SAP, UNHCR team to impart refugees with coding skills

Refugees can increase host countries’ GDP by one percent over five years: IMF

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SAP, UNHCR team to impart refugees with coding skills Currently SAP is training teachers for coding, and launching an openSAP platform of online courses.
By  David Ndichu Published  May 30, 2016

More than 10,000 refugees in the Middle East and Turkey will receive training in coding skills to support the region’s Digital Economy, thanks to a partnership between the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and SAP.

The announcement was announced at the recent World Humanitarian Summit.

The world is facing the worst refugee crisis since the 1940s, with Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey hosting almost 5 million refugees. In response to UNHCR’s call for the private sector to share the burden across these countries, the Refugee Code Week program will run hundreds of free coding workshops and online training courses for youth aged 8-24 from 15-23 October 2016.

Younger participants will learn on the simplified coding platform Scratch. Older participants will learn how to build a website with HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP, and SQL, along with an introduction to SAP Business One business enterprise software, and potentially a 15-week coding boot camp to become computer engineers ready to be hired. Currently SAP is training teachers for coding, and launching an openSAP platform of online courses.

Refugee Code Week is a core pillar of the SAP Refugee Aid Program, in collaboration with UNHCR, and builds on the success of Africa Code Week 2015, which trained 89,000 youth and thousands of teachers in 17 countries over 10 days.

“Refugee Code Week is a practical example on the role of corporations in impacting the lives of refugees. The global ICT skills will point enormous career opportunities for young refugees. It will be an added value for the refugees themselves and their host communities,” said Houssam Chahin, UNHCR’s Senior Private Sector Partnerships Officer in MENA.

“By empowering everyone in the community – parents, teachers, volunteers, children, universities, schools, and nonprofits - Refugee Code Week is a unique leverage to put IT education at the heart of education programs for refugees. Equipping thousands of young refugees with highly job-relevant skills that will open many doors in their life, beyond that of self-sufficiency,” added Chahin.

Refugee Code Week will be organised by SAP, UNHCR, and partners spanning local governments, non-profit organisations, NGOs, educational institutions, and businesses including the Galway Education Centre and RebootKamp.

“By training young people in high-demand coding skills, Refugee Code Week will provide refugee families with hope for a better future, while creating a pipeline of talent to Middle East companies seeking talented employees. Refugees have the determination and skills to support the region’s Digital Economy competitiveness,” said Alicia Lenze, head of Global Corporate Social Responsibility, SAP.

Demonstrating their economic benefits, successful integration of refugees could increase countries’ GDP by 1 percent by 2020, according to the International Monetary Fund. The Open Political Economy Network shows that one Euro of refugee assistance can deliver two Euros in economic benefits within five years across jobs, trade and investment, and innovation.

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