Facebook is partnering with the Mohammed bin Rashid Global Initiatives (MBRGI) to teach one million Arab youth how to code, in a programme that has the potential to build stronger communities in the region, the social media giant has announced.
The company is collaborating on the initiative "right from the very beginning, all the way to when they start putting skills to use and start businesses," Joel Kaplan, Facebook's vice president of public policy, told Arabian Business.
"We've been doing a number of meetings with policy makers and officials and are going to do a bunch of different things," Kaplan said.
"First of all we have to find one million Arab coders, so we'll be working on sourcing, marketing, and then help provide expertise and guidance and when some of the students move from the curriculum to actually launching their own businesses, we're going to connect them with our accelerator programmes and provide access to the resources they provide."
Facebook's decision to partner on the programme is the result of a change in the company's mission from giving users the power to share content to giving them a platform to build communities.
"Obviously technology is a huge part of that plan to build communities and one of the ways we can help contribute to that is by helping governments with initiatives like this one to train people to contribute to the economy of the future," said Kaplan.
Facebook has 170 million users in the Middle East that log on to the platform every day, "and the region is very important to us," added Kaplan.
A formal end date to the programme hasn't been announced, "because the programme is still in its early conceptualisation stages," he said .
"But it's one of the big partnerships we're announcing here this year," Kaplan added.
Facebook joins partners including Careem, Udacity and Bayt.com who are working with the MBRGI, the Hussain Sajwani Foundation and the Dubai Future Foundation toward the initiative, known as the /10^6 programme, to train 1 million youth across the Arab World to code through a series of online courses and certifications.
The programme, announced last year, also aims to connect those graduating from its programmes with some of the region, and the world's, biggest companies to foster economic growth in the region.