We are excited to announce our partnership with Social Involvement Stream Ethiopia Development Association (SISEDA). SISEDA serves over 150 street children in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. For the computer training program, Global Youth IT is providing laptop computers, computer training curriculum, and funds for a local computer instructors, lab techs and English teachers. An overview of the the Global Youth IT program follows:
Phase One - Assessment/Selection of students
Adolescents, between the ages of 10 – 12 years of age will be selected by SISEDA staff to participate in the initial Computer Assessment Phase (approximately six months). English classes will not be given during the Assessment Phase. Basic computing skills will be taught, and at the end of this phase the students (based on SISEDA staff recommendation) will be assessed to determine which children have:
Retained a working knowledge of the information taught to them
Showed a desire to learn what was being taught
Have a continued desire to learn more and fully commit to the long-term advanced training
Based on the results, SISDEA staff will select students (boys and girls) to enter into the Global Youth IT computer training program:
Phase Two - Advanced Computer Training Program
Year 1 - Intro to Computers and Typing/Word Processing
Year 2 - Operating Systems and Common Applications
Year 3 - Server Software, Networking, Security, and Remote access
Year 4 - Internet/Intranet/Extranet
Years 5-7 - Certification Preparation and Testing
Year 8 - Career Placement
The estimated timeframe for completion of the program is 5-7 years. Beginning with Phase I the program will incorporate weekly English classes that enhance each student’s ability to learn the curriculum and increase their chance of obtaining employment pending IT certification.
As students complete Phase 2 of the program, staff members will work with each of the students to help them become a mentor to one of the younger students in the program. It is our hope that in developing a successful mentoring program within each of the programs, students will be provided with the help and guidance needed for them to achieve success as they go through the program. Graduates will be required to participate as a volunteer instructor/mentor/tutor in the program for a minimum of two year post grad.
Background on Ethiopia
The population of Ethiopia is an estimated 73.1 million, and the annual growth rate is estimated at around 3.2%. The overwhelming majority of the population lives in rural areas. With an estimated gross national product (GNP) of $120 per capita, the number of people believed to be living below the absolute poverty line is estimated at 28 million, or 50.8% of the population.
In Ethiopia, there is a high demand for information technology. The public sector which accounted for 80% of the computers in 1993 has improved its information technology intake during the last five years due to substantial increases in capital budget, the availability of computers in local markets and falling cost of information technology.
Full adaptation of the technology has been difficult however, due to cultural and literacy problems, different local languages, scripts and dialects and limited access to software and training materials. Most users are still not aware of the potential of the technology.
Computer literacy is almost non-existent in primary and secondary education. It is very much limited in colleges and universities due to shortage of skilled human resources and computing infrastructure. Additionally, the diverse languages in Ethiopia pose key problems to effective utilization of information technology.
No one knows how many thousands of street children roam Ethiopia’s capital cityof Addis Ababa. Their numbers are so vast and their situations so varied that it isimpossible to know how to begin to find them all. It is one of the most pressing problems facing Addis Ababa today. On every street corner there is a young boy looking forsomeone’s shoes to shine, or a tiny girl selling gum. Getting these innocent children off the streets is not easy. When the income of a street child is the only thing keeping their family alive, it is impossible to stop him or her from working.
"Teenage girls in Africa are the most vulnerable population in the world," said Alessandro Conticini, who heads the child protection and HIV/AIDS sections at the UNICEF office In Ethiopia. "They do more work than their brothers. They are far more vulnerable to dropping out and being forced into domestic labor and forced marriages, prostitution." Conticini said conditions in Ethiopia were slowly improving, "but ultimately, girls need a good reason to sway parents that they should be allowed to go to school and delay work and marriage." (footnote, Wash Post). Addis Ababa has become an unsafe haven for teenage girls who have fled their rural villages to avoid being forced into an arranged marriage. They arrive in Addis Ababa alone without access to services or support.
Based on these staggering statistics, Executive Director of Global Youth IT, Abel Sandman along with GYIT Education Advisor, Steven Poindexter, returned to Addis Ababa during the summer of 2010 and completed a program assessment through the support of SISEDA to better understand the need in the community for youth programs such as Global Youth IT. Director of SISEDA, Alemtsehay Yemane, said "Programs such as Global Youth IT are needed here in Addis Ababa to help us keep young adults off the streets. We have around 150 underprivileged youth that we work with, some of which would benefit greatly from a computer training program such as this."