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UN COVID-19 mobile course targets 3m youth

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The United Nations (UN) in South Africa has partnered with Funzi, a mobile learning service based in Finland, to introduce an online education initiative aimed at teaching adults and children how to cope with the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The new course, titled “COVID-19: Adapt and thrive”, is supported by the governments of Finland and SA, and aims to deliver hope in a time of crisis by empowering people with access to essential and accurate information in an interactive and engaging way.

According to Funzi’s research, mobile information technology is the most effective mechanism to reach the majority of the population and disseminate information on critical issues.

The education initiative, which targets millions of local youth, includes four topics that cover: what is COVID-19, what an individual can do when affected or infected, how to stay healthy and resilient, and how to maintain social and financial wellbeing.

Speaking at the virtual media launch yesterday, Nardos Bekele Thomas, head of the UN in South Africa, said: “The course is just one of the many ways the UN is responding to the impact of COVID-19.

“This initiative was created in collaboration with Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, supported by the Solidarity Fund, and is rolled out as part of the national initiative to reach three million young people during the lockdown.”

Funzi provides global mobile users with access to motivational and useful learning programmes focusing on a variety of topics.

The organisation empowers learners to develop skills they need to build a better future, with its intuitive, mobile-friendly courses created from content from trusted experts, combined with mobile pedagogy to ensure lasting impact, via an Internet-connected mobile device.

The UN is encouraging local entities, civil society groups, community organisations and the private sector to join this campaign.

In his statement, Razi Latif, acting head of the UN in Finland, said both offices are looking forward to ensuring the course becomes available in many, if not all, official South African languages.

The course is currently available in English and 10 other languages, including Arabic, Kiswahili and Dutch.

The “COVID-19: Adapt and thrive” course can be accessed here.

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