Africa ahead | SITA

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Africa ahead

Published on  17 January by Amber Harrison , Director, Corporate Social Responsibility, SITA
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A year in review with the SITA Foundation 

2018 was a year of unprecedented change across the globe, economically, politically, environmentally and socially. While the headlines have dominated with tales of unsteady forecasts and difficult times ahead, there have been lots of positive changes taking place too. I've certainly seen a number of these as I look back over 2018 at the SITA Air Transport Community Foundation programs.

Next generation skills

With the World Bank predicting that 11 million youth will join the job market in Africa every year for the next decade, ensuring they have the right skills is essential. Since SITA began the Foundation in 2014, we've positively impacted around 83,000 children across five African countries. And keeping in line the aims of the Foundation to bring ICT and education to young people, we've adopted the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of Quality Education and Gender Equality as key criteria.

SITA Air Transport Community Foundation: 2014-2018

Having a positive impact:

SITA Air Transport Community Foundation

@CSRatSITA | #SITAFoundation

The right partners for positive change

Working closely with our partner charities, ComputerAid, PEAS and the Wits Foundation, makes a tremendous difference in ensuring the Foundation chooses relevant projects where sustainable impact can be delivered.

Measuring success

Every year we visit each of our projects. This gives me the chance to speak to all the stakeholders involved and gain an accurate understanding of how the project is performing, see where additional effort is needed and where and how we might need to pivot our approach.

In Uganda, with PEA Schools, I saw firsthand the impact of the three computer rooms we had fitted out and equipped with IT equipment, and the brand new one we built. During the 2018 we had topped up the number of computers at 11 existing ICT labs, while 18 teachers benefited from ICT maintenance training. It was rewarding to hear the positive feedback from the teachers on how their new knowledge is helping them teach more effectively.

Fostering Innovation

In South Africa we took 20 students from Wits University and the Tshimologong Innovation Hub to
O. R. Tambo International Airport as part of the SITA Innovation Award challenge: 'What does the first-time air traveler in Africa need to make their journey easy, enjoyable and efficient every step of the journey?' The visit gave valuable insights into the operation of airports 'behind the scenes' as they developed their responses to the challenge.

Celebrating achievements

We also celebrated five of the Wits University funded degree students completing their post graduate studies. I love spending time with these students, hearing how they plan to impact Africa with their knowledge. One of the success stories is Makhosaza Moyo, a young Zimbabwean woman studying Aeronautical Engineering. Faced with the prospect of having to drop out despite her class-topping marks, the Foundation stepped in to help in 2015. Since completing her BSc Makhosaza is now continuing at Masters level, funded by the Foundation. She explained: "I wish to succeed in my career and ... I want to be a philanthropist so that I can show the same kindness to others that the SITA Foundation showed to me. There are no words to describe my gratitude."

SITA Innovation Award finalists visit O.R. Tambo International Airport

SITA Innovation Award finalists visit O.R. Tambo International Airport

In Zimbabwe we visited 11 schools and their newly created and equipped ICT Labs and watched 33 of their teachers gain their ICDL ICT certificates. It was a day of great celebration of their achievements, and teachers and students are all seeing the benefits of access to ICT at the schools.

For challenging topics in content subjects, e.g. Environmental Science, we can now easily access information and pupils can view diagrams and learn from them.

Teacher, Mukurumbira Primary School

Working with Computer Aid, eight Bureau of Education members in Ethiopia were trained in computer skills through ICDL. They will take their newfound knowledge to share with teachers in schools across the Amhara district of Ethiopia. It’s part of the aim of ensuring sustainable long-term programs – and the first schools to benefit will be the 25 that gained ICT labs from the Foundation.

Visiting Kabulonga Girls School ICT Lab in Lusaka, Zambia

Visiting Kabulonga Girls School ICT Lab in Lusaka, Zambia

In Zambia I visited 10 schools in Lusaka where we have provided ICT Labs and equipment, working with Computer Aid. I had the opportunity to meet with many of the 30 teachers trained in ICT through ICDL. They explained to me how the training is helping their teaching in all subjects as they can now better explain complex concepts using technology like laptops and projectors.

A happy highlight was joining the celebration at the opening of the new PEAS School and SITA Air Transport Community Foundation ICT Lab at the school in Kasama, Zambia. The joy and excitement of the whole community was contagious.

Work has already begun on a new secondary school in Mungwi. While in Zambia I got to meet the community and hear from the elders and parents first hand on how having a school in the area is going to change the future of these children and their families. The Foundation looks forward to the opening this year.

Celebrating the ground breaking of a new PEAS School in Zambia

Celebrating the ground breaking of a new PEAS School in Zambia

It makes me very proud to see how the SITA Air Transport Community Foundation and our partners are opening the doors to ICT and education for young people in Africa, broadening horizons and ensuring girls and boys can realize their talents and ambitions. Here’s to even more success in 2019.

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