Linda Nanan Vallee at eLearning Africa

Summary of a talk by Linda Nanan Vallee at eLearning Africa.

I felt close to something Jef said earlier, about the mission we have on Earth. So I just wanted to share some very personal things, because I fel like we are a family.

When I was young I wanted to become a fighter pilot. Then a marine biologist. Then into ICT. There may not seem to be any link. But there is one: I like serving others. All three serve someone.

What I lack at that time was career advice. When we're young we don't necessarily know what we want to do, what we want to become. I asked, what do young Africans and young Sudanese want today? Do they want to be rich and buy new cars and impress their friends? It's up to aults to ensure they have healthy wills and healthy want in life.

I was doing career advice in workshops. After a few we saw the youth wanted money, social relationships, and God. So these raised the question - did they get that from their parents, or do we all have that initially, and then the mission changes?

We structured this panel around some questions. First, what young people in Africa want today. Then, what do they really need to transform their talent into tomorrow's (today') skills? To have access to relevant information. Access to information first, then relevance - one needs to learn to distinguish relevant information, to distinguish fake news from facts, etc.

And mentoring is very important - young people today have dreams, have ambitions, but they can't really see people who have achieved these. So mentoring is key. They need to have mentors so they can have faith in themselves, and to orient their learning. So I ask the adults here today to give some time to the younger people.

Yesterday I was looking at the African Business Center for Developing Education (ABCDE) website. I didn't know it was possible to be a mentor outside the countries they are working on, but today I volunteer to be a mentor in Ghana.

Also, in schools. In his school (a young person told me) there are no ICT tools. But in other schools, where they have them, the interest is higher. We should listen to what the young tell us.

Also, there's the question of how to turn those skills into success. We can see two options. One, in a high-paying job, where the skills can be used. Or one can create their own job by becoming an entrepreneur. That's not easy, to be sure, but then they can create their own one perfect job, and jobs for others as well.

In 2015 the government of Cote d'Ivoire started a program to support young entrepreneurs. They tried to find a way to raise awareness about young entrepreneurs, and to provide access to training, support, etc. (Discussion of some of her own work in the Fondation Jeunesse Numérique, numbers of people supported). We have trained about 3000 young people, 35% women. Also, we worked with something called Pathdesk, to order a learning path for them. (Summary of the prizes they won).

We are transforming job seekers into job creators. That's the important thing we should do. And in this context, they also need mentors.


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