Tag Archives: Africa

Cybersecurity Month: Providing helpful resources for parents, teachers & students to navigate the digital world

The Cyber Security Awareness Month is observed in October across the world annually and was created to ensure that every individual stays safe and secure online. According to UNICEF, millions of children are at a heightened risk of online threats as learning and daily activities move increasingly online during lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.


As part of our commitment to help kids and families stay safe online, especially during this period, we’re excited to announce a few initiatives happening this month.







Online Safety Webinars for Parents and Families
The online safety webinars are designed to help parents learn about helpful and find digital wellbeing tips to navigate the online world with their kids safely . The training content covers tips for setting digital ground rules for the family, helpful resources for discovering and managing family friendly content, and protecting simple solutions for protecting the family´s online privacy and security. Parents can also find quick links to learn about safety tools like Family Link, Youtube Kids, & Digital wellbeing.   To register for the webinars across SSA, please visit goo.gle/onlinesafety


Localizing Online Safety Awareness through fun and informative Story Books
In continuation of our work to make it simpler for children to learn how to be safe while online, we have partnered with children's author, Nomthi Odukoya to create an online safety story book, titled How to be Safe Online, for families with children aged 10 to 16 years old.
This book simplifies the basics of digital citizenship and safety so children can explore the online world with confidence. Children can learn important safety tips including tips on how to communicate effectively online, tips on how to spot scams and phishers, how to safeguard valuable personal information, how to spread positivity online, tips for disempowering cyberbullying, and how children can to escalate to a trusted adult when they face difficulties online.

The stories have also been adapted to local Kenyan, Nigerian and South African names, to make it easier for kids to relate with the story better. We are working with educational partners to share free copies across Sub Saharan Africa to families and institutions with kids aged between 10 and 16 years old.

We invite you to download the e- version for advanced readers aged 8 and above on the Read Along app. Download the read along app to get started


Scaling the Online Safety Learning in Schools
On the heels of the launch of our online safety education curriculum in Nigeria, we are pleased to announce new plans, in partnership with the South African Western Cape Education Department to launch an online safety curriculum guideline for grades 8 to 12. The guidelines which will be integrated into the Life Orientation subject will be announced at a virtual event today, 21st of October, 2020. We invite you to register to attend here.

More than ever before, the need to help more people understand and practice online safety practices is crucial especially for families with children, who have been learning either virtually or through a hybrid of in person and virtual training. We understand this, and remain committed to building, developing and investing in tools and projects to help families stay safe.

To learn more about our resources to keep you and your family safe, please visit the Google Safety Center.




Posted by Mojolaoluwa Aderemi-Makinde, Head, Brand & Reputation, Sub-Saharan Africa

==== 


Mashujaa: Celebrate the communities of Kenya with Google Arts & Culture

Editor's note: Today we hear from Ambassador Dr Amina Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Culture and Heritage, Republic of Kenya



Today in Kenya we’re celebrating Mashujaa Day, or National Heroes Day, and honoring the remarkable people who have shaped our nation. We are shining the spotlight on a pantheon of cultural and folk heroes, and how their superpowers continue to be the strength and heartbeat of not only the communities from which they came, but all of Kenya. We need days like these to remind us how our shared heritage and our diversity unites us as people, and it is therefore with great pride that I unveil the second chapter of the online project Utamaduni Wetu: Meet the People of Kenya, created in collaboration with the National Museums of Kenya, Google Arts & Culture and the creative agency Shujaa Stories.



Originally launched in 2019, Utamaduni Wetu: Meet the People of Kenya is Google’s most ambitious digitization project to date in Africa, and one of the first digital content features on the subject of Kenyan communities. Everyone can now explore over 10,600 high-resolution photographs170 expert-curated exhibits80 Street Views of 16 sites and learn more about the intangible heritage and stories of the country’s 44 communities officially registered by the government. The exhibits shine light on the regions, history, traditions, morals, worldview and wisdom of Kenya’s communities, some of whose stories—usually passed on through oral history—have been written down and shared online for the first time.





Today, on Mashujaa Day, I am delighted to announce that we now have at least one superhero for each of our 44 communities, and I invite you to explore their stories on Google Arts & Culture. Originally conceived by the late Masidza Sande Galavu and Jeff Muchina of Shujaa Stories, the first 21 heroes were unveiled at an exhibition at the National Museums of Kenya and online as part of Utamaduni Wetu: Meet the People of Kenya. Now, thanks to the leadership of Dr. Mzalendo Kibunjia, the Director General of the National Museums of Kenya, a dedicated team of researchers, curators, academics and young creatives has worked to bring 40 more stories to life. They have travelled far to get first-hand knowledge of the communities and passionately researched, documented and illustrated a total of 61 heroes spanning cultures, generations, gender and geography.


The government’s collaboration with Google Arts & Culture has democratised access to Kenya’s rich heritage and enabled more people to discover our culture and human connections in new, exciting and interactive ways. It has also encouraged real-life visits to the country’s museums, monuments and heritage sites.


I encourage you to read each of the stories, and be inspired by the achievements and bravery of each superhero. They are a celebration of the values and the heritage of the peoples of Kenya and of our unity in diversity. I would like to echo the words of the great author Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, who said, "The peoples of Kenya have an incredible richness of history and culture. Learning from what we already have, from all the communities, is the way into the world."


