AWS Government, Education, & Nonprofits Blog

AWS helps Khayelitsha youth put tech into practice through eKasi Initiative

To address technology skill gaps and equip the workforce of the future, Amazon Web Services (AWS) established the eKasi initiative. eKasi helps youths, small businesses, and students in South Africa build their technology skills and develop business solutions for the world of tomorrow.

Earlier this year at the World Economic Forum (WEF), South African leaders identified addressing the technology skills gap as critical for their economic development. The AWS eKasi initiative helps build technology skills that are sustainable, with skills transferable to the real world being paramount.

Built by AWS with the help of public sector institutions and partners, the eKasi initiative works with townships to enable residents and students across South Africa to build technology solutions in the digital economy and take them to their community. The initiative is a collection of AWS resources available through various programs like AWS Educate and AWS Academy, made available to small and medium businesses (SMEs) and students in South Africa.

“Solutions like eKasi involve bringing technology into the township. They are going to help folks in the township identify problems (these are real-world problems), and match those with the appropriate technology. It’s going to be particularly relevant for SMEs– it’s going to take their businesses out to wider audiences,” said Tim Parle, Chief Director: Digital Economy, Department of Economic Development & Tourism, South Africa.

As part of the eKasi initiative, earlier this year, AWS held its first eKasi Challenge. Ten teams of two were taught how to code then asked to develop solutions that could be deployed in their particular township. Challenge winner Sethu Mququ said, “We were looking at problems in our community and we found out that small businesses don’t have that much exposure to other people, so we tried creating websites so they could reach other people in our community.” Sethu and her partner Thalitha Sithenibiso are eleventh graders at a high school in the township of Khayelitsha.

Learn more about what AWS is doing to educate the workforce tomorrow by reading blog posts on workforce development and reading A Global Look at AWS Educate: Building Skills for the Future. Contact aws-marketing-south-africa@amazon.com to learn more.