UNICEF launches groundbreaking Generation Unlimited initiative with Kinshasa Digital Academy to train 10 million youths by 2030

The new partnership provides a career lifeline to young people aged between 10-24 with quality education, distance learning, digital skills, and professional training.

09 November 2021
Launch of the GenU initiative in DRC
UNICEF DRC Mulala

KINSHASA, 9 NOVEMBER 2021 – Kinshasa Digital Academy and UNICEF have announced a significant new partnership to launch Generation Unlimited in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

The scheme – which will initially be in Kinshasa but later introduced to other parts of the country - provides a career lifeline to millions of young people currently receiving insufficient education and training.

Generation Unlimited (GenU) is a global multi-sector partnership set up internationally by UNICEF to meet the urgent need for expanded education, training and employment opportunities for young people on an unprecedented scale.

This unique partnership aims to ensure that 10 million young Congolese people between the ages of 10 and 24 are in school, learning remotely, benefitting from an alternative learning opportunity, receiving professional training or in employment by 2030. It achieves this by:  

  • Strengthening the quality of education through online content and distance learning to primary, secondary, and technical education institutions.
  • Creating a link between secondary education and training to employment and entrepreneurship, enabling young people to become more productive and better engaged.

Congolese Minister for Vocational Training Antoinette Kipulu Kabenga welcomed the introduction of the GenU initiative which she said was in line with government policy and the UN’s sustainable development priorities, especially in relation to education, employment and providing opportunities for young people.

“One of the major problems we have here in the DRC is the lack of employment opportunities for young people,” she said, “which is often accentuated by the lack of adequate training in the face of the realities of the labour market and which consequently causes widespread unemployment.

“Vocational training is therefore a major tool that is indispensable for all actors, as it allows people to be trained at any time, to develop their skills and deepen their knowledge in order to access employment.”

The minister said it was important to ensure that GenU was not an isolated initiative but part of a process that will benefit young people in relation to work opportunities and encouraging entrepreneurship.

UNICEF’s Country Representative Edouard Beigbeder said that GenU would modernise education and vocational training in the DRC to foster employment readiness, while increasing and improving the number of quality work opportunities available to young people.

“It provides a career lifeline to young people currently without much hope for the future,” he said.

“What is exceptional is the depth and breadth of our response, which involves numerous ground-breaking initiatives involving a wide cross-section of partners in the public and private sectors.

“It is vital that we continue our collaboration with these critically important partners — as well as civil society — if we are successfully to continue our work to help young people”.

The GenU initiative is being launched through the Kinshasa Digital Academy (KDA), a local enterprise which is one of the DRC’s leading providers of digital skills training. 

KDA Director Jean-Louis Mbaka praised the GenU partnership with UNICEF.

“We launched our pilot academy in 2020 in Kinshasa, with a professional integration rate of 100% at the end of training,” he said.

“We are happy that we can now offer our training in other provinces and to a greater number of young people through GenU and through partnerships with the Ministry of Digital Development and the Presidency of the DRC.”

The KDA is already working in partnership with the new ministry to promote greater digital capability throughout the DRC.

The objective of the GenU initiative is to take advantage of such digital know-how to train young people aged between 10-24 how use new technology and receive quality education and training. It is hoped that by doing so, they can shape their own futures and enhance their chances of finding a decent job. The scheme has the support of major domestic and international businesses including Facebook and Vodacom.

This initiative will also provide the opportunity to connect Congolese youths with government officials, business leaders, financial institutions, and members of civil society, creating an enabling environment for youth development in the DRC. This includes coaching, skills building, networking and entrepreneurship opportunities.     

The scheme will be expanded to the cities of Lubumbashi, Mbuji Mayi and Goma - with the aim of creating numerous salaried and self-employed jobs. A variety of different types of training will be on offer, from theory and practice to peer programming and assessments.

The GenU initiative complements the African Union (AU)-UNICEF collaboration to implement the African Youth Development Strategy and conforms to the agenda of President Felix Tshisekedi, currently Chair of the African Union, to promote youth employment and engagement. 

Media contacts

Jean-Jacques Simon
UNICEF DRC
Tel: +243 826 541 004
Coumba Fofana
UNICEF DRC
Tel: +243 818 066 325

Additional resources

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

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The UNICEF GenU website can be seen here: https://www.unicef.org/genunlimited/