsoft Dynamics.
“JKUAT’s Department of Computing is thrilled to participate in the Microsoft Skilling
Program, as it will provide our staff with access to cutting-edge technologies and a leading
global company. This opportunity to engage with industry-relevant skills and knowledge

Microsoft University Skills Training for University lecturers
Microsoft Event

brings great joy to the university”, Dr. Lawrence Nderu, Chairman/Lecturer, Department of
Computing, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology said.
“The world is changing quickly, and if we are to mould tomorrow’s leaders, we as lecturers
must evolve too. Each day, there are new tools and methods being devised that are
becoming increasingly crucial to operating within the tech industry.
For the sake of our students, it is best that we learn how to leverage industry-standard and
emerging technology from industry leaders.”

Githinji emphasised a multi-pronged approach to improving technical education in Kenyan
universities. “Improving lecturers’ capacities is line with the ADC’s digital skilling initiatives
that range from elementary school-level all the way into the workplace. We held several
campus tours last year, which prompted us to begin a curriculum review process with
JKUAT. Improving all aspects of the training ladder is critical if we want to create a tech
talent pipeline that is not only robust enough to meet today’s needs, but also propels Africa
to compete on a global scale,” she added.

The first cohort of 23 educators is drawn from both private and public universities, including
Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Multimedia University,
and Kirinyaga University. Strathmore University, KCA University, Kabarak University, USIU-
Africa, Zetech University, and Africa Nazarene University are the others.

This course is designed to magnify the lecturer’s delivery of core general management and
drive engagement with advanced technology topics. Lecturers will be able to experiment with
alternative teaching techniques and glean additional essential insight and research studies
best practices.

About Microsoft
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an
intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every
organization on the planet to achieve more.

About the ADC
Microsoft launched the Africa Development Centre (ADC) in 2019 with an initial site within
Microsoft offices in Nairobi, Kenya, and another in Lagos, Nigeria. The centre’s goal is to
attract world-class African engineering talent to create innovative solutions spanning the
intelligent cloud and intelligent edge. Since its inception in Nairobi in 2019, the ADC has
grown to over 500

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