The Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) and the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) have joined forces to train and employ 500 unemployed youth as ICT educators in un-served and underserved communities across the country.
The two organizations signed a memorandum of understanding to mark the takeoff of the project, which forms part of GIFEC’s smart communities agenda targeted at providing ICT connectivity and access in at least 98% deprived communities over the next four years.
The 500 youth, comprising of university, polytechnic and SHS graduates were recruited by the YEA and will be trained by GIFEC so that they will go into various communities to educate people on how to use information technology to improve their businesses and lives.
Administrator of GIFEC, Abraham Kofi Asante told Adom News installation of Wi-Fi equipment has already started in some selected communities, and an ongoing training of trainers is to ensure that by the time the Wi-Fi access is ready for use, the training can begin in earnest.
The four selected communities for the pilot phase of the smart communities’ project are Berekum, Goaso, Asomura and Asankragwa and so far there are installations going on in three of the communities, except Asankragwa.
Abraham Kofi Asante said the plan is to provide local Wi-Fi connectivity loaded with relevant applications that residents can freely access for farming, education, health, security, finance and other activities at an affordable cost.
He said after the pilot phase with the four communities, the project will be scaled up to 30 communities by the second quarter of next year, and grow steadily until about 98 percent of communities are covered by 2020.
“So we are training the 500 youth who will become ICT ambassadors and train both literate and illiterate residents of the various communities on how they can access and benefit from the ICT services we will provide under the smart communities project,” he said.
Deputy Director of YEA in charge of Finance and Administration, Lydia Atiemo also said all 500 beneficiaries of the training program have already been selected and handed over to GIFEC for the commencement of the training in the next two weeks.
She said the focus of YEA now is to come up with youth employment models that provide sustainable jobs beyond the usual two years run, unlike previous models like the “Youth in Traffic”, which rendered the beneficiaries jobs after the two years run.
“We have tasked our research team to look for what employers need so we can design models around those needs to ensure that the beneficiaries get sustainable jobs or at least are able to be self-employed even after their period with the YEA program,” she said.
Lydia Atiemo said after the GIFEC program, YEA will also roll out a “Youth in Pharmacy Assistance” program to train young people on how to dispense drugs so they could serve in the pharmaceutical industry.
She said YEA is committed to ensuring the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s vision of providing sustainable jobs for the youth is delivered well.