Posted by Ambassador Dr Amina Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Culture and Heritage, Republic of Kenya



 ====




Mashujaa : Les communautés kenyanes à l’honneur grâce à Google Arts & Culture


Aujourd’hui, au Kenya, nous célébrons Mashujaa Day, la Journée nationale des Héros, l’occasion de rendre hommage aux personnalités d’exception qui ont façonné notre nation. Gros plan sur un panthéon de héros issus du monde de la culture classique et populaire, pour montrer comment, par leurs super-pouvoirs, ils continuent d’incarner la force et le cœur non seulement des communautés dont ils sont originaires, mais de l’ensemble du pays. Nous avons besoin de jours comme celui-ci pour nous rappeler que notre patrimoine commun et notre diversité font de nous un peuple, et c’est donc avec une grande fierté que je dévoile le deuxième chapitre du projet en ligne Utamaduni Wetu : À la rencontre du peuple kényan, créé en collaboration avec les musées nationaux du Kenya, Google Arts et culture et Shujaa Stories.


Initialement lancé en 2019, Utamaduni Wetu : À la rencontre du peuple Kényan est le projet de numérisation de Google le plus ambitieux à ce jour en Afrique, et l’un des premiers à proposer des contenus numériques sur le thème des communautés kényanes. Chacun peut désormais découvrir plus de 10 500 photographies en haute résolution, 129 expositions organisées par des experts et 80 Street Views de 16 sites et en savoir plus sur le patrimoine immatériel et l'histoire des 44 communautés que compte officiellement ce pays. Les expositions mettent en lumière les régions, l’histoire, les traditions, la morale, la vision du monde et la sagesse des communautés du Kenya, dont certains récits, généralement transmis oralement, ont été transcrits et mis à disposition en ligne pour la première fois.


Aujourd’hui, en cette Journée de Mashujaa, je suis ravi d’annoncer que nous avons désormais au moins un super-héros pour chacune de nos 44 communautés, et je vous invite à découvrir leurs portraits sur Google Arts et culture. Conçus à l’origine par feu Masidza Sande Galavu et Jeff Muchina de l’agence de création Shujaa Stories, un groupe de jeunes designers et écrivains qui ont créé les animations de super-héros, les 21 premiers héros ont été dévoilés lors d’une exposition dans les Musées nationaux du Kenya et en ligne dans le cadre du projet Utamaduni Wetu : À la rencontre du peuple Kényan. Aujourd’hui, sous la direction du Dr Mzalendo Kibunjia, directeur général des musées nationaux du Kenya, une équipe motivée de chercheurs, de conservateurs, d’universitaires et de jeunes créateurs a permis de donner vie à 40 autres histoires. Ils ont parcouru un grand nombre de kilomètres pour acquérir une connaissance de première main des communautés. Ils ont ensuite mené des recherches, documenté et illustré avec passion un total de 61 héros hommes et femmes de toutes cultures et de tous âges, originaires de régions différentes.


La collaboration entre le gouvernement et Google Arts & Culture a permis de démocratiser l’accès au riche patrimoine du Kenya et à faire découvrir notre culture et les liens qui nous unissent de manière innovante et interactive. Il a également encouragé les internautes à se rendre dans les musées, à visiter les monuments et les sites du patrimoine kényan.


Je vous encourage à lire toutes les histoires. La bravoure et les prouesses de chacun de ces super-héros sont une source d'inspiration pour nous tous. Ils mettent à l’honneur les valeurs et l’héritage des peuples du Kenya ainsi que notre unité dans la diversité. Je voudrais me faire l’écho des paroles du grand écrivain Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, lorsqu’il disait : « Les peuples du Kenya ont une histoire et une culture d’une incroyable richesse. Notre faculté à apprendre à partir de ce que nous avons déjà, qui nous a été transmis par toutes les communautés, c’est la voie qui nous permettra de nous ouvrir au monde. »


Poste par Amb. (Dr.) Amina C. Mohamed, Secrétaire d’État aux sports, à la culture et au patrimoine, République du Kenya

Celebrating teachers leading in crisis and lifting others up on World Teacher’s Day

Today, October 5th, teachers all over the world are celebrated for their efforts to leave no one behind and democratise access to education. The service of teachers and the profession as a whole directly contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 4 - ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. 

 
This year due to Covid-19, we’ve witnessed education disruption at a scale and pace never before seen in the world. Teachers have had to come up with innovative ways to keep learning going and students engaged; parents in many cases have had to step up to play the roles of teachers at home, in addition to being primary caregivers. For this reason, UNESCO’s theme for World Teachers Day 2020 - “Teachers: Leading in crisis, reimagining the future” is not only especially relevant, but adequately captures the role teachers have had to play in ensuring learning continuity and support for their students. 



Katherine, a Director at Little Lambs Schools in Eldoret, Kenya had to lead her school through the storm at the onset of the pandemic and transition quickly to virtual learning using G Suite for education. With the selfless work of the school’s teachers such as Thomas - not only were the students at the school able to keep learning, but they were able to empower the wider community through a paid community learning programme using G Suite for education. Through the revenue generated from the virtual community learning program, Little Lambs school was able to keep teacher salaries paid and operations going during the pandemic. 




