Generation Unlimited attracts new pledges and greater commitments for youth
Global partners announced their support to closing the digital divide and promoting digital learning and youth engagement
New York, December 24, 2020 — Generation Unlimited has reached more than 100 million young people since its launch in 2018, and commitments from businesses, foundations, and the public sector continue to grow. On November 16, around 50 partners and young leaders participated in the GenU Global Leadership Council meeting and announced new pledges and commitments in favor of youth.
The meeting marked an important milestone for GenU, as we realize the objective of having world-class corporate leadership driving this partnership forward with UNICEF. Alan Jope is the new Chair of the Board of Trustees, and Bob Moritz the Co-Chair of the Global Leadership Council, together with UNICEF Executive Director. This makes GenU a truly innovative and value-added partnership that is attracting more corporate interest in advancing modernized education, skilling, entrepreneurship, and employment with and for young people.
At the meeting, a number of partners expressed renewed support to GenU and its COVID related priorities and work in countries. Tariq Al Gurg, CEO of Dubai Cares, announced a contribution of $2.5 million to scale up Giga in order to close the digital divide. Alice Albright, CEO of Global Partnership for Education (GPE), committed GPE to work with UNICEF and GenU on the Giga project to connect schools and support the transformation of education with an equity focus.
As part of a commitment to work on a blended financing package to scale-up connectivity in Africa, Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), committed to work with countries to develop investable products for the private sector focusing on connectivity.
Mamta Murthi, Vice President for Human Development at the World Bank, referenced the Bank's $20 billion portfolio of investments to support digital learning and affirmed that the World Bank, in partnership with UNICEF, would contribute to GenU's objectives by advising countries on how to build more resilient learning systems and reach those who are out of school and will also lend its expertise to scale up youth entrepreneurship and employment.
Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education at UNESCO, highlighted that UNESCO is partnering with GenU and EdTech Hub to develop a global database of digital tools for learning, and skilling.
Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, CEO of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, spoke about creating opportunities for an additional 100,000 young African entrepreneurs in the next ten years in partnership with GenU. This will bring the estimated total to 300,000 entrepreneurs who will in turn, generate employment opportunities for over 1 million young people.
“The only way we're going to have the scale and the impact that we're looking to achieve is if we act as a cohesive aligned group - because no one organization, no one business, no one government, no one person can do all of this by themselves. The benefit of GenU is that connective tissue that can help us deliver on the promise that we've put forth."
Call for investments
Partners also invited others to invest in and scale up innovative solutions. For instance, Feike Sijbesma, Honorary Chairman of DSM, called on members to invest in DSM's Sustainable Food Systems (SFS) Program with GenU, UNICEF and Sight and Life, to create one million attractive jobs in the agri-food value chain by 2025 through a market-driven approach - strengthening the value chain and decreasing volatility.
Taha Bawa, Co-founder and CEO of Goodwall, spoke about Goodwall's partnership with GenU to scale up Yoma, an initiative that uses best in class technology to connect young users with learning, skilling and employment opportunities in a structured and sustainable way. He called on GLC members to help reach the target of providing 1.5 million youth with personalized learning paths by the end of 2021 through building and scaling up the community on the Yoma platform, helping to finance the platform's roll out and providing localized technological input via members' networks and developing and implementing a community engagement strategy to achieve Yoma's inspiring vision.
“GenU efforts must be public and private - we're at 100 million, but we're going to 500 million by the end of next year, and we've got 3.5 billion to reach to connect one half of the world. We've got to make this a more equal world. We've got to get to a modern education that is foundational, that builds skills, that is entrepreneurial, that is digital for all young people so that we can have a better world and they get a chance at a life ahead that is filled with opportunities."