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Driving force of SITA Foundation

Published on  20 September by Amber Harrison , Director, Corporate Social Responsibility
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Quality Education and Gender Equality

This week, all eyes will be on the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 73) and evaluating progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals.

These goals have helped the SITA Air Transport Community Foundation frame our thinking and guide our decision-making when choosing which projects to support with our charity partners.

We recently held a meeting in London with these partners to talk about progress and how we best plan for sustainable future projects. What was exciting was that we all share the same focus on two key goals: Quality Education and Gender Equality.

Amber Harrison , SITA CSR Director with partner representatives from Computer Aid, Wits, CAF Philanthropy Services , PEAS 

From left to right: Ludovic Gautier -Computer Aid: Head of Programmes;  Lynda Murray, Wits' representative in the UK; Amber Harrison - SITA: CSR Director; Ben Lovejoy, Corporate Client Executive, CAF Philanthropy Services; Christina Constantino, Business Development Consultant, ComputerAid; Katy Wood, Corporate Client Manager, CAF Philanthropy Services; Jenny Groot - PEAS: Chief Operating Officer

Gender Equality

Gender EqualityGender equality across Africa is complicated and often family expectations, access and cultural bias mean that the girls I meet at our SITA Foundation projects are some of the lucky ones; collectively, we all need to work hard to make the necessary changes to effect Gender Equality.

The young women I met at the University of Zimbabwe, via Computer Aid, struggled to get time in the computer labs, were unsafe walking there at night and often, the men dominated access to the computers. Working with Computer Aid, we created seven computer rooms in the women students’ halls of residence, and provided ICDL training to 100 women students, teachers and dorm staff. The rooms are sited in the halls, making it safe to use at all times, with easy-to-access internet and course work.

Our partner PEAS, which builds and manages schools in Uganda and Zambia, has a policy of ensuring all schools have at least 50% girls enrolled and a teaching staff made up of at least 50% women.

In South Africa, we are working with the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) to fund an increasing number of women students, many of whom are doing master’s and doctoral degrees in a variety of engineering disciplines. One of these women, Makhosazana Moyo, is currently completing her MSc in Aeronautical Engineering on the topic of accident investigation for drones and hopes to grow the aviation sector in Zimbabwe once she has graduated, no doubt inspiring many women to follow in her footsteps.

I am proud to say that across all of our projects, 51.4% of the impact has been on women and girls – more than half of the 81,442 young people the SITA Foundation has positively benefited since 2014.

Quality Education

Quality EducationQuality Education is a critical goal for Africa, a continent likely to face a shortfall of 50 million jobs by 2040*. I believe that technology and bridging the digital divide will be a key enabler to conquer this challenge.

The SITA Foundation is passionate about not only providing the space and equipment needed to achieve this via our ICT Labs at schools, but also ensures that teaching staff are motivated and trained to provide quality ICT Education. To date, 334 teachers have been trained across Ethiopia, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Zambia, with 70 computer labs created and equipped with a total of 1,361 computers.

This year we opened a computer lab at the new PEAS Kampinda school and visited the site of the next PEAS school to be built at Mungwi, Zambia. The excitement and welcome we received from the community was fantastically overwhelming. It is moments like these, when parents and elders explain how difficult it is for their children to get to a school and how critical a local school is, that I realize just how vital each action we take is to achieve Quality Education.

Related content

SITA supports women students at the University of Zimbabwe through our community foundation

SITA Air Transport Community Foundation

SITA Foundation commitment to education

 

*The Jobs Gap: Making Inclusive Growth Work in Africa

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