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MTN announces 100 winners of Youth Empowerment Program

MTN's CEO  Wim Vanhelleputte (L) with a learner from the St. Daniels Comboni Vocational Training Instiute. MTN will empower more of such youths. (File Photo)

MTN's CEO Wim Vanhelleputte (L) with a learner from the St. Daniels Comboni Vocational Training Instiute. MTN will empower more of such youths. (File Photo)

From the 1,993 applications, the MTN Foundation Uganda has selected 100 beneficiaries who will undertake training to harness the limitless possibility of technology as the country embraces the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 

While announcing the winners of the Youth Empowerment Program, Wim Vanhelleputte, the MTN Uganda chief executive officer said that this is one of the many initiatives that MTN Uganda has put in place to enable the youth benefit and offer ICT solutions to both their communities and businesses.

The program is designed at delivering practical knowledge, skills experience even more so in the era when the Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the immense need of digitalized systems to keep businesses and communities afloat in times of catastrophic circumstances.

After a 14-day window, the applications comprised 71.2 per cent male applicants and 28.9 per cent female applicants, a good indicator that the females are starting to take up their space in technology.

“The overwhelming numbers of the applications that we received are a good indicator that the youth of this country are keen on technology and are eager to become the very instruments of growth and development in their communities,” said Vanhelleputte.

The application call appealed to youths of various academic qualifications ranging from the Masters’ level of education to even those with no academic qualifications but a keen interest in the field of technology and innovation. The applicants included a plethora of university graduates, innovators and those engaged in small and medium businesses. The bulk of the applications came in from Kampala, Wakiso, Mbarara, Lira, Gulu.

The full list of winners is available at https://www.mtn.co.ug/impact/youth-program. The program participants will be trained in the key thematic areas of agriculture, education, health, technology and youth empowerment

The MTN Foundation Youth Empowerment Program will be implemented in partnership with Ubunifu systems, a software development firm based in Uganda. Ubunifu has cut its niche in professional mobile and web development with a focus on innovative, personalized and fully functional solutions that deliver value and satisfaction.

In his announcement, Vanhelleputte also noted that the five winners of last year’s MTN #ForGood campaign; Douglas Smith, Joseph Semayengo, Julius Tusingwire, Tony Ayebare and Brian Mawere aka Maw Brian will be the first beneficiaries of the Youth Empowerment program. 

Since the youth are the majority in Uganda, with 77 per cent of them aged below 25 years, they are a big and essential component in the country’s growth and development. It is against this background that the MTN Foundation chose to involve them to stimulate local innovation, which in turn will help them find gainful employment through community transforming innovations.

In 2019, MTN invited the youth to develop applications that use MTN MoMo APIs, to monetize both consumer and business opportunities digitally, a task many of them executed successfully.

MTN and Ericsson awarded MTN mobile money open API challenge with cash a combined cash prize of $6,000 (about Shs 22.06 million) and a trip to the Ericsson innovation centre in Sweden, for the overall winner.

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