Bharti Airtel has partnered with Chandaria Foundation and the Global Peace Foundation to support 41 schools in Kenya in the LEAP Hubs entrepreneurship program through the provision of free internet connection.
Launched in March 2014, LEAP Hubs are dedicated space within secondary schools where students are incubated and nurtured to be creative, innovative and be able to launch sustainable business ventures and social enterprises.
Through the partnership, Airtel will offer free internet connection to students within the program who use the internet to access online resources and tools that help nurture and develop their business ideas. The support is part of Airtel’s ongoing community program- Internet for Schools designed to provide internet connectivity to millions of students in the country ensuring that they are able to leverage the information, access and content that the internet provides.
Speaking during the event at Mary Leakey Girls High School, Airtel Kenya CEO lauded the achievement of the program noting that such an initiative is a lifetime opportunity to sustainably nurture business ideas, serve communities and reduce unemployment in the country.
“Our youth are the leaders of the future and there is no greater investment a nation can make than invest in its mushrooming youthful population. Through joint efforts with all the partners, I am convinced that LEAP Hub program will continue to create a platform for Kenyan youth to unlock their potential and hereby urge the youth to take advantage of this opportunity and make the most of it. Through our Internet for Schools program, we have so far connected 167 schools across the country impacting over 250,000 students to-date, with a plan to connect at least 1 million students to the internet,” said Mr. El Youssefi.
Students participating in the LEAP Hubs program continue to go through leadership and entrepreneurship training focusing on business plan development, financial literacy and critical 21st century skills that will empower them to be self-reliant job creators as opposed to job seekers. The program has so far reached out to 15 schools in Nairobi, Kiambu and Machakos County and is expected to expand to other parts of the country in the coming months with an expected growth of 40 schools in the first year.
On his part, the Patron of Global Peace Foundation Dr. Manu Chandaria noted that through the program, the Foundation has demonstrated global leadership and a pioneering intervention to address a core issue: youth readiness for employment that transcends grade point averages to include essential competencies in character and creativity.
“Globally, 75 million unemployed youth represent a sobering global crisis with consequences that include increased violence, political instability and income inequality. In Kenya, 75 percent of new post-secondary graduates fail to find jobs in the highly competitive labor market. Youth business and social entrepreneurship can be a tool for empowerment, allowing them to create jobs as well as solve real social problems in their communities,” said Dr. Chandaria.