In a move aimed at equipping African women entrepreneurs with skills to enable them compete in today’s business environment Intel Corporation through its Intel Easy Steps Program partnered with East African chapters of the African Women Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP) for a three day Digital Literacy and Entrepreneurship Training program which ended today at the African Advanced Level Telecommunications Institute (AFRALTI).
According to Intel East Africa Corporate Affairs Manager Mr. Suraj Shah,“We used a ‘train-the-trainer’ model to develop the capacity of AWEP chapters from Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ethiopia. These trainers will in turn deliver the Intel Easy Steps program to the AWEP members who are women entrepreneurs in a bid to empower them to bring about positive changes in their communities. These efforts will expand opportunities for women to acquire ICT skills and increase their ability to use technology in the startup and operation of small businesses.”
The Intel Easy Steps program offers adult learners the opportunity for enhanced social and economic self-sufficiency through digital literacy and entrepreneurship skills. The Intel Easy Steps materials use adult learning techniques to teach practical and applicable skills to people with minimum or no computer knowledge.
“This program promises to benefit not just business women but the entire small-medium enterprise (SME) sector as a whole. SMEs are now the backbone of the region’s economy and if we can enhance their capability through similar initiatives, the countries of East Africa will soon become middle-level income economies. At Intel, as highlighted by the 3rd Millennium Development Goal (MDG), we believe that promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment remains a global challenge. This goal is crucial to achieving other MDG goals of reducing hunger, child mortality, HIV/AIDS and improving maternal health. Innumerable studies confirm that investment in improving women’s economic status can have many positive social, economic and welfare outcomes for themselves, families and communities. Advancement can entail helping women find and retain employment, enabling women to develop marketable skills (including access to quality primary and secondary education), and supporting women to acquire and maintain equal social and economic rights.” added Mr. Shah.
AWEP training is provided for free and is part of the Education and Entrepreneurship program portfolio offered by Intel to its partners and stakeholders. To date, Intel Easy Steps has reached more than 1 million adult learners, approximately half of whom have been women. It is implemented in 20 countries around the world.
AWEP which was created by former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is an outreach, education, and engagement initiative that targets African women entrepreneurs to promote business growth, increase trade both regionally and to U.S. markets through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), create better business environments, and empower African women entrepreneurs to become voices of change in their communities.
It was launched in July 2010 at the United States Sub-Saharan AGOA Forum.
Intel is a strategic partner of the AWEP initiative. After initial presentation to AWEP chapters on the benefits of Digital Literacy in Nairobi, all AWEP Africa chapters are taking advantage of the partnership to receive similar training in Western and Southern Africa.
“We are grateful for Intel’s partnership in our program. Their support over the last three days has been of immense benefit to our trainers who will do a tremendous job in imparting the same knowledge to women who want to improve their livelihood through ICT,” said AWEP Kenya Chapter Chairperson Ms. Zohra Baraka.