December 15, 2019
HP announced a new commitment at December’s Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 in South Africa to support the education of another 100,000 learners across Africa over the next three years through the HP Foundation’s HP LIFE program. The company kicked off its commitment by opening an HP LIFE Center in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The new center, developed by HP in collaboration with institutions such as the Ekurhuleni West TVET College in Katlehong and its Centre of Entrepreneurship Rapid Incubator, is a technology-enabled hub that facilitates learning, collaboration, and skills development in a physical, face-to-face setting with the HP LIFE program at its heart.
HP LIFE offers users all over the world access to 30 free, online courses focused on developing business and IT skills – from business planning and marketing, to raising capital and design thinking. To date, HP LIFE has reached more than 748,000 learners in 200 countries and territories. All users need is a computer and Internet connection to access HP LIFE, and the new, physical center in South Africa will create a more formal educational environment.
“We believe that education is a human right, that technology in the classroom is a critical component for a 21st century education, and that in today’s economy our learning is never done,” said Nate Hurst, Chief Sustainability and Social Impact Officer, HP. “Africa is experiencing rapid urbanization and digitization—and it’s essential that people have access to learn skills for the work of tomorrow. This new HP LIFE Center provides a launchpad for innovation and opportunity across the continent.”
“Everyone deserves the right to a great education irrespective of their circumstances, and we know technology can help level the playing field, particularly in underrepresented communities, by creating innovative learning experiences,” said Debby McIsaac, Executive Director of the HP Foundation. “We’re delighted that HP LIFE is helping people in South Africa unlock their potential and develop the skills they need for a successful future.”
Supporting skills development on the continent
HP LIFE launched as a face-to-face program in 2007. It was offered in hundreds of training centers in countries such as Nigeria, Tunisia, South Africa, Uganda, and Kenya, helping people learn the skills to start or grow a business or improve their employment prospects. In 2012, HP LIFE expanded to an online platform.
Nearly 106,000 people across Africa have received HP LIFE training since 2007. In Tunisia, for example, HP LIFE is included in UNIDO’s youth employment project branded “Mashrou3i” (which means “My project” in Arabic). Since 2013, Mashrou3i has enabled young people to create 3,400 jobs, including 450 start-ups, and aims to create 6,000 more jobs by 2021. The Mashrou3i program expanded to Nigeria in 2017.
Building on this success, HP is working with partners to open technology-enabled HP LIFE innovation centers in Africa to further support workforce development across the continent.