Little Lambs Schools’ story, and many other stories of schools and teachers reimagining education in times of crises, show how education has the power to empower people, communities and improve the overall economy. Last month, we announced our commitment to help 500k students and 25k teachers get back on their feet through G Suite for education virtual learning tools and training programs such as Teach from Anywhere - we are excited to see the impact of these programs so far and look forward to supporting the progress of many more teachers and learners across the continent. Finally, to all teachers and parents turned teachers, going above and beyond to keep children learning, Happy World Teachers Day.



 
Posted by Agnes Gathaiya, Country Director, Kenya 

====

Happy Independence Day, Nigeria: 5 ways to join the virtual celebrations

Editor’s note: Today we hear from Folorunsho Coker, Director General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC). Read about the NTDC's ongoing partnership with Google to enable the recovery and growth of the Nigerian tourism industry.




Today, October 1st 2020 marks the 60th Independence Anniversary of Nigeria and the annual celebration shines light on what we are known for: our rich and diverse cultural heritage, spectacular nature, bustling cities and our welcoming spirit. Often referred to as the heartbeat of Africa, our population of more than 200 million people is putting the country on the world map through music, art, literature and a vibrant technology scene.


The Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) has since 2017 designed programs to accelerate the growth of domestic tourism in Nigeria. As a vital frontier of economic development, we have supported initiatives promoting diverse indigenous cultural heritages and traditions to empower peace and development for different ethnic groups. As 2020 has posed several challenges for locals and global travellers alike, we are excited to announce a new and dedicated program with Google to enable the recovery and growth of the tourism industry in Nigeria - with a focus on exploring Nigeria for domestic travellers. The holistic program tagged 'Explore Nigeria' will include tourism-specific digital skills training, ongoing support for small businesses in Nigeria, and a new virtual collection by Google Arts & Culture called ‘Tour Nigeria’.



Today, we invite you to explore the true spirit and essence of Nigeria, from the historic, cultural and heritage sites to sun-kissed coastlines, beaches, breathtaking waterfalls, natural springs, the grandeur of festivals, wildlife and magnificent plateaus. Whether it’s your first encounter with Nigeria or you are rediscovering our heritage, we encourage you to virtually tour the country through the ‘Tour Nigeria’ collection with over 400 photographs, 12 online stories, 10 Street Views of iconic sites. And if you’re still aching for more, you should check out the YouTube travel recommendation series featuring some of the country’s top influencers. This is the first phase of a long-term partnership with Google Arts & Culture which aims to digitize, preserve and share Nigeria’s rich culture with Nigerians and the world. From the north, south, east and west, it is our goal to collaborate with Google Arts & Culture on using their technologies to document Nigeria’s past, present and future for generations to come. 



From the comfort of your couch, I invite you to join me in getting the virtual celebrations started with these five experiences on Google Arts & Culture:


 1.    Explore Nigeria YouTube series  
To help plan your next Nigerian adventure, we have invited , Bukola Wahab (Shawttynat), Funmi Oyatogun, Ibe Kenneth (MaziIbe_), Ibrahim Salawu (Unilag Olodo), Oluwatosin Ajibade (Olorisupergirl) and Pamilerin Adegoke (Uncle Pamilerin) and Yemisi Odusanya (Sisi Yemmie) to share their most memorable holiday and what not to miss. Let them guide you through what to see, taste, smell, feel and listen to.  



2.     Climb to the top of Mount Patti 
With the help of Street View, you can now explore the lush green Mount Patti which looks over the confluence of the Rivers Niger and Benue. Start by making your way to the famous baobab tree which is known to possess mythical values. Continue to The Lugard Rest House which today is a mini museum of Nigeria’s colonial past. Finish off your tour at the iconic view point and take in its magnificence.
Image: Mount Patti, Adedotun Ajibade, from the collection of Tour Nigeria

3.     Put your knowledge to the test 
Did you know that Nigeria is the world’s most populous black nation, has the third biggest film industry, Africa’s oldest dye pit and is home to Afrobeat music? Step back in time to learn about Nigeria’s ancient kingdoms and colonial past by visiting ten sites with Street View including Lagos National Museum and Tinubu Square. Fast forward by exploring 15 facts you need to know about Nigeria and put your knowledge to the test. 
Image: Kofar Mata dye pits, Adedotun Ajibade, from the collection of Tour Nigeria 

 
4.    Experience the most colourful festivals
Experience the true spirit of Nigeria’s people by virtually taking part of one of the many festivals celebrated throughout the year. Each of the more than 250 ethnic communities celebrate their culture through music, dancing, masquerades, competitions and traditions. We invite you to join thousands of fishermen competing to catch the largest fish at the Argundu festival, watch the spectacular Durbar horse parade in Kano and learn about Nigeria’s naval history at the 200-year old Yauri Rigata festival
Image: Dancers at the Rigata Festival, from the collection of Tour Nigeria 



5.    Spot a butterfly and visit the natural wonders
From the north, south, east to the west, Nigeria has an exceptional biodiversity and boasts of an abundance of fauna and flora. Having one of the world’s largest diversity of butterflies, photographer Adedotun Ajibade invites you to join him in exploring the most colorful ones through this online exhibit. Ever wanted to visit the Awhum Caves of Enugu, the Farin Ruwa falls of Nasarawa, the Osun Osogbo sacred grove of Osun state, and the Wikki Warm spring of Bauchi staIf? Discover 14 spectacular natural wonders and be inspired to plan your next adventure. See you out there! 
Image: Axiocerses harpas butterfly, Adedotun Ajibade, from the collection of Tour Nigeria



Curious to see more? Check out g.co/explorenigeria, download the free Google Arts & Culture app for free Google Arts & Culture app for Android or iOS.



