Huawei has announced that in its first year, DigiTruck trained more than one thousand five hundred youth on digital skills across thirteen locations in ten counties. Following the successful first year and the tremendous support it has had from national agencies, county governments as well as implementation partners, Huawei will support DigiTruck for the second year countrywide.
The announcement was made recently when the DigiTruck arrived in Kitui to start four weeks of digital skills training for youth helping them do business and work online. It arrived from Nyeri where Cabinet Secretary for ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs, Joe Mucheru presided over the graduation of one hundred youth. He thanked Huawei and the National Youth Council for making sure that the youth across Kenya are receiving digital skills training.
Digital equity and workforce development are essential if many people are to participate in the digital economy. Public private partnerships have played a key role in bridging the digital divide therefore reducing the barriers of participation and entry for marginalized communities. In addition, the Covid‒19 pandemic has laid bare the inequalities in our country with regard to technology and digital accessibility especially with the need to work remotely and access education online. The Huawei DigiTruck has given its beneficiaries skills that are necessary to work remotely. It has operated in rural areas whilst strictly following the Covid-19 protocols.
DigiTruck is a solar-powered mobile classroom equipped with internet and smart devices. It is supported by various partners including the National Youth Council, UNESCO, GSMA and Safaricom. Of importance, it contributes to the government’s Ajira initiative by enabling youth in rural areas to acquire digital skills in order to thrive socio‒economically.
Training on the truck is provided by Computers For Schools Kenya (CFSK) who provide a twenty to forty hour course covering using computers; common document, spreadsheets and presentation software; smartphones and the internet, so that they can find jobs online besides buying and selling products, studying and taking advantage of the Ajira platform. They also learn about e-waste and being safe online. The Huawei DigiTruck is one arm of Huawei’s digital skills training programme that also includes training youth at various universities and TVETs nationwide.
Fiona Pan, deputy chief executive officer, public affairs at Huawei Kenya recently noted that ICT is critical and the fastest growing part of the economy. Indeed, provision of technology on its own is not enough if people don’t know how to use it. Consequently, Huawei is helping in the provision of digital skills all over the country, especially in the rural areas. Huawei Digitruck is a programme under Huawei Tech4all, a digital inclusion initiative focusing on three main areas namely: technology, application and skills to empower people and organizations across the globe. The DigiTruck has been moving around the country providing digital skills. After a three month pause when the Covid‒19 pandemic broke, DigiTruck resumed operations, while observing the Ministry of Health guidelines and protocols. In its first year of operations, DigiTruck has provided over 22,000 hours of training for youth in Bomet, Embu, Kericho, Laikipia, Machakos, Meru, Nandi, and Nyeri.