Monthly Archives

December 2016

‘Gbenga Sesan: Huge Thanks From Paradigm Initiative

By | Newsletter

In just a few days, 2016 will be history. What a year this was!

At Paradigm Initiative, we had a busy and productive year. We added a new office in Kano, reviewed our strategy to reach more youth, upgraded training curriculum to align with new market demands, welcomed additional team members, signed agreements with new partners and added value to the lives of more under-served youth!

After running the #DigitalJobs campaign for 2 years, Paradigm Initiative folded the campaign into our LIFE program to enrich the student experience and focus our impact on students who are able to get the full 8-week (now 10 weeks) LIFE experience. It’s no surprise that 1 in every 2 LIFE program graduates either got internships, jobs or built businesses around skills learnt this year. Of course, many got a chance to earn enough in order to continue with the tertiary education they always wanted! It only gets better as we roll out the new curriculum in 2017.

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The TENT program (which gets a new name, Techtiary, in 2017) grew from just one school to four, with active student-led groups that spent the year adding skills that will help them graduate with more than just CVs! The least they’ll graduate with are market-ready skills in high demand, and who knows, some of them could hire their colleagues to start out even before convocation day. Some of our students who started the program 5 years ago, now in their final year, are using the projects they started in Year 1 as their Final Year Project. We deepen the impact in 2017, as student-led groups come to additional schools across Nigeria.

2016 was very busy for the ICT Policy program — which will be known as Magoyi (Hausa word for advocate) from next year — at Paradigm Initiative no thanks to various government policies and actions that threatened citizen’s online rights. We published reports, shared educative information, hosted solution-focused meetings, lobbied at the National Assembly, discussed “complex” issues with relevant agencies and went to court when amber turned red on some of the issues. Considering the similar nature of threats to Digital Rights across Africa during the year — and with the new trend of Internet/application shutdowns and repressive laws/policies — we launched our first Digital Rights in Africa report at the recently concluded Internet Governance Forum. And for the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill, 2016 was a good year. The Bill was introduced on the floor of the House, got first and second reading, and we teamed up with the Committee on Human Rights to make sure the December 5 Public Hearing was public – streamed live and with input from diverse stakeholders.

This year, we welcomed Intel (through the #SheWillConnect program), Facebook, AccessNow, CDI Global (a global network of Digital Inclusion organisations that will help deepen our work in Nigeria and expand into Africa), Global Network Initiative (through an Internews Fellowship) and Ford Foundation (with multi-year support to expand our Digital Rights work beyond Nigeria) as Paradigm Initiative partners, to strengthen our existing stakeholder ecosystem. Hajia Jummai Umar-Ajijola, PhD, a seasoned expert with experience across business and civil society, also agreed to join the Paradigm Initiative Advisory Board!

I’m sure you saw what I did throughout this message, with Nigeria missing from our name. It’s not a typo, and we’re not leaving Nigeria 🙂 From January 3, 2017, Paradigm Initiative’s focus as a social enterprise will be pan-African. Our Digital Rights work is taking us into new regions on the continent, and we’ll tell you more about that at the Internet Freedom Forum holding April 25-27 in Lagos. If you are yet to register, please head to www.pinigeria.org/iff and register immediately. You’ve also probably noticed that our social media handles changed to @ParadigmHQ. It’s all part of the process that has now started and will culminate in a reintroduction of your favourite Digital Rights and Digital Inclusion social enterprise in April 2017.

December Newsletter

As we did just before 2016, and do each year, the team met last week to plan each day of 2017 and we’re now in holiday mode. As we prepare to hit the ground running on January 3, 2017, I want to say a huge thank you for everything you did to help us inch closer to every plan we had for 2016. We have more than 2,016 reasons to be grateful. Thank you for your continued support, and we sure look forward to an exciting 2017!

I wish you, your family and loved ones a happy holiday and an amazing 2017 ahead. A sha hutu lafiya! Ézūmíké óbī ụ́tọ́. E kú odún!

PIN LAUNCHES FIRST DIGITAL RIGHTS REPORT ON AFRICA

By | ICT Policy, Press Release

Lagos and Abuja, Nigeria / Guadalajara, Mexico
Thursday, December 8, 2016

Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN) has just released the first edition of its Digital Rights in Africa report, titled “Choking The Pipe: How Governments Hurt Internet Freedom On A Continent That Needs More Access”, on the sidelines of the ongoing Internet Governance Forum in Guadalajara, Mexico. This builds on PIN’s earlier work that profiled, each year over the last 2 years, the status of digital rights in Nigeria, and features information about the status of digital rights in 30 African countries, including 5 countries in Central Africa (Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo and Gabon); 7 East African countries (Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda); 4 countries in North Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia); 9 West African countries (Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Sierra Leone) and 5 countries in Southern Africa (Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe).