Posted by Folorunsho Coker, Director General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation.


 ==== 

Supporting the growth of the Tourism Industry in Africa

After months of isolation while living in quarantine, travel is the leisure activity that I miss the most. And I’m not alone. While no one can say with certainty when tourism will recover, people are starting to dream again of getaways whether closer to home or to remote destinations. As more and more people go online to search where and when they can travel, accelerating the digitalization of the tourism sector will be key to adapting to the new tourism reality. 


This is why we’re excited to partner with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to develop an online Acceleration Program to train UNWTO Member States' tourism ministers, top travel associations and tourism boards on a range of digital tools to engage travellers at home, and encourage future travel when possible. Today, ahead of World Tourism Day, the organizations hosted the first UNWTO & Google Tourism Acceleration Program focused on insights from South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria. 


Tourism is the backbone of many economies around the world. As data from UNWTO shows, tourism represents 9% of global trade for Africa, and 1 in 10 jobs directly and indirectly. Technology can foster new and better jobs and business opportunities for tourism in Africa while improving the overall wellbeing and prosperity of the region. Moreover, the tourism sector drives inclusive growth, as women make 54% of the workforce while in Africa they represent 69% of the workforce ; this is the highest share among world regions.

Africa is home to 30% of the world’s population, where hundreds of million of new users are coming online every year. Google Search is one of the places Africans go when researching and booking travel.


Our travel data insights and tools , available on our Think with Google site, can help tourism authorities and businesses identify new trends in consumer preferences. For example, as people increasingly search for local and outdoor tourism, businesses can react to these changing needs by doing marketing campaigns that highlight nature destinations, and they can prepare for an uptick in last-minute bookings.


In fact, an analysis of Search trends in Sub-Saharan shows that interest for travel and tourism is gradually recovering:



South Africa Travel Search Trends

Google Search data shows some encouraging signs of increased interest in tourism in South Africa:





Kenya Travel Search Trends

The top three questions users asked Google globally related to travel conducted in July comprised “When can we travel again,” “when will international travel resume,” and “when will it be safe to travel again.” while top questions in August were related to where and when we can travel “right now”. In fact, 45% of the top 100 questions related to travel focused on the impact of COVID-19, the need to travel as soon as possible and travel safety.

Travel Demand by Counties





Nigeria Travel Search Trends
Since Nigeria announced the intention to reopen its borders to international travel on August 29th, search interest for travel has grown.

Travel Search Demand by State




While this World Tourism Day marks a uniquely challenging period for tourism, it’s also an opportunity to prepare and find new ways to engage with would-be travellers. We remain optimistic about the travel industry’s future and its potential to drive inclusive growth in Africa.


Posted by Doron Avni, Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy for Emerging Markets

Helping Africa restart the economy

Many economies in Africa are beginning to reopen and trying to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. We want to help businesses, jobseekers, educational institutions and others as they grapple with the "new normal" and begin to rebuild. 






Supporting African businesses
Small businesses have been hardest hit in this period. Many of them have had to figure out quickly how to pivot their operations to a ‘digital-first’ approach. We have set up a digital hub providing free tools and resources for businesses and individuals, and we’ll be helping 500,000 small businesses get online or improve their digital presence through Google My Business. Once people can find them on Google and Google Maps, these businesses will be able to connect with millions of customers every month.


We’re also launching a tool that helps people to put together a marketing kit for their business. Using information from their Google My Business profile it helps businesses keep customers informed with their latest news, create custom posters and social posts.


SMB owners are experts when it comes to local customers, but are often less knowledgeable about finding new markets and everything that entails: culture, buying trends, export legalities, and payment options for their product in other countries. Our free Market finder tool is aimed at helping businesses across Africa to reach new customers around the world. The tool, which includes updated insights for negotiating a covid and post-covid environment, helps with localisation, international payments and logistics, so you can effectively reach global customers who may be looking for your products or services.






Helping jobseekers
Millions of people across the continent in formal and informal jobs have been impacted and are looking for new work opportunities. We want to help them to acquire new skills. 


Starting in November, we’ll be providing $750k in IT support scholarships through Google.org, focused on underserved communities and job seekers who can't afford data. This 5-course certificate includes an innovative curriculum designed to prepare you for an entry-level role in IT support. 


Job seekers can access our Grow with Google training portal to help grow your career or business at your own pace, with flexible and personalised training courses designed to build your confidence and help you thrive.



Supporting educational institutions and upskilling teachers
This year we experienced educational disruption at a scale we've never seen before. And back to school will look different for many as schools adopt a hybrid physical and virtual learning model. Through Google for Education we are working with partners across Africa to help deploy our suite of education products in schools to help 500,000 students continue learning.


