Under the British Council Innovation for African Universities (IAU) Programme, the Durban University of Technology (DUT) has put together a 5-organisation Network Partnership with the mission to leverage Carbon Literacy for Youth Employability and Job Creation in Sub-Saharan African (SSA). The Network Partnership comprises the Sheffield Hallam University as the lead UK partner, Durban University of Technology as the lead SSA partner, Innovate Durban as the Ecosystem player, as well as Kisii University in Kenya, and Ladoke Akintola University of Technology in Nigeria, as other SSA partners. The partnership is poised to tackle the African development grand challenge of youth unemployment, that has been an obstacle to exploiting the continent’s youth population dividend for its socio-economic development.
The £60,000 partnership project, which will see DUT work with the other partner organisations in the UK and SSA, will be funded by the British Council’s Innovation for African Universities (IAU) programme.
The IAU programme aims to harness the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship within universities to support the development of SSA which is home to the world’s youngest and fastest growing population with an estimated 20 million young people poised to join the workforce annually.
However, of Africa’s nearly 420 million young people aged between 15 and 35, one third are unemployed and disenfranchised, another third is vulnerably employed, and only one in six are in wage employment.
Under the leadership of the DVC (Research, Innovation and Engagement), Prof Sibusiso Moyo, the DUT IAU project team led by Prof Sunday O. Ojo, includes Prof Shirley Motaung, Director of Technology Transfer and Innovation, Prof Oludayo Olugbara, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Accounting and Informatics, Dr Gananam Pillay, Director of the Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, Dr Ndivhuho Tshikovhi, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Ms Nonhlanhla Khanyile, the DUT IAU project Marketing Contact, and Prof Ian Lazarus. The Carbon Literacy for Youth Employability and Job Creation (CL4YEJC) project seeks to use Carbon Literacy as a leverage and tool, to empower African youths to engage in Green Innovation and Entrepreneurship (GIE) ventures, towards addressing the youth unemployment grand challenge in SSA. A key element of the project is the ethnolinguistic contextualisation of the Carbon Literacy Toolkit (developed in the UK) and its material content and pedagogical nuances, into the African ethnolinguistic contexts, to involve translating these materials into various African indigenous languages, to maximise Carbon Literacy model appropriateness and accessibility.
Through the project, youths will gain an awareness of environmental and climate change issues including the carbon dioxide costs and impacts of everyday life activities, and the ability and motivation to reduce emissions, on an individual, community and organisational basis, in a way that can be applied to any industry or sector, as well as Green Innovation and Entrepreneurship opportunities.
The project implementation will draw multi-disciplinary expertise from the fields including Computing, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Environmental Science, Language translation and transcreation, Arts and Design, and Management Science, among others. Prof Sibusiso Moyo, the DVC (RIE) said: “The DUT is honoured to be invited to participate in the British Council’s Innovation for African Universities Programme, following a successful funding and participation bid, which it spear-headed”.
“DUT has formalized the Network Partnership in the form of MoUs with the other partner organisations, and we are enthused by the opportunity to work with, and learn from, such prestigious UK and African institutions, ensuring we apply our shared knowledge and expertise to an African issue of youth unemployment.”
The project is set to begin in October 2021 and run until September 2022.
Article Prepared by: Prof Sunday O Ojo, DUT IAU Project Team Leader