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India launches online platform for tribal youth skilling

The Minister of Tribal Affairs recently launched the Ministry’s Going Online As Leaders or GOAL program.

GOAL is designed to provide mentorship to tribal youth through online platforms. The digitally-enabled program aims to help India’s tribal youth explore their hidden talents, contributing to personal development and society at large, a press release has stated.

Announcing the program, the Minister noted digital literacy is gaining importance in light of the challenges that have come with the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said that GOAL has come at the right time to provide a platform to tribal youth and women.

In the current phase, the program intends to upskill and empower 5,000 citizens to harness the full potential of digital platforms and tools to learn new ways of doing business and explore and connect with domestic and international markets.

Digital skilling and technology will integrate the youth into the mainstream. The Minister explained that the program has been designed with a long-term vision to develop the potential of the tribal youth.

It will help them acquire skills and knowledge through mentorship in horticulture, food processing, bee-keeping, tribal art and culture, medicinal herbs, and entrepreneurship.

The program is being set up in partnership with Facebook. A representative of the social media platform said that the current global pandemic is the most severe health and humanitarian crisis we have seen.

The Ministry of Tribal Affairs is dedicated to enhancing the preservation of the tribal culture of India and enhancing the competitiveness of tribal communities. At this juncture, the two sides will expand the collaboration to build the entrepreneurial capacity of the country’s tribal youth through phase two of the program, the release noted.

By creating a learning and training platform that will connect 5,000 tribal learners with experienced mentors, the government anticipates the program will ignite several tribal enterprises.

In this program, 5,000 scheduled tribe (ST) youth (mentees) will get opportunities to be trained by experts from different disciplines and fields (mentors). There will be one mentor for every two mentees. The program aims to enable ST youth in remote areas to use digital platforms for sharing their aspirations, dreams and talent with their mentors.

Applications started from May 4 and will be open till 3 July. Leaders and youth from the industry and academia are invited to register as mentors and mentees on the government’s portal.

Facebook ran a pilot from February 2019 to October 2019 in 5 states with 100 mentees and 25 mentors. The project received an enthusiastic response.

The IT-based system is designed to match mentors and mentees so that they are from similar professions and speak the same language. The selected mentees will remain engaged in the program for nine months comprising 28 weeks of mentorship followed by eight weeks of internship.

The program will focus on three core areas- digital literacy, life skills, and leadership and entrepreneurship.

Other sectors include agriculture, art and culture, handicrafts and textiles, health, nutrition, among others. At least 250 participants who have scholarships from the Ministry of Tribal Affairs under the National Scholarship and Fellowship Scheme and are part of Tribal Talent Pool, will also be mentored through the program.

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