Tomiwa Ilori, PIN’s Program Assistant (ICT Policy) and a Digital Rights in Africa report team member, stated that, “The year 2016 has shaped up to be the year of Internet shutdowns in Africa, with numerous documented cases of shutdowns recorded across the continent. This is in addition to an increasing number of legislations and policies that violate digital rights; and arrests of numerous bloggers, journalists and citizens who exercised their right to freedom of opinion and expression online.” He added that “a common trend for Internet shutdowns across the continent has been government orders to private telecommunications and Internet companies to cut off citizens from the Internet, and this shows that private businesses – including global businesses working in countries where they respect citizen rights – still act, in many cases, at the behest of governments across Africa.”

According to Babatunde Okunoye, another member of the PIN Digital Rights in Africa report team, “2016, however, was not just about African governments’ actions to constrain Internet freedom. It was also very much about how citizens fought back and stood up to defend their rights. In response to the spate of Internet surveillance and shutdowns across the continent, citizens across African countries increasingly took up the use of circumvention tools and led efforts that challenged the action of their governments.” He further stated that, “Internet shutdowns and violations by the governments across Africa turned out to be the source of enduring power for African citizens to mobilize in order to defend their rights. The evidence, from observing the incidents of Internet shutdowns and violations across the continent, suggests that governments got away with encroaching on rights only to the extent citizens allowed them to do so.”

Oluwaseun Ajayi, a Google Policy Fellow resident at PIN and member of the Digital Rights in Africa report team, stated that: “This report, which focuses on the year 2016, recognizes the importance of citizen vigilance and lawful action against the constraining of Internet freedom across the continent and gives a brief account of the legislative and policy environment around Internet freedom, highlights incidents around breached Internet Freedom, and provides information about the telecommunications space in Africa.” She continued, “The methodology employed in preparing this report involved desk research and a survey conducted among experts resident in the featured African countries. We hope that the report will spur action among an increasing number of active citizens, noting that we are responsible for upholding and defending human rights and dignity in cyberspace.”

This report, according to Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, is part of the organisation’s work towards the creation of awareness about, and advocacy for, digital rights in Africa. “As we create awareness on the threat to Internet freedom and provide information on what can be done to improve digital rights across African countries, PIN leads advocacy efforts for digital rights of citizens and other stakeholders; complete digital rights training for media, advocates and civil society organisations; host the annual Internet Freedom Forum where various stakeholders discuss prevailing issues; and produce this annual report that highlights incidents and discusses digital rights challenges and opportunities across the continent,” said ‘Gbenga Sesan, PIN Executive Director.

‘Gbenga believes that “active citizens and civil society constrain the tendency of those who abuse positions of authority to perpetuate digital rights violations. Or, at least, the problem gets attention and forces either denial or in some cases, reversal of violations.” He continued: “With at least 10 countries imposing Internet or Internet application shutdowns, unfortunately, Africa was the hotbed for violations to digital rights. Africa is already behind on many development indices but the Internet presents perhaps a chance to bridge many of those gaps through the access it grants to life-changing information, communications, education, opportunities and its role in the development of the political space. Those who constrain Internet freedoms should be seen as adversaries of development – something Africa needs in a hurry.”

 

If you would like more information about this topic or additional details about PIN’s Digital Rights work, please send an email to info@pinigeria.org or contact us using any of the under-listed details.

Digital Rights Public Hearing, Digital Readiness Workshop For Girls + Other Updates From PIN

By | Newsletter

ICT POLICY

We are pleased to announce to enthusiasts of technology, human rights and the general public that the Public Hearing for the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill (HB. 490) holds today Monday December 5, 2016. The Digital Rights and Freedom Bill is draft piece of legislation that seeks to fill the policy gap between respect for human rights and the use of technology. It can be safely presumed that the bill is an amplified version of Fundamental Rights in the Nigerian Constitution especially as it relates to the cyberspace. We therefore call on every stakeholder in the ICT sector, civil society, journalists and everyone who use the Internet and the cyber environment as a means of interaction to attend the public hearing to support the bill. You can watch live updates from the public hearing via our  Facebook page www.facebook.com/pinigeria

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PIN will be launching our first ever Africa-wide report on Digital Rights at the upcoming Internet Governance Forum (IGF) on the 8th of December, 2016 in Guadalajara Mexico. The report has become necessary to be able to offer keener perspectives through research on the state of access to digital rights in Africa and be able to offer a one-stop shop material for everything status of digital access and rights in Africa.

