New initiative to empower Senegalese women to pursue digital careers
The Thales Solidarity charitable fund and Polaris Asso, in partnership with the Embassy of France in Senegal and UN Women, are teaming up to launch a new programme to help young Senegalese women pursue digital careers.
Polaris Asso is an international association operating out of Dakar that uses digital technology as a focal point and a basis for addressing the major challenges facing young people and women.
Global technology firm Thales invests in digital and “deep tech” innovations including connectivity, big data, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and quantum computing.
Through its charitable fund, Thales supports projects that leverage innovation and technology to serve three focus areas: education and professional integration, digital citizenship and environmental protection.
According to a statement released by the partners, the French development agency (Agence Française de Développement, AFD) estimates that 60% of Africans are now under 24 and 35% of the world’s young people will be in Africa by 2035.
The statement added that according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), nearly 20 million jobs will need to be created each year in Africa to accommodate these new workers, instead of the 10 million currently being created each year.
Studies show that in Senegal, young women are the most affected by a lack of access to employment. A recent study by the International Labour Organisation showed that internet access and training in ICT allow local women to start businesses, sell their products, find better-paying jobs and access education, health and financial services.
The collaborators explained that six-month programme combines the expertise of various associations “to give scholarship recipients the best possible chances of entering and remaining in the labour market, either as employees or entrepreneurs, and to develop their skills as local leaders.”
Organisations including OpenClassrooms, Talent2Africa and the Senegal Youth Consortium (Consortium Jeunesse Sénégal, CJS) are also participating in the initiative.
Ousseynou Gueye, Executive Director of Polaris Asso, said the initiative is a major innovation for French-speaking Africa. “This programme is designed to train young Senegalese women in digital technology and encourage the new talents Africa needs for its development: women with the key skills for the 21st century who are engaged citizens dedicated to addressing social issues. Through this programme, we are giving them the tools they need to play an active role in the digital transition the country’s economy needs to achieve sustainable growth.”
According to organisers, during their training, scholarship recipients will learn about the importance of digital citizenship and volunteer to lead digital education workshops for local middle and high school students.
They will also contribute to the development of the local economy through tutoring projects and hands-on internships where they can apply the skills they learn in their training and acquire professional experience in women-led SMEs.
Roselyne Cartheron, Director, Thales West and Central Africa, added, “Thales has made a clear social commitment to promoting the inclusion of women.We would like to support these young women by giving them skills and teaching them to become digital citizens so they can make a difference in Senegal and beyond. This initiative reflects the Thales purpose of building a future we can all trust.”