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An International Tech Nonprofit in US likely to train 6,000 Nigerian girls in Digital skills

An international nonprofit will start training 6,000 Nigerian girls in digital skills in early 2017

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Nigerian students learn about 3-D printing in a class offered by the Youth for Technology Foundation. (Youth for Technology Foundation). VOA

– by Aida Aki 

October 2, 2016: An international nonprofit will start training 6,000 Nigerian girls in digital skills in early 2017. The initiative is part of an ongoing effort to use technology to empower underprivileged youth and women in the developing world.

The Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF) has been transforming the lives of young people and women in developing countries for the past 16 years. The group works in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and, more recently, in Colombia, Latin America.

“Our mission is really to create a rich learning community where the appropriate use of technology affords opportunities for youth and women living in developing economies,” said YTF President and CEO Njideka Harry in an interview.

Students participate in a class at the Youth for Technology Foundation academy in Nairobi, Kenya. (Youth for Technology Foundation). VOA
Students participate in a class at the Youth for Technology Foundation academy in Nairobi, Kenya. (Youth for Technology Foundation). VOA

The latest digital training initiative targets out-of-school Nigerian girls who have survived human trafficking or are at risk of falling prey to traffickers.

Aided by professional mentors and partnerships with local businesses, YTF’s Nigeria hubs will teach literacy, numeracy, business and financial inclusion, in addition to 3-D printing and other skills. When training is done, the girls will receive certification that will help them find apprenticeships or jobs, or start their own businesses.

YTF typically targets people between the ages of 8 to 25. These young people have “long productivity cycles,” said Harry, and are the “co-creators of powerful information and communication technologies.”
“Youth,” she said, “are at the center of the development, specifically in Africa, where there is this issue of the youth bulge. … If those young people are not nurtured, if they are not given the right opportunities, you know, “it could be a disaster, in essence, as a cultural dividend.”

With the explosive growth of mobile technology in parts of the world like Africa, Harry said it is important that young people learn not just to become consumers, but also to create mobile apps that would be useful to their communities.

But it takes a village to raise a child, as the Nigerian proverb goes. And so YTF also invests in helping the mothers of its young students – women who form the economic backbone of their communities and often give back “as much as 90 percent of their household income.”
“When we started out working in 2000,” Harry added, “we were working in communities with large groups of young people. And the young people a few years into this work told us ‘our mothers can actually use this training. Our mothers are the entrepreneurs in the community, they are the backbone. It is as a result of their efforts that our school fees are paid and our health is taken care of and the wellness of our communities continues to grow.’”

Women spend about 70 percent of discretionary consumer spending in the global economy, so “they are a huge piece of the global economy itself,” she said. “Investing in women is not just an afterthought, it’s really an economic imperative.”

So YTF partnered with civil society organizations, governments and the private sector to create programs to help women learn more about managing their affairs, using applicable technologies such as internet access, mobile phones and mobile banking.

And more recently, YTF added 3-D printing to its Africa curriculum. Harry believes the technology is specifically applicable to Africa and “has the opportunity to inspire science, technology, engineering and math in the education sector,” particularly for girls.
“It also has the opportunity to [foster] an entrepreneurship mindset in the minds of young people,” she said. “And so we introduce 3-D printing technology to teach them how to create, invent, and design the world that they envision.”

Sixteen years later, the organization has trained 1.6 million women and youths and helped start and expand 12,000 businesses.

Add to that another 6,000 eager Nigerian girls. (VOA)

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Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has been named the new Goodwill Ambassador by WHO

New WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus praised Zimbabwe for its commitment to public health

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Robert Mugabe
President of Zimbabwe and Chairman of the African Union Robert Mugabe. Wikimedia

United Nations, October 21, 2017 : The World Health Organization (WHO) has appointed Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe as a goodwill ambassador to help tackle non-communicable diseases.

New WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus praised Zimbabwe for its commitment to public health, BBC reported on Saturday.

But critics say Zimbabwe’s health care system has collapsed, with the president and many of his senior ministers going abroad for treatment.

They say that staff are often unpaid and medicines are in short supply.

Tedros, who is Ethiopian, is the first African to lead the WHO and replaced Margaret Chan, who stepped down from her 10-year post in June.

He was elected with a mandate to tackle perceived politicisation in the organisation.

The WHO head praised Zimbabwe as “a country that places universal health coverage and health promotion at the centre of its policies to provide health care to all”.

But US-based campaign group Human Rights Watch said it was an embarrassment to give the ambassador role to Mugabe given his record on human rights.

“If you look at Zimbabwe, Mugabe’s corruption, his utter mismanagement of the economy has devastated health services there,” said executive director Kenneth Roth.

“Indeed, you know, Mugabe himself travels abroad for his health care. He’s been to Singapore three times this year already. His senior officials go to South Africa for their health care.