TENT

Two beneficiaries of the TENT Angel Investment Scheme (TAIS) Olajide Martins and Brenda Okoro are currently working on the completion of their TENT projects. Olajide  used his TENT project as his final year project at Obafemi Awolowo University. Both students confirmed that their projects will be ready for public release before December 31, 2016. You can read a brief about their TENT Project via https://pinigeria.org/tent/angelinvestmentscheme/

HOD Computer Science YABATECH_Dr A.V. Haastrub

 We are excited to inform you that Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH) and Lagos State College of Health Technology (LASCOHET) has joined Nnamdi Azikwe University (UNIZIK), Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) and Federal University of Technology (FUTA) to commenceTENT@School clubs in their institutions.

As PIN’s TENT@School clubs spread across institutions in Nigeria, we will be delighted to read from you in making request to start TENT@School club in your institution as we equip students with ICT skills while they are enrolled at their Universities.

LIFE

LIFE December Newsletter (5)

LIFE Quarterly workshop for Q4 2016 held on Saturday November, 26 2016 at the AjegunleLIFE and DakataLIFE Centres. The workshops were facilitated by Damilola Adelusi (AjegunleLIFE) and Abdulbaseet Kabir (DakataLIFE) respectively.

As part of the PIN’s ‘She Will Connect’ partnership with Intel, 125 secondary school girls were trained at the Digital Readiness Workshop for Girls.  The Digital Readiness Workshop for girls held in Lagos Tuesday 22nd and Wednesday 23rd November, and in Abia and Kano centres on Tuesday 29th and Wednesday 30th November. The girls were trained on Microsoft Office Tools, Online Research, Social Media and Digital Security.

LIFE December Newsletter (1) LIFE December Newsletter (2) LIFE December Newsletter (3)

LIFE December Newsletter (9)

DakataLIFE team received an invitation from Arewa radio to do a short interview about the training on a weekend program; ‘Ya Take Matasa.’.

Two graduates of the AjegunleLIFE training were employed in the month of November; Chidimma Onyekaba (2016C) got employment as a computer studies teacher at Queen Esther International School while Lesley Tarabina (2015C) was offered a year’s Internship placement at W-TEC.

AbaLIFE Town Hall meeting held on the 25th of November 2016. The meeting had 110 people in attendance and a number of 21 beneficiaries were issued certificates upon completing all requirements of the program.

LIFE December Newsletter (7)

LIFE December Newsletter (8)

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On Gambia, Internet Shutdowns and Africa

By | ICT Policy

Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN) had stated that Gambia could shut down the Internet during its December 1 elections, similar to recent actions by some governments, and called for civil society organisations to prepare for alternative ways of sharing updates. However, PIN and other civil society organisations released a joint statement on the need to avoid Internet shutdown, hoping that the government would be willing to consider economic, social and other reasons to avoid a shutdown.

Unfortunately, Gambian citizens were disconnected from the Internet before the elections, and PIN joins others to condemn this violation of their rights. We ask that African governments respect the rights of citizens to communicate and express themselves freely at all times, instead of the current trend of full or partial shutdowns during specific events (examinations, protests, elections, etc). This year alone, 11 countries in Africa shut down the Internet or cut access to digital platforms.

We welcome the end of the shutdown in Gambia and are glad that citizens can express themselves freely following a keenly contested election.

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Photo credit: goodstatic

We are glad that, in response to an earlier call for Internet shutdown by a police chief, the Ghanaian president has assured that no shutdown will be experienced during the country’s elections next week. Unlike Ghana, we remain worried about the recent statements from the Cameroonian government, including the deputy head of the National Assembly’s reference to social media as “a new form of terrorism”.

In our 2016 Digital Rights in Africa report, which will be launched on December 8, during the Internet Governance Forum, we have profiled 30 countries and noted the need for citizens to also push back when – even democratic – governments threaten digital rights.

On Monday, December 5, one of such citizen-led push back efforts will reach a milestone in Nigeria as the House of Representatives hosts a Public Hearing for the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill drafted by a coalition led by PIN.

From Angola to Zimbabwe, African governments must respect citizens’ digital rights, and we trust that for those who choose to do otherwise, they will experience push back by citizens.

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