By Emeka Aginam
Committed to individuals and organisations to achieve more, technology giant, Microsoft through its Citizenship Program has partnered with leading Nigerian footwear and leather products manufacturing company, Shoespeed and Italian Shoemaker, Scali Shoes to empower 100, 000 Nigerian youths with shoemaking skills.
The initiative which is designed to help mitigate the country’s unemployment challenge, Microsoft said would provide youths with the skills required to unleash their entrepreneurial capacities, thus helping to create jobs for the local economy and lifting many out of poverty.
With the partnership, the leading technology company will upload a Shoe Making Video produced by Microsoft and Shoespeed on Microsoft Aiki portal for a month, where viewers will be trained on how to make shoes. Viewers would be required to make a prototype of the shoe to be able to participate in the campaign. The winners will then be trained by the shoemaking experts.
Explaining Microsoft’s motivation for adopting the laudable initiative, Corporate Citizenship Lead, Microsoft Nigeria, Olusola Amusan said, “Earlier this year, McKinsey and Co estimated youth unemployment in Nigeria at around 50 percent. Our vision at Microsoft Citizenship is to scale the impact of the work that we do around youth and employment – by creating over 100,000 jobs over the next 2 to 3 years.’’
Amusan added that, ‘’ International organisations like the United Nations and World Bank have shown strong interest in working with Microsoft to increase the total of young individuals who have skills, so they can have and also create jobs.”
He disclosed that the goal was to empower youths with skills that would satisfy needs across a broad spectrum of industries, stressing that, the technology giant had decided to deploy a strategic industry by industry approach to tackle the nation’s unemployment challenge.
Speaking on the partnership, the Chief Executive Officer of Shoespeed Nigeria, Abiodun Folawiyo said that, “We have an academy where we train youths on how to make shoes and we have partnered Scali Shoes because Italians have the expertise, equipment and resources to help train individuals in Africa on shoe designing and production.”
Expressing her delight at the opportunity to partner Microsoft for the empowerment of youths in local communities, Italian National and Scali Shoes founder, Silvia Scali said that, “At Scali Shoes, we have great passion for Africa.
Africa is full of potentials and we are immensely delighted to partner Microsoft on this lofty objective of empowering the continent’s teeming youth population with skills that give them hope for a better tomorrow.”