Microsoft through its Citizenship Program has partnered with shoemakers: Scali shoes and Shoespeed to empower thousands of Nigerian youths with shoe making skills. According to the technology giant, this initiative is designed to help address the challenge of youth unemployment in the country.
This partnership will see Microsoft, Italian shoemaker-Scali shoes and leading Nigerian footwear and leather products manufacturing company-Shoespeed, work hand-in-hand in developing an employability portal that would help young Nigerians utilize and develop their entrepreneurial skills as they are equipped with shoemaking skills.
Concerning Microsoft’s motivation for pursuing this initiative, Corporate Citizenship Lead, Microsoft Nigeria, Olusola Amusan mentioned that, “Earlier this year, McKinsey and Co estimated youth unemployment in Nigeria at around 50 percent. Our vision at Microsoft Citizenship is to scale the impact of the work that we do around youth and employment – by creating over 100,000 jobs over the next 2 to 3 years.’’
As part of the initiative, Microsoft and Shoespeed will produce a Shoe Making video tutorial and will upload this tutorial to Microsoft’s Aiki portal for a month. Viewers of the tutorial would then be required to make a prototype of the shoe in order for them to participate in the campaign. Subsequently, winners from the prototype production stage of the campaign will be trained by shoemaking experts.
Scali shoes founder, Silvia Scali, who is also an Italian, expressed her delight at the opportunity to partner with Microsoft. She stated that she was passionate about Africa as a whole and as a result her company would remain committed to seeing the continent’s growing youth population equipped with the right skills that would in turn give them a brighter future.
On the other hand, Chief Executive Officer of Shoespeed Nigeria, Abiodun Folawiyo reiterated that although his company currently runs an academy that trains young people on how to make shoes, his company chose to partner with Scali shoes because it recognized that “Italians have the expertise, equipment and resources to help train individuals in Africa on shoe designing and production.”