Around the world, 2020 has emerged as one of the most challenging years in many of our lifetimes. In six months, the world has endured multiple challenges, including a pandemic that has spurred a global economic crisis. As societies reopen, it’s apparent that the economy in July will not be what it was in January.
On 30 June 2020, Microsoft announced a global initiative aimed at empowering 25 million people with skills needed to contribute to and excel in a digital-first economy post-COVID-19. In addition to partnering with LinkedIn and GitHub to achieve their goal by the end of the year, Microsoft is also committing $20 million in cash grants to help nonprofit organizations worldwide reach 5 million unemployed workers, with a particular focus on vulnerable groups.
Brad Smith, president of Microsoft, had a conversation with our Chairperson, Trevor Noah, highlighting the importance of their nonprofit partnerships worldwide who do the critical work of localising content, providing technical support, and training on the ground.
In fact, it seems like yesterday that we were fortunate to host Brad in South Africa when we launched the Trevor Noah Foundation at New Nation School in Johannesburg in 2018. Brad and Trevor met over a conversation about technology and what it meant in Trevor’s life. A few years later they were in Johannesburg, South Africa not just giving kids the tools they need to connect to a digital world, but tools they need to understand the digital world.
Two years later, and we’re still a proud partner of a company that has committed to assisting millions of students, job seekers, and nonprofits transitioning in what is arguably the most challenging time of our generation.
Through our work on the ground in schools in South Africa, we see how COVID has further exposed inequitable access to high-quality education and a growing digital divide. More than ever, teachers and learners need to be technologically savvy to reimagine remote and distance learning. Youth recently unemployed or entering the job market for the first time need new skills to compete in our evolving economy.
You know they always say teach a man to fish. But I say ‘yes, but you also need to give the man a fishing rod.’ That’s why I love our journey with Microsoft because you guys helped us bring the fishing rods and you taught the people how to fish and we’ve been able to use that to make fishers of men every single day. And that’s been beautiful to see in kids in South Africa, seeing young children start their lives with all the tools they need to have the best opportunity to succeed.” – Trevor Noah
To view the full announcement, please visit here: https://news.microsoft.com/skills. Brad speaks to Trevor around the 25:00 mark.