Youth Technopreneurship for Social Change

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Sri Lanka has partnered with the National Youth Services Council (NYSC), Cisco and Citi to conduct e-learning programmesin 20 locations across Sri Lanka to build on national priorities placed on strengthening the knowledge on Information and Communication Technology skills among youth.

eLearning is a powerful toolthat has the potential to connect the youth of Sri Lanka toup-to-date learning material to equip youth with the right tools to contribute to the sustainable development of the country. This innovative mode of learning will also support in developing the entrepreneurial skills of youth, thus providing them with the ability to positively contribute towards the economy.

Speaking about the impact of this programme, Mr. Jorn Sorensen,UNDP Sri Lanka Country Director, stated. “We are very pleased to introduce this programme together with NYSC, Cisco and Citi to support the digital capacity of young people in Sri Lanka. As a crucial segment of society, we believe that engaging with young entrepreneurs to provide better access to market information and business skills, and a better enabling environment for youth-led enterprises is the best way forward to achieve inclusive and participatory sustainable development”.

The e-Learning programme will engage approximately 1000 youth through the National Youth Services Council network island wide, who will have an opportunity to the Cisco eLearning course on Entrepreneurship.The programme will run as a two-day workshop engaging 50 participants at each youth center. Furthermore, 40 best performers from this pool of participants (assessed at the end of the session) will also be given an opportunity to engage with the youth center instructors as Volunteer Instructor Assistants to expand this initiative further to other young people within the community.

Commenting on the e-learning module, Mr. Murugan Vasudevan, Regional Manager – South Asia for Cisco stated,“Entrepreneurship skills are critical to create the jobs of the future, many of which also require digital skills.Cisco is excited to be able to partner with the United Nations to offer the Entrepreneurship course with interactive, online case studies to show how one can apply digital skills to start a business.”

An added feature of this programme will be the training on ‘Financial literacy for Young Entrepreneurs’, facilitated by Citi staff who will volunteer as resource persons. 

Speaking about this partnership Mr. Ravin Basnayake, Citi Country Officer Sri Lanka stated “We are proud to be partnering with UNDP on this project to enhance technology skills of our youth. We strongly believe technology is a key enabler for inclusive development and recognizes the crucial role of the youth in creating a prosperous Sri Lanka.

Young people play a key role in shaping the 2030 development agenda. Hence, engaging with them at a community level is vital if the call for participation, inclusion, accountability and engagement embedded in the Sustainable Development Goalsare to be achieved.

Speaking about this, Mr. Eranda Weliange,Chairman of NYSC stated, ”Young people are active drivers of change in local communities. I am confident that this programme will enable young people in this country to advocate for change both within their communities and beyond.”

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