Taqaddam (‘Move Forward’ in Arabic), is an innovative programme that provides young people with skills for learning, skills for life and skills for work. To date, the programme reached more than 3,000 15–17-year-old students, over 200 teachers and 150 schools across the Middle East and North Africa.
During the 14th Taa'theer Mena Social Impact and CSR Forum held in the UAE, Taqaddam was awarded the Ta’atheer Best CSR Impact Award for 2017. The Award recognises outstanding programmes and initiatives demonstrating significant sustainable impact that is measurable and innovative. Over 100 submissions for the Best CSR Impact Award were submitted and Taqaddam provided clear evidence on the sustainable impact this programme has been providing to young people in this region.
“Taqaddam has changed my way of thinking and has shaped my emotions to make it positive all the time instead of negative. And also Taqaddam made me more confident about myself, so I felt how powerful am I and what I can do to change the community environment surrounding me”. Taqaddam Student, Bahrain
Taqaddam is a partnership project between HSBC Bank Middle East Limited and the British Council. The programme was launched in August 2015 as part of HSBC’s commitment to help young people reach their potential through its community investment programme. Taqaddam supports HSBC’s and British Council’s commitment to educational programmes that develop and improve the lives of young people around the world.
The education systems in the Middle East and North Africa countries focus on preparing academic and technical graduates, however there is a lack of focus on soft skills and life skills which is compounding the unemployment problem. With the increased focus on soft skills by employers, Taqaddam provides a new perspective to the educational landscape in these countries. It is about ensuring that young people have the attitudes, skills and behaviours that will help them succeed in the future and build their resilience.
The programme was designed for young people aged between 15 and 17 aiming to increase their aspirations, self confidence and self-esteem. The programme combined online learning with practical interactive face to face workshops for teachers and young participants, ending in an exciting inter-school competition.
Taqaddam participants begin by focusing on themselves, considering where their character strengths and inner resources lie and how they can nurture and develop these on a regular and repeated basis. Through this process of self-awareness, participants are indirectly encouraged to embrace the growth mindset which is the ethos that Taqaddam uses to develop the character skills and strengths of the participating young people. The core idea behind the growth mindset is that our intelligence and abilities are not fixed at birth, but can be developed through effort. If young people have a ‘growth mindset’, then they are more likely to look for challenges, to see failures and setbacks as learning opportunities, and ultimately to achieve more personally and professionally.
Tangible evidence of the increase in the change mindset of Taqaddam participants about lifelong learning and ability to change oneself has been noticed. Teachers as well feel the programme has positively impacted their students by encouraging team work and planning, supported them to positively face challenges and boosted their confidence.
Five countries completed the pilot year of Taqaddam - Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar and UAE. 1,234 students, 80 teachers from 58 schools across 6 countries including Lebanon participated in workshops.
Here is what two of the teachers shared:
“It gave my students the opportunity to think about their strengths and weaknesses. It offered them a platform to investigate, to search, to think, to be creative, to interact, to get engaged, to participate, to discover, to be initiative, and many other positive things they have done.” Teacher, UAE
“They started to be effective and active members in the community.” Teacher, Egypt
Taqaddam is the outcome of the continuous successful partnership between British Council and HSBC with content created by our UK delivery partner Spark+Mettle.
Eugenie Teasley is the CEO of The Goodall Foundation and founder of Spark+Mettle, which works collaboratively with HSBC and the British Council to deliver Taqaddam.
Eugenie attended an All-Party Parliamentary Group on Education and Skills training in the Middle East and North Africa region to increase resilience and reduce radicalisation. Eugenie has written an insightful and interesting blog that explores the current thinking in more detail, calls for a re-thinking of our current education offer and provokes thought and debate around education and skills for youth development. Read the blog here.
For further information please contact Riham.Boutros@britishcouncil.org.eg.