During this unprecedented global pandemic, Siemens Stiftung remains true to its duty of supporting and strengthening society through the foundation’s project work. Right now, we do not know how wide-reaching or long-lasting this crisis will be. However, we do know that it is a challenging time for our beneficiaries – for social entrepreneurs, for creative professionals, for teachers and learners, and for us all.
The work in our focus regions of Europe, Africa, and Latin America continues unabated, and we remain in close contact with our international, national, and local cooperation partners. Through our expertise and theirs, our combined efforts are helping provide economic stability, reliable information, and digital education sources suited for these times. Together with our partners, we are reflecting on new formats that go beyond the current scope of our projects.
Homeschooling and digital training
The sudden school closures are a serious challenge for students and teachers around the world. Overnight, teachers have been tasked with completely reshaping their lessons and presenting them digitally. Learners are confronted with a situation that is entirely new for them. Our trilingual Media Portal for STEM teaching contains more than 4,000 Open Educational Resources (OER) for preparing and completing school assignments at home. Filters within the platform allow teachers and learners to sort the materials based on grade level, subject, and keywords, enabling quick access to relevant lessons well-suited for learning at home.
Our extensive education collaboration with ministries in addition to public and civic institutes enables us to provide customized educational offerings free of charge on multiple servers in Germany, Africa, or Latin America. We are also working with local partners on new concepts for developing digital lessons. For teachers, we provide training seminars as webinars and digital workshops in modular courses and we bundle the needed information based on specific needs.
Information exchange for creative artists
Our online platform Music In Africa, which we established in 2011 with Goethe-Institut, provides musicians from every country in Africa with opportunities for networking, collaborating, and promoting their music. It has since turned into an authoritative and reliable source of information for the continent’s music industry. During the current crisis, we are using the platform to provide creative professionals in Africa with information about opportunities for financial assistance. This is just one of many urgent issues facing the industry that are being discussed on the Music in Africa platform.
In Latin America, we are working on new approaches within our culture projects that reflect the varied realities and circumstances of local communities. Our close and reliable ties to our local cooperation partners are essential for an open and ongoing exchange that communicates these local needs.
Supporting social enterprises and short-term assistance
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been working with local authorities and our partners on providing operative support to the areas of East Africa where we are active. Local communities have received soap, hand washing stations, and disinfectant material free of charge. We have been able to provide our local employees with masks and other equipment in addition to comprehensive information on social distancing guidelines.
However, the situation is changing rapidly, and our social entrepreneurs are also in need of assistance to ensure the continued existence and growth of their enterprises. The following need-based and impact-focused measures are designed to provide some relief: we have adjusted project plans and activities in light of the current situation, we are providing information on potential relief funding, and we are pushing back project deadlines when it makes sense to do so. We are also making use of new digital formats to ensure that some previously scheduled events – such as the empowering people. Onsite workshop scheduled for Bangkok – can be relocated to a digital space. Furthermore, members of the empowering people. Network can take part in our three-part “Covid-19 Response” workshop to learn ways of navigating their start-ups or social enterprises through the crisis.
“This challenging situation confirms the importance of our role as a civil-society stakeholder and the close contact to our project partners. Our foundation remains fully operational and engaged as we make use of new digital collaboration methods to ensure continuity in our work and that any necessary adjustments to our projects can be implemented. We are grateful for the understanding and productive engagement of our political, economic, and civil society partners as well as of our own employees,” said Dr. Nina Smidt, Managing Director and Spokesperson of the Siemens Stiftung Board of Directors.
More information on our commitment to Latin American education, educational materials for our focus region Africa and on our empowering people. Network for development cooperation:
Websites of our cooperation partners with further offers and initiatives to support learning and teaching from home:
Websites of some of our cooperation partners in East Africa: