WILMINGTON, DE, December 10, 2018 — Due to frequent armed conflict in the region, many of the youth living in the eastern provinces of North and South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), lack opportunities to receive even a basic education and work skills training.
In order to support better educational and social outcomes for vulnerable youth in this region, Souktel is working with lead implementer Education Development Center (EDC) and other private and public sector partners on the $22-million USAID-funded Integrated Youth Development Activity (IYDA) project. Launched on November 20, the three-year project aims to empower 20,000 youth in the face of conflict and violence by providing them with quality education, work-readiness training, entrepreneurial skills and community engagement activities.
IYDA will work with local education, youth-serving and vocational training institutions to guide the country’s diverse population of youth along a set of learning and livelihoods pathways, helping them to develop necessary life skills along with a sense of resilience.
“It is our hope that these young people will not only gain basic education and job skills, but will also develop a sense of personal empowerment and the ability to act as agents of social change,” said EDC’s Melanie Sany. “Knowing how they can engage and contribute to civic life will strengthen their sense of belonging and connection to the larger community.”
Over the course of the project, Souktel will design and develop information and communication technology (ICT) solutions to support IYDA Monitoring and Evaluation activities, including a web-based Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Platform (MEL). Other potential custom digital solutions include the development of a mobile app to facilitate referrals to youth-friendly social services, as well as a moderated mobile phone platform to simplify peer-to-peer networking and mentoring among local youth-serving organizations. The mobile app will also feature a searchable database to connect youth with work-based learning and employment opportunities.
Souktel CEO Dave Harden says, "we are thrilled to build on our long history of supporting youth programming with EDC, and, in doing so, bring Souktel to the DRC for the first time. We look forward to working with our partners to design and deploy tech solutions that will positively impact the lives youth in North and South Kivu." The team at Souktel is honored to assist EDC and its partners in this new USAID/DRC initiative to provide Congolese youth with access to education and employment opportunities. EDC’s partners include Catholic Relief Services, FHI360, Souktel, the Congolese government, private sector partners, and local nonformal education providers.