“When you go to Zimbabwean hospitals, they lack the most basic necessities.”

The idea of hailing Mr Robert Mugabe “as any kind of example of positive contribution to health care is absolutely absurd”, he added.

President Robert Mugabe heard about the award while attending a conference held by the WHO, a UN agency, on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Montevideo.

He told delegates how his country had adopted several strategies to combat the challenges presented by NCDs, which the WHO says kill about 40 million people a year and include cancers, respiratory diseases and diabetes.

“Zimbabwe has developed a national NCD policy, a palliative care policy, and has engaged United Nations agencies working in the country, to assist in the development of a cervical cancer prevention and control strategy,” Mugabe was reported by the state-run Zimbabwe Herald newspaper as saying.

ALSO READ Countries with best Health Care in the world

But the President admitted that Zimbabwe was similar to other developing countries in that it was “hamstrung by a lack of adequate resources for executing programmes aimed at reducing NCDs and other health conditions afflicting the people”.

Zimbabwe’s main MDC opposition party also strongly criticised the WHO move.

“The Zimbabwe health delivery system is in a shambolic state, it is an insult,” said spokesman Obert Gutu.

“Robert Mugabe trashed our health delivery system. He and his family go outside of the country for treatment in Singapore after he allowed our public hospitals to collapse.” (IANS)

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‘Swachh Bharat’ Initiative: Young Indians Launch ‘Mission –Santizing and Sensitizing India’

The Young Indians have launched this mission for reinforcing the 'Swachh Bharat' activity

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Young Indians
Young Indians want to strengthen the ‘Swachh Bharat’ initiative. Wikimedia
  • The Young Indians have launched ‘Mission- Sanitizing and Sensitizing India
  • It is an initiative to encourage Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan

North Bengal, August 9, 2017: To strengthen the ‘Swachh Bharat’ activity announced by PM Narendra Modi, the Young Indians, who are an essential part of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) have launched ‘Mission –Santizing and Sensitizing India’. This is an activity to work with companies and institutions on Social Responsibility area. The sole purpose is to build awareness in the general public through the social interface and networking systems of the Young Indians.

In reference to this, and with the constant attempt of the Young Indian, this time the Yi Siliguri composed another awareness program on 6 August 2017 with the road sellers, on cleanliness and hygiene at Siliguri’s “Nirvana” situated at Khalpara’s Agrasen Road of Siliguri under Ward 9.

ALSO READ: Swachh Bharat Abhiyan: Megastar Amitabh Bachchan wants School Curriculum to have Waste Management

The program began at around 9:00 am at the venue. Around 50 road vendors took part in the program that included chaat sellers, Gol Gappa merchants, jhal muri sellers, momo vendors, peanut vendors and so forth. In this program, a using kit comprising hair mask, gloves, aprons, trash sack, and garbage bins were dispersed to the members by the members of the Young Indians.

The dignitaries who were present included the Chair of Swach Bharat Team, Mr. Gautam Rathi, Mr. Mangallam Kalyani, Mr. Rakesh Goyel, among others.

Youthful Indians (Yi) represents an indispensable piece of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), a not-revenue driven, non-government, industry managed and industry driven association assuming a proactive part in India’s improvement procedure. Yi was shaped in 2002 with a goal of making a stage for youthful Indians to understand the fantasy of a developed country. Yi comprises of approximately 2350 direct members in 40 parts, and connects with approximately 10500 students through the medium of chaupals, under the ‘Yuva’ brand. The Yi participants comprise of youthful dynamic Indians between the age of 21 and 40 and involve professionals, entrepreneurs, and performers from various life aspects. “To end up plainly the Voice of Young Indians Globally” being Yi’s vision, it gives a stage to youthful Indians to contribute and participate by turning into an essential piece of the Indian development story. Yi’s work is separated principally into three gatherings; “Youth Leadership”, “Thought Leadership” and “Country Building”.

The Yi participants comprise of youthful dynamic Indians between the age of 21 and 40 and involve professionals, entrepreneurs, and performers from various life aspects. “To end up plainly the Voice of Young Indians Globally” being Yi’s vision, it gives a stage to youthful Indians to contribute and participate by turning into an essential piece of the Indian development story. Yi’s work is separated principally into three gatherings; “Youth Leadership”, “Thought Leadership” and “Country Building”.

– prepared by Harsimran Kaur of NewsGram. Twitter Hkaur1025

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Can Flourishing Islamic State (ISIS) be Stopped in Afghanistan?

The truth about IS and Afghanistan is definitely no picnic

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Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016.
Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016. The rise of IS in Afghanistan has become such a priority that U.S. and Afghan forces sometimes support the Taliban while battling IS, VOA
  • Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups
  • Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops
  • In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS

June 25, 2017: The Islamic State group is rapidly expanding in parts of Afghanistan, advancing militarily into areas where it once had a weak presence and strengthening its forces in core regions, according to Afghan and U.S. officials.

Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups.

Attacking IS has become such a priority in the country, that disparate forces sometimes join together in the ad-hoc fight, with Afghan and U.S. forces finding themselves inadvertently supporting the enemy Taliban in battling IS.

Confusion leads to mistakes

All too often, officials say, mistakes are made due to confusion on the ground.

Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops, provincial police chief, Rahmatullah Turkistani told VOA. The supplies were meant to help Afghan forces that are countering twin attacks by IS and Taliban militants but were used instead by IS.

“It’s not getting better in Afghanistan in terms of IS,” U.S. Chief Pentagon Spokeswoman Dana White told VOA this week. “We have a problem, and we have to defeat them and we have to be focused on that problem.”

Reinforcements for the IS cause reportedly are streaming into isolated areas of the country from far and wide. There are reports of fighters from varied nationalities joining the ranks, including militants from Pakistan, India, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Russia and Central Asian neighbors.

Confusing scenarios

Still, the Islamic State-Khorasan (ISK) as IS is known in Afghanistan remains a fragmented group composed of differing regional forces with different agendas in different parts of the country.

“IS-K is still conducting low-level recruiting and distribution of propaganda in various provinces across Afghanistan, but it does not have the ability or authority to conduct multiple operations across the country,” a recent Pentagon report said. But where it operates, IS is inflicting chaos and casualties and causing confusing scenarios for disparate opponents.

In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS. IS regained ground after a few days, leading to U.S. military air attacks on IS positions in conjunction with Afghan intelligence instructions and army operations.

IS fighters reportedly have fled from mountain caves of Tora Bora, where al-Qaida’s leader Osama bin Laden hid from U.S. attack in 2001.

Families displaced

IS fighters were also reportedly advancing in neighboring Khogyani district, displacing hundreds of families, according to district officials. It is one of several areas in Nangarhar province, near the Pakistani border, where IS has been active for over two years.

Fierce clashes in the Chaparhar district of Nangarhar last month left 21 Taliban fighters and seven IS militants dead, according to a provincial spokesman. At least three civilians who were caught in the crossfire were killed and five others wounded.

“IS has overpowered Taliban in some parts of Nangarhar because the Taliban dispatched its elite commando force called Sara Qeta (Red Brigade) to other parts of the country, including some northern provinces to contain the growing influence of IS there,” Wahid Muzhda, a Taliban expert in Kabul, told VOA.

ALSO READ: Flashback to Terror: 1993 Mumbai Blasts Judgement to Hail on June 27 After 24 Years

Recruiting unemployed youths

IS has also expanded in neighboring Kunar province, where, according to provincial police chief, it has a presence in at least eight districts and runs a training base, where foreign members of IS, train new recruits.

Hundreds of miles from Nangarhar, IS is attempting to establish a persistent presence in several northern provinces where it has found a fertile ground for attracting militants and recruiting unemployed youths, mostly between the age of 13 and 20.

IS has been able to draw its members from the Pakistani Taliban fighters, former Afghan Taliban, and other militants who “believe that associating with or pledging allegiance” to IS will further their interests, according to the Pentagon report.

Hundreds of militants have joined IS ranks in northern Jouzjan and Sar-e-Pul province where local militant commanders lead IS-affiliate groups in several districts.

Darzab district

Qari Hekmat, an ethnic Uzbek and former Taliban militant who joined IS a year ago, claims to have up to 500 members, including around 50 Uzbek nationals who are affiliated with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) — previously associated with al-Qaida and Taliban in Afghanistan.

IS and Taliban are reportedly fighting over the control of Darzab district in Jouzjan which they stormed this week from two different directions and besieged scores of government forces. The Taliban has reportedly captured the center of the district while IS militants control the city outskirts.

Afghanistan faces a continuing threat from as many as 20 insurgent and terrorist networks present or operating in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, including IS, the Pentagon said.

“In areas where the government has limited influence and control, IS attempts to emerge and expand there,” Ateequllah Amarkhail, an analysts and former Army general in Kabul told VOA.

Hit-and-hide strategy

IS has also claimed responsibility for several recent attacks in urban areas, however, with a hit-and-hide strategy that is proving effective. And it is engaging too in more skirmishes with U.S. forces that initially were sent to the country to help Afghan forces halt the spread of Taliban.

Three American service members based in eastern Afghanistan were killed in April during operations targeting IS militants, according to the Pentagon.

“ISIS-K remains a threat to Afghan and regional security, a threat to U.S. and coalition forces, and it retains the ability to conduct high-profile attacks in urban centers,” the Pentagon said. (VOA)