Technology can make distance learning easier and more accessible. To help teachers keep teaching we aim to give 25,000 educators from across the continent access to free online training sessions and resources, such as Teach From Anywhere.



We are also giving a $250k grant to organisations in Nigeria to provide fellowships, distance learning programs and remote education tools to boost literacy for children in low-income schools across the country. 




Assistance to vulnerable populations 
Google.org will be providing $3 million in grants to nonprofits that support education, entrepreneurship and women empowerment. 


We are giving a grant of $1M to GiveDirectly Kenya to help 500 women living in informal settlements who have lost their sources of income due to COVID-19. The grant is aimed at helping them to start their own businesses or find new ways of supporting themselves financially.


In South Africa, we are supporting the Youth Employment Service to provide twelve-month employment opportunities and digital skills to black young people in South Africa through a $500k grant. 


We are also donating $500,000 to the Praekelt Foundation to help train micro and small businesses in Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria. 



The impact of Covid-19 will continue to be felt for a long time, in Africa and around the world. We’ll continue to do our part to help businesses recover and grow, help more people prepare for jobs, and support students, teachers and underserved communities. In doing so, we hope to continue to play a part in helping to create economic opportunity for everyone.



Posted by Nitin Gajria, Director, Sub-Saharan Africa.


 ==== 




Helping Africa restart the economy

Many economies in Africa are beginning to reopen and trying to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. We want to help businesses, jobseekers, educational institutions and others as they grapple with the "new normal" and begin to rebuild. 






Supporting African businesses
Small businesses have been hardest hit in this period. Many of them have had to figure out quickly how to pivot their operations to a ‘digital-first’ approach. We have set up a digital hub providing free tools and resources for businesses and individuals, and we’ll be helping 500,000 small businesses get online or improve their digital presence through Google My Business. Once people can find them on Google and Google Maps, these businesses will be able to connect with millions of customers every month.


We’re also launching a tool that helps people to put together a marketing kit for their business. Using information from their Google My Business profile it helps businesses keep customers informed with their latest news, create custom posters and social posts.


SMB owners are experts when it comes to local customers, but are often less knowledgeable about finding new markets and everything that entails: culture, buying trends, export legalities, and payment options for their product in other countries. Our free Market finder tool is aimed at helping businesses across Africa to reach new customers around the world. The tool, which includes updated insights for negotiating a covid and post-covid environment, helps with localisation, international payments and logistics, so you can effectively reach global customers who may be looking for your products or services.






Helping jobseekers
Millions of people across the continent in formal and informal jobs have been impacted and are looking for new work opportunities. We want to help them to acquire new skills. 


Starting in November, we’ll be providing $750k in IT support scholarships through Google.org, focused on underserved communities and job seekers who can't afford data. This 5-course certificate includes an innovative curriculum designed to prepare you for an entry-level role in IT support. 


Job seekers can access our Grow with Google training portal to help grow your career or business at your own pace, with flexible and personalised training courses designed to build your confidence and help you thrive.



Supporting educational institutions and upskilling teachers
This year we experienced educational disruption at a scale we've never seen before. And back to school will look different for many as schools adopt a hybrid physical and virtual learning model. Through Google for Education we are working with partners across Africa to help deploy our suite of education products in schools to help 500,000 students continue learning.


Technology can make distance learning easier and more accessible. To help teachers keep teaching we aim to give 25,000 educators from across the continent access to free online training sessions and resources, such as Teach From Anywhere.



We are also giving a $250k grant to organisations in Nigeria to provide fellowships, distance learning programs and remote education tools to boost literacy for children in low-income schools across the country. 




Assistance to vulnerable populations 
Google.org will be providing $3 million in grants to nonprofits that support education, entrepreneurship and women empowerment. 


We are giving a grant of $1M to GiveDirectly Kenya to help 500 women living in informal settlements who have lost their sources of income due to COVID-19. The grant is aimed at helping them to start their own businesses or find new ways of supporting themselves financially.


In South Africa, we are supporting the Youth Employment Service to provide twelve-month employment opportunities and digital skills to black young people in South Africa through a $500k grant. 


We are also donating $500,000 to the Praekelt Foundation to help train micro and small businesses in Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria. 



The impact of Covid-19 will continue to be felt for a long time, in Africa and around the world. We’ll continue to do our part to help businesses recover and grow, help more people prepare for jobs, and support students, teachers and underserved communities. In doing so, we hope to continue to play a part in helping to create economic opportunity for everyone.



Posted by Nitin Gajria, Director, Sub-Saharan Africa.


 ==== 




Celebrating International Literacy Day with Read Along

Parents often dream of giving their children a good education to help prepare them for the future. Martha had changed Williams’ school four times because he struggled with reading; this affected his academics and his confidence. She was on the lookout for helpful resources for her 10-year old son. When she heard about the ‘Read Along’ app in Nigeria, she decided Williams could give it a try. Today, he reads confidently and has fallen in love with reading, spending more than 30 minutes daily with his books. As a result, his mum has a more positive outlook on his educational attainment.
 

 Sept. 8 is celebrated as International Literacy Day, a perfect time to celebrate and talk about the importance of literacy and how we can use our resources to help develop the ability to read to more people all over the world.



