Global Reach: Grantee Partners

Passerelles Numériques Philippines

Context:

The population of the Philippines, at around 106 million, is comprised of approx. 31% young people 10-24 years old (UNFPA). Although the Philippines economy is growing steadily, poverty rates remain high. Most Filipinos living at the margins have low levels of education and are from households where the breadwinners are engaged in informal employment. According to the 2016 Annual Poverty Indicators Survey (APIS) conducted by the Philippines Statistics Authority (PSA), almost 10% of the Filipinos aged 6 to 24 years were out of school children and youth (OSCY). Of these OSCYs, 87% were between 16 and 24 years old. The proportion of OSCYs was higher among females. For a child, not attending and/or finishing school decreases the chances of securing a decent job, thus perpetuating a cycle of poverty. Since 2005, the youth unemployment rate in the Philippines has hovered between 15% and 17%, measuring 15% in 2015 and having lowered in recent years to approx. 6% (2020). However, young people are four times as likely to be unemployed than the adult population (with young women consistently facing a worse unemployment rate compared to young men). Moreover, 31% of young men and 38% of young women end up in vulnerable/ informal employment. One of the major reasons for this situation is that many graduates are not equipped with industry-relevant skills, especially in the industries related to science and technology. At the same time the internationally competitive IT/BPO industry is one of the strongest drivers of the Philippines economy today. It accounts for about 10% of the global IT/BPO business with very strong revenue forecasts for the next years (more than double to USD 55 billion by 2020 from USD 25 billion in 2016). Passerelles Numériques Philippines (PNP) uses and leverages the potential of the IT industry and makes it accessible for marginalized youth, especially young women. In the era of COVID-19, the Philippines is one of the countries in Southeast Asia that is the most strongly affected by the virus, ranking second after Indonesia for having the highest recorded cases as of April 2021. In this situation, where the transition to employment is heavily hampered, a labor market driven programme in a relevant sector completed by a strong life and job readiness skills package, as PNP offers it, is more than needed.

Organisation:

Passerelles Numériques (PN) is a non-profit organisation under French law, operating in three Asian countries: Cambodia (2005), the Philippines (2009) and Vietnam (2010). PN’s main objective is to increase employment opportunities of young people from marginalized backgrounds through innovative education in key digital and employability skills. The programme (2.5 years and run in collaboration with local academic partners, NGOs and companies) focusses on vocational training in the IT industry and provides practical, life skills and 21st century skills training to young people. EMpower supports PN’s activities in the Philippines (PNP), where young people from resource-lacking regions of Visayas are selected through a rigorous 4-step process to be part of the programme. Students board in 2 centres close to the University of San Carlos (main academic partner). A solid network of partner companies in the IT sector and other business sectors provides students with e.g. internships and financial support. Since 2019, PN at the regional level is leading a strategic project, which is delayed due to COVID-19 that aims to strengthen operational efficiency and innovation, financial sustainability and communication.

Current Grant:

EMpower’s 4th grant to Passerelles Numériques Philippines (PNP), at the same time our first multiyear grant to them, will enable the organisation to equip 165 young people 15-24 years old over the two years of the grant (half of them young women) with labor market relevant IT, life and employability skills through a 2.5 years certified programme. EMpower will contribute: A. To expand local reach for the core training programme (more trainees per entering batch in year 2) and B. To increase the training quality for young people – also in response to COVID-19 constraints, but above all based on COVID-19 learnings. Moreover, the grant – in continuation with our previous one, will support PNP to catch up on and to roll out the PNP strategic roadmap (designed in 2020 for PN as a whole) delayed under COVID-19 in order to strengthen the capacity of PNP to lead change and innovation. EMpower will contribute: A. To expand PNP’s footprint with a pilot of one new innovative lighter touch and shorter programme offer on digital literacy/employability that has the potential to reach larger numbers of young people in the medium term and B. To strengthen PNP’s capacity to lead change (re communication, fundraising and M&E).

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