29 March 2018
USAID seeks solutions to help women access tech
USAID has opened applications for the WomenConnect Challenge, seeking global solutions that meaningfully change the ways women and girls access and use technology.
Through the challenge, for which applications are open until May 4, USAID hopes to identify and accelerate solutions that empower women and girls to access and use digital technology to drive positive health, education, and livelihood outcomes for themselves and their families.
It is open to registered US or non-US organisations regardless of type, with all applicants required to use WomenConnect funds to implement a solution in a country with a USAID presence.
“Technology is revolutionising the world by providing tools for entrepreneurship, access to critical health and education, and life-enhancing information. Today, 1.7 billion women in low- and middle-income countries still do not own mobile phones, and the gap between the number of men and women using the internet has grown steadily over the past three years, resulting in a digital gender divide,” USAID said.
“This digital gender divide is reinforcing or even exacerbating existing socioeconomic gaps between men and women. By reducing this divide, women and girls will have access to information, networks, and services, driving inclusive economic growth and accelerating poverty alleviation.”
Tanzania’s youth innovators shine on Africa entrepreneurs programme
ABOUT 47 Tanzanian young entrepreneurs from ICT and agriculture sectors were among 1,000 Africans selected for a Nigerian business mogul Tonny Elumelu Foundation, the founder released them in a live screening through facebook on Thursday.
More than 150,000 Africans from 114 countries worldwide applied to join the 4th cycle of The Tony Elumelu Foundation’s (TEF) 10- year, 100m US dollars TEF Entrepreneurship Programme in 2018.
The founder Tony Elumelu said the Foundation had selected the African entrepreneurs with the most innovative, high-potential business ideas saying the competition was stiff. “The number and quality of applicants, 151,000 in total, was outstanding – it illustrates the strength and depth of entrepreneurial promise and commitment on our continent. Selection is never easy, and we profoundly regret that we cannot help all” he said.
He added, “Our partnerships with the Red Cross, UNDP and Indorama, alongside ongoing discussions with other international organisations, reflect the growing global recognition of what we have known all along - that entrepreneurship is the most effective path to sustainable development on our continent and our programme is the model to follow.
” The 2018 cohort includes an additional 250 entrepreneurs to the standard selection of 1,000 - thanks to a 1m US dollar partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to support 200 entrepreneurs in conflict and fragile zones of Nigeria (the North East where the Boko Haram scourge is felt and the Niger Delta region which suffers environmental degradation from oil spillage) a 200,000 US dollar agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to support 40 pan- African entrepreneurs; and a 50,000 US dollar partnership with Indorama to support 10 Nigerians.
There was a near 50-50 split between male and female applications, reflecting the entrepreneurial ambition of Africa’s women. Agriculture was the leading sector among selected entrepreneurs at 30.5 per cent, followed by technology (10.5 per cent) and Education and training (9 per cent).
TEF CEO, Parminder Vir OBE, said: “Over the next nine months, the entrepreneurs will receive online training and mentoring, and will use the skills acquired to develop business plans prior to receiving 5,000 US dollars in seed capital.
This will bring TEF’s total programme investment so far to 15m US dollars in direct funding to entrepreneurs and 5.8m US dollars in programme and technology development and operations. The Foundation’s beneficiaries have created more than 55,000 jobs and counting, and will convene from across all of Africa’s 54 countries to Lagos this October for the TEF Forum – the largest gathering of African entrepreneurs in the world.