The ability to read builds the foundation for literacy and a better life. Earlier this year, we made our early age literacy app, ‘Read Along’, available across more than 180 countries globally to help families looking to improve their children’s reading skills.




William’s story & similar feedback from many other parents and children is very heartwarming to get - especially in the light of school closures owing to covid-19. To date, children across Sub-Saharan Africa have read more than 30 million words, spending more than 15,000 hours on the app since July 2019. We’re also seeing the positive impact on reading abilities. In our internal analysis, we observed that beginner-level readers (those who read at a speed of less than 45 correct words per minute) notice an improvement of between 38% to 88% in their oral reading fluency after reading for over 100 minutes on the app.



We are humbled to see these results. We are also committed to incorporating the valuable feedback we’ve received from parents and educators. Today, ‘Read Along’ comes preloaded with over 700 books across 10 languages - Hindi, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu & Arabic, and features improvements to make it easier for multilingual kids to switch languages or get phonic support when they tap words. 
In addition, we are working on features to further develop children’s learning experience such as comprehension questions, the ability for educators to create local reading groups and track student’s reading progress as well as making ‘Read Along’ more accessible in landscape mode.



Announcing Story-a-thon
To spread the joy of reading this International Literacy Day, we invite parents to read to their kids - both without and with ‘Read Along’ - and share stories written by their children. ‘Read Along’ will showcase some of those submissions on the app too. We’re also delighted to share a handbook for educators to help them leverage ‘Read Along’ in their lesson plans even in the most basic digital classrooms. 
Reading enables creativity and confidence in children and ‘Read Along,’ an early age literacy app by Google is committed to helping every child, like Williams, learn to read.





Posted by Mojola Aderemi-Makinde, Head, Brand & Reputation, Sub Saharan Africa, Google.




 ==== 




Fêtons la Journée internationale de l’alphabétisation avec Read Along
Nombreux sont les parents qui rêvent de donner à leurs enfants une bonne éducation qui les aidera pour l’avenir.


Martha avait changé Williams d’école à quatre reprises parce qu’il avait des difficultés en lecture, ce qui avait une incidence sur ses résultats scolaires et sa confiance en lui. Elle était à la recherche de ressources utiles pour son fils de 10 ans. Lorsqu’elle a entendu parler de l’application « Read Along » au Nigeria, elle s’est dit que Williams pouvait essayer. Aujourd’hui, c’est un enfant qui lit avec assurance. Passionné de lecture, il consacre plus de 30 minutes par jour à cette activité. Sa maman a donc une vision plus positive de ses résultats scolaires.


Le 8 septembre c’est la Journée internationale de l’alphabétisation, un moment idéal pour mettre un coup de projecteur sur l’alphabétisation et évoquer l’importance de savoir lire et écrire. C’est aussi l’occasion de nous interroger sur la manière dont nous pouvons utiliser nos ressources pour permettre à plus de personnes à travers le monde d’apprendre à lire.


La capacité à lire constitue le fondement de l’alphabétisation et d’une vie meilleure. Au début de l’année, nous avons mis à disposition notre application d’alphabétisation à l’attention des jeunes enfants, « Read Along », dans plus de 180 pays, afin d’aider les familles qui souhaitent améliorer les compétences en lecture de leurs enfants.


L’histoire de William ainsi que les retours similaires de nombreux autres parents et enfants sont très encourageants, en particulier dans le contexte des fermetures d’écoles dues à l’épidémie de covid-19. À ce jour, les enfants d’Afrique subsaharienne ont lu plus de 30 millions de mots et ont passé plus de 15 000 heures sur l’application depuis juillet 2019. Nous constatons également les effets positifs sur les capacités de lecture. Nous avons observé que les lecteurs de niveau débutant (ceux qui lisent à une vitesse inférieure à 45 mots déchiffrés correctement par minute) constatent une amélioration de 38 à 88 % de leur fluidité de lecture orale après avoir lu pendant plus de 100 minutes sur l’application.


Ces résultats sont une grande satisfaction pour nous. Nous nous sommes également engagés à intégrer les commentaires que nous avons reçus des parents et des éducateurs. Aujourd’hui, « Read Along » est préchargé avec plus de 700 livres accessibles en 10 langues - hindi, anglais, espagnol, portugais, marathi, bengali, tamoul, télougou, ourdou et arabe - et propose aussi des fonctionnalités en plus pour permettre aux enfants multilingues de changer de langue ou d’obtenir une assistance téléphonique lorsqu’ils tapent sur des mots.


En outre, nous travaillons actuellement sur des fonctionnalités permettant d’améliorer l’expérience d’apprentissage des enfants, par exemple en proposant des questions de compréhension, la possibilité pour les éducateurs de créer des groupes de lecture au niveau local, et de suivre les progrès des élèves. Nous souhaitons également rendre « Read Along » plus accessible en mode paysage.


Annonce du Story-a-thon
Dans l’objectif de partager le plaisir de lire en cette Journée internationale de l’alphabétisation, nous invitons les parents à lire des livres à leurs enfants - avec ou sans « Read Along » - et à partager des histoires écrites par ces derniers. Un certain nombre de ces récits seront également disponibles sur l’application « Read Along ». Par ailleurs, nous avons le plaisir de mettre à disposition des éducateurs un manuel pour exploiter « Read Along » dans leur progression pédagogique, même dans les salles de classe numériques les plus élémentaires.


