Johannesburg - Changing the world one individual at a time. This is what Google is seemingly achieving with its Digital Skills for Africa programme where at least one South African is using his newly acquired digital skills to train others.
Google recently announced that it had managed to surpass its target of training one million Africans through the programme in less than a year. Since then, Anorth Mabunda, from Limpopo has stepped forward to use his skills to help people in rural communities realise their dreams by understanding what digital is and how it works.
Mabunda told Fin24 that after completing the programme, he realised that there were numerous residents in his community who had a smartphone or another device, but did not even know what it was capable of doing and how it could assist them in attaining a career in digital.
“People from rural communities don’t even know there is a job called something like a social media manager,” he said.
READ: Speed of AI advancements 'surprise' Google co-founder
Mabunda said that the turning-point in his career came when he realised how difficult it had become to sustain a career in the print advertising industry.
“I saw that the digital skills for Africa programme was available from Google and I knew I needed to get skills in digital to sustain a career in the future,” Mabunda told Fin24.
After he had completed the course, he began to notice how many people could benefit from the programme and began to approach companies in rural townships to assist in building an online identity for them.
Mabunda is now a Digital Skills Trainer for OneAfrica.Online, a digital skills project in the Southern African region supported by Google.
He relates: “I met a man in Soweto who had been running a small video production company. We Googled ‘video production’ and ‘Soweto’ and his website didn’t appear on Google. We found it was because his site was poorly designed. We are now working on the website to give him a better presence and to grow his business,” Mabunda said.
READ: Google employees rally in thousands against Trump immigration ban
He said he likes to see himself as a humanitarian who wants to help people in rural communities grow their businesses through the internet.
“I try to approach places where there are people gathered in crowds - like at churches and universities - to teach them how digital can help them in their business.”
South Africa saw the least amount of users for the Digital Skills project, among three geographic focus regions, as the country notched up just 70 000 users.
Meanwhile Nigeria saw over 450 000 users trained, Kenya had over 400 000 users, and 80 000 were trained collectively in other countries in Africa.
Google SA said that key to the programme’s success was partnerships, of which governments in the rest of Africa participated more in.
The Digital Skills programme offers 89 courses through the online g.co/digitalskills portal, and Google works with 14 training partners covering more than 20 countries to offer face-to-face training.