Building skills for the future
Field Ready helps many people learn new skills in all kinds of environments - in conflict- and disaster-affected areas, through workshops - and, well, in the field. But to help celebrate the United Nation's World Youth Skills Day today, we want to highlight some of the ways we help equip young people around the world for their future.
In Iraq, the Erbil Makerspace hosts an online training every Sunday and Wednesday for young people. The current group of 12 young women and eight young men is learning 3D modeling and how to use the makerspace's digital fabrication machines via online sessions that are designed to keep participants safely involved even during the pandemic.
"We video every detail of each machine, including using them, in the video to show the participants," said Ravin, a Field Ready program lead in Erbil. "We never thought we can deliver a technical training online, but we are really happy about the results and the progress that the participants reach."
The online format has allowed people from all over Iraq's Kurdistan region to join in the training, rather than only those in or near the city of Erbil; pictured below are participants' 3D models of lamps seen during a recent training session.
"Some are saying that they never thought it will possible to be part of our trainings, but with the current COVID-19 situation they are really happy that they could join," Ravin said.
At Mosul Space, another Iraq makerspace, we're running a youth leadership program in partnership with the United Nations Development Program to promote entrepreneurship, design thinking, sustainable development goals and innovation. Aimed at helping young people start their own businesses and improve their entrepreneurial skills, the program focuses on capacity building of participants' entrepreneurship skills, expanding innovators' social capital and supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem, said Abdullah, Mosul Space community leader.
The community response has been strong, Abdullah noted; the first workshop, held in June, had 40 trainees, while 20 participants have joined in July.
One of the difficulties entrepreneurs face is how to form an idea and transform it into something tangible. With the Lean Canvas program offered at Baghdad Makerspace, young participants learn how to "grow" an idea and test it with potential customers, said Thulfekar, manager of the makerspace. In addition to coming up with solutions to pain points, Lean Canvas participants learn about revenue streams, cost structures and key metrics that they'll need to apply to build a successful business.
Much of our work in the Pacific depends on the efforts and skills of young people. In Fiji, Field Ready is encouraging our youth engineers to help create a better Fiji by engaging with local community groups and high-level government departments, notes Tim, a Field Ready project lead. One of our field engineers, Laisa, pictured above, is engaging with local women's groups sourcing and developing our locally produced face masks while also liaising with UNWomen and the Fiji Ministry of Women.
College students are also important partners for Field Ready projects. Earlier this year we teamed up with 15 National University of Samoa students, aged 17 to 22, to help build and install 15 hands-free foot taps in Samoan hospitals, health centers and the capital's airport in just four days to help keep handwashing safe and sanitary. In the U.S., we partnered this spring with University of Pittsburgh students to help research and catalog open-source medical device designs that might be applied to treatment for COVID-19.
"We want to support and nurture young people and help them develop both new and existing skills because they're our future," said Field Ready Executive Director Eric James. "The more we invest in skills development, the more people we can help and the better solutions we can offer."
Happy World Youth Skills Day!