Accenture has, as part of its ‘Skills to Succeed’ initiative, donated $2.2 million to Plan Netherlands*, in the form of both funds and pro bono services. The non-profit organisation will use this contribution to offer 6.000 disadvantaged youth in Tanzania and Zambia training to equip them with digital, technical and life skills.
Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the poorest regions in the world. According to calculations by economists, about 70% of young people in the region live on less than $2 a day. Unlike many other areas around the world, a large part of the population in this area consists of young people. Whereas in South Asia, for example, the population is relatively evenly distributed across the different age groups, the population of Sub-Saharan Africa has been steadily declining as older age groups are reached. In some countries, such as Chad, Niger and Uganda, half of the population consists of young people who are younger than 16.
To help the youth in these regions improve their prospects for the future, Plan Netherlands launched an initiative to help them learn the right skills to be successful in the labour market. The programme consists of a number of pillars, including building an e-learning platform to teach young people skills for jobs in the digital domain, such as computer maintenance, digital marketing and coding. In addition, the Tanzanian and Zambian youth are educated in the skills necessary to start and expand their own business. The Sub-Saharan initiative has been, for a large part, made possible by funding from Accenture – with 358,000 professionals in more than 120 countries, one of the leading consulting, technology and outsourcing companies in the world.
Skills to Succeed
In 2009, Accenture launched the ‘Skills to Succeed’ initiative to address the global need for skills that open doors to meaningful, lasting employment and economic opportunity and to advance employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in markets around the world. The initiative is part of the firm’s CSR programme and aims at equipping more than 3 million people with skills to get a job or build a business.
As part of this global programme, Accenture Netherlands has in recent years supported several projects, of which the donation of $2.2 million to Plan Netherlands is the most recent example. The donation consists partly of funds and the rest of the amount will be offered in the form of pro bono services, which is a typical feature within Accenture’s CSR strategy. In this particular case, the pro bono services consist, among others, of the development of an e-learning platform for trainings, which uses interactive components such as applications and games. “Together with Plan, we are helping connect these youth to the digital world – enabling access to technology that was previously unattainable and equipping them with skills to create a more secure future for themselves, their families and communities,” explains Jill Huntley, Managing Director of Global Corporate Citizenship at Accenture.
Over the past five years, Accenture and Plan International helped around 10,000 disadvantaged young people find work. Anne-Brigitte Albrectsen, CEO of Plan International, comments on the latest agreement: “Working alongside Accenture, we combine our expertise and ability to help disadvantaged youth in Tanzania and Zambia access the skills education and training needed to further their potential and secure employment.”
Skills to Succeed initiatives
For Accenture, this alliance with Plan Netherlands is one of many of its ‘Skills to Succeed’ initiatives. Other examples include: partnering with Girls Who Code to illustrate its commitment to women by investing in closing the gender gap in technology, with Ashoka to establish the Talent Growth Initiative aimed at bridging the skills gap, and with The Prince’s Trust to help expand the reach of its flagship employability programme ‘Get Into’.
* Plan Netherlands, part of Plan International, is a Dutch non-profit organisation that fights for sustainable poverty reduction and better living conditions for children in developing countries, with special attention to equal rights and opportunities for girls.