La lecture favorise la créativité et la confiance en soi chez l'enfant. « Read Along », l’application d’alphabétisation pour les jeunes enfants mise au point par Google, a pour but d’aider tous les enfants tels que Williams à apprendre à lire.




Publié par : Mojolaoluwa Aderemi-Makinde Responsable, Marque et Réputation, Afrique subsaharienne, Google.

Improving mobile internet access through digital literacy

In Sub-Saharan Africa, 770 million people are unable to access the internet, meaning they do not enjoy the benefits of connectivity. Affordability of data and devices are significant barriers preventing access. In addition, low levels of digital literacy pose a further challenge that prevents users from exploring the full potential of the internet in their daily lives. A recent study showed that among those who are aware of mobile internet, a lack of literacy and digital skills was the biggest perceived barrier to adoption across regions, with 34% of people highlighting this as the reason for not coming online.

To help tackle these key issues, we have worked with a wide range of mobile industry partners in the region on training programs educating customers about smartphones and how to use them effectively. We have also invested in digital skills training via Grow with Google - a skills training program through which we have trained over 5 million people across Africa in digital skills. However, there is still a lot to be done to address the digital divide. Adoption of a scaled approach and wider collaboration are some of the critical ones to grow an understanding of mobile internet and ultimately result in usage.

We are excited to be partnering with GSMA to introduce a new Android training module to help more people better understand and take advantage of the Android platform to learn, grow, and connect. This new training module, which will be included in the latest version of the Mobile Internet Skills Training Toolkit (MISTT), will form a part of the GSMA connected society initiative, and will empower 2 million people with mobile internet skills by 2021.


The Android MISTT module teaches basic smartphone functionalities including creating a Google Account, using Google Assistant and other apps, as well as best practices for staying safe and secure while using your smartphone, and can be downloaded here.

Access to mobile internet provides many positive outcomes as well as societal and economic benefits - helping people stay connected with friends and family, get reliable information on a range of topics, do business and even simply do the things they love like watching their favorite videos online. The present global climate has shown that digital connectedness can be a lifeline for people in times of crises, and reemphasized why we must continue to invest and do more to improve access to and understanding of the internet for every African.


Posted by Mariam Abdullahi, Director, Platform Partnerships, Android and Play





 ==== 




Améliorer l’accès à l’internet mobile grâce à la culture numérique

En Afrique subsaharienne, 770 millions de personnes sont dans l’incapacité d’accéder à Internet, ce qui signifie qu’elles ne bénéficient pas des avantages de la connectivité. Le coût des données et des appareils constitue un obstacle important à l’accès à Internet. En outre, le faible niveau de culture numérique représente un autre défi qui empêche les utilisateurs de découvrir tout le potentiel d'Internet dans leur vie quotidienne. Une étude récente a montré que parmi ceux qui connaissent l’internet mobile, le manque de culture et de compétences numériques constituait le principal obstacle à l’utilisation de cette technologie, toutes régions confondues, 34 % des personnes précisant que c’était la raison pour laquelle elles n’utilisaient pas ce service.

Pour résoudre ces problèmes majeurs, nous avons travaillé avec un large éventail de partenaires de l’industrie de la téléphonie mobile de la région sur des programmes de formation visant à sensibiliser les clients aux smartphones en leur montrant comment les utiliser. Nous avons également investi dans la formation aux compétences numériques via Grow with Google - un programme de formation axé sur les compétences numériques qui nous a permis de former plus de 5 millions de personnes à travers l’Afrique. Toutefois, il reste beaucoup à faire pour réduire la fracture numérique. L’adoption d’une approche graduelle et la mise en place d’une collaboration plus large constituent des initiatives déterminantes pour favoriser une meilleure compréhension de l’internet mobile et à terme son utilisation.

Nous sommes ravis de nous associer avec GSMA pour proposer un nouveau module de formation Android destiné à permettre à un plus grand nombre de personnes de mieux comprendre la plateforme Android et de l’utiliser pour apprendre, se développer et se connecter. Ce nouveau module de formation, qui sera inclus dans la dernière version de la Boîte à outils de formation aux compétences relatives à l’internet mobile (MISTT), fera partie intégrante de l’initiative société connectée,lancée par GSMA et permettra à 2 millions de personnes d’acquérir des compétences en matière d’internet mobile d’ici 2021.

Le module Android MISTT permet d’acquérir les fonctionnalités de base des smartphones notamment la création d’un compte Google, l’utilisation de l’assistant Google et d’autres applications. Il met également l’accent sur les meilleures pratiques pour utiliser votre smartphone en toute sécurité. Pour télécharger ce module, cliquez iciici.

L’accès à l’internet mobile offre de nombreux avantages. Cette technologie a également un impact sociétal et économique : elle permet aux gens de rester en contact avec leurs amis et leur famille, d’obtenir des informations fiables dans de nombreux domaines, d’avoir une activité commerciale et même tout simplement de faire ce qu’ils aiment, comme regarder leurs vidéos préférées en ligne. La situation mondiale actuelle a montré que la connectivité numérique peut s’avérer d’une importance vitale en temps de crise. Elle nous rappelle pourquoi nous devons continuer à investir et à intensifier nos efforts pour améliorer l’accès à l’internet et la compréhension de cette technologie pour chaque Africain.


Publié par : Mariam Abdullahi - Directrice, Plateforme de partenariats, Android et Play

Improving mobile internet access through digital literacy

In Sub-Saharan Africa, 770 million people are unable to access the internet, meaning they do not enjoy the benefits of connectivity. Affordability of data and devices are significant barriers preventing access. In addition, low levels of digital literacy pose a further challenge that prevents users from exploring the full potential of the internet in their daily lives. A recent study showed that among those who are aware of mobile internet, a lack of literacy and digital skills was the biggest perceived barrier to adoption across regions, with 34% of people highlighting this as the reason for not coming online.

To help tackle these key issues, we have worked with a wide range of mobile industry partners in the region on training programs educating customers about smartphones and how to use them effectively. We have also invested in digital skills training via Grow with Google - a skills training program through which we have trained over 5 million people across Africa in digital skills. However, there is still a lot to be done to address the digital divide. Adoption of a scaled approach and wider collaboration are some of the critical ones to grow an understanding of mobile internet and ultimately result in usage.

We are excited to be partnering with GSMA to introduce a new Android training module to help more people better understand and take advantage of the Android platform to learn, grow, and connect. This new training module, which will be included in the latest version of the Mobile Internet Skills Training Toolkit (MISTT), will form a part of the GSMA connected society initiative, and will empower 2 million people with mobile internet skills by 2021.


The Android MISTT module teaches basic smartphone functionalities including creating a Google Account, using Google Assistant and other apps, as well as best practices for staying safe and secure while using your smartphone, and can be downloaded here.

Access to mobile internet provides many positive outcomes as well as societal and economic benefits - helping people stay connected with friends and family, get reliable information on a range of topics, do business and even simply do the things they love like watching their favorite videos online. The present global climate has shown that digital connectedness can be a lifeline for people in times of crises, and reemphasized why we must continue to invest and do more to improve access to and understanding of the internet for every African.


Posted by Mariam Abdullahi, Director, Platform Partnerships, Android and Play





 ==== 




Améliorer l’accès à l’internet mobile grâce à la culture numérique

En Afrique subsaharienne, 770 millions de personnes sont dans l’incapacité d’accéder à Internet, ce qui signifie qu’elles ne bénéficient pas des avantages de la connectivité. Le coût des données et des appareils constitue un obstacle important à l’accès à Internet. En outre, le faible niveau de culture numérique représente un autre défi qui empêche les utilisateurs de découvrir tout le potentiel d'Internet dans leur vie quotidienne. Une étude récente a montré que parmi ceux qui connaissent l’internet mobile, le manque de culture et de compétences numériques constituait le principal obstacle à l’utilisation de cette technologie, toutes régions confondues, 34 % des personnes précisant que c’était la raison pour laquelle elles n’utilisaient pas ce service.

Pour résoudre ces problèmes majeurs, nous avons travaillé avec un large éventail de partenaires de l’industrie de la téléphonie mobile de la région sur des programmes de formation visant à sensibiliser les clients aux smartphones en leur montrant comment les utiliser. Nous avons également investi dans la formation aux compétences numériques via Grow with Google - un programme de formation axé sur les compétences numériques qui nous a permis de former plus de 5 millions de personnes à travers l’Afrique. Toutefois, il reste beaucoup à faire pour réduire la fracture numérique. L’adoption d’une approche graduelle et la mise en place d’une collaboration plus large constituent des initiatives déterminantes pour favoriser une meilleure compréhension de l’internet mobile et à terme son utilisation.

Nous sommes ravis de nous associer avec GSMA pour proposer un nouveau module de formation Android destiné à permettre à un plus grand nombre de personnes de mieux comprendre la plateforme Android et de l’utiliser pour apprendre, se développer et se connecter. Ce nouveau module de formation, qui sera inclus dans la dernière version de la Boîte à outils de formation aux compétences relatives à l’internet mobile (MISTT), fera partie intégrante de l’initiative société connectée,lancée par GSMA et permettra à 2 millions de personnes d’acquérir des compétences en matière d’internet mobile d’ici 2021.

Le module Android MISTT permet d’acquérir les fonctionnalités de base des smartphones notamment la création d’un compte Google, l’utilisation de l’assistant Google et d’autres applications. Il met également l’accent sur les meilleures pratiques pour utiliser votre smartphone en toute sécurité. Pour télécharger ce module, cliquez iciici.

L’accès à l’internet mobile offre de nombreux avantages. Cette technologie a également un impact sociétal et économique : elle permet aux gens de rester en contact avec leurs amis et leur famille, d’obtenir des informations fiables dans de nombreux domaines, d’avoir une activité commerciale et même tout simplement de faire ce qu’ils aiment, comme regarder leurs vidéos préférées en ligne. La situation mondiale actuelle a montré que la connectivité numérique peut s’avérer d’une importance vitale en temps de crise. Elle nous rappelle pourquoi nous devons continuer à investir et à intensifier nos efforts pour améliorer l’accès à l’internet et la compréhension de cette technologie pour chaque Africain.


Publié par : Mariam Abdullahi - Directrice, Plateforme de partenariats, Android et Play