Monthly Archives

February 2017

Echoes From LIFE: Ochuba Paul

By | AjegunleLIFE

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Today, on our #EchoesFromLIFE series, we feature Ochuba Paul, of our #AjegunleLIFE Class of 2016C. In Paul’s own words, “After secondary school, I was always home with nothing to do. Just to watch the clock tick, visit friends, visit my mentor in the evening, etc”. Paul spent time helping his dad with his pharmaceutical business and at some point, he was advised to join our LIFE program by his mentor who had nominated others.

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It was going to be his first interview! How would he cope? Paul’s mentor, Young, gave him examples of people he had recommended for the training and how it had made a huge difference in their lives. This encouraged Paul. “My attention was drawn to some of the things I will learn at no cost – ICTs, life skills, entrepreneurship – so I applied.” His learning started from the interview. “I made several mistakes and was corrected by the interviewer. It stayed with me.”

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“All of the training came handy for me but Life Skills and MS Word were most interesting. The training has helped in different ways!” Paul now speaks with confidence. In fact… “I can now face a large audience without fear and I can think through things on my own”. We think that’s awesome, but that’s probably because we saw him at that fateful interview. With new skills and a huge NO to idleness, Paul applied for several jobs, attended many interviews and he now teaches at a primary school. The once bored young man now supports his parents!

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Echoes From LIFE: Sunshine Esther Godswill

By | AbaLIFE

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In her own words…

I have seen huge improvements since I left the AbaLIFE training program in 2016. The ICT skills I acquired during the LIFE program has been of great use to me. Working as a teacher at Saken Model School, Aba, requires that I collate students’ data and report sheets. Now, I compute pupils’ results easily without stress using Microsoft Excel. I also use the Internet to find resources that I use in preparing my lessons notes. Thanks, Paradigm Initiative for giving me this great opportunity.

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Echoes From LIFE: Gladys Okpeudo

By | AjegunleLIFE

Gladys Okpeudo (9)

We continue with our #EchoesFromLIFE series this week, and introduce Gladys Okpeudo. She’s of #AjegunleLIFE Class of 2016. Before the #AjegunleLIFE program, Gladys was “helping my mum in her shop and also doing decoration for wedding ceremonies and other events”.

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On how she got to learn of the program, she said, “My friend, Emem Sampson, an #AjegunleLIFE alumnus [from the Class of 2016C] told me good things about the training and how it helped her! I was very interested in the training so as to become computer literate. Seeing Emem come home to explain what she’d learnt was it.”

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Through her friend, Emem, Gladys noticed that the program changes the lives of youth. “I want to be a part of this,” she said to herself. “All of the training was good for me but I paid close attention to ICT classes so as to leave with a better knowledge of ICT tools,” Gladys said. She continued: “I never thought I could find a job but the skills from the training landed me a job immediately after my training in December 2016.”

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Gladys now works with Favoured Computer Systems in Apapa, Lagos, as a Computer Operator. She no longer adds to the youth unemployment data. Hear her: “With this job, I’ll be able to save to continue with my education in a reputable university where I’ll study event management and finally have my own event management company.” We wish Gladys, today’s #EchoesFromLIFE feature, all the very best!

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A Better Online Experience for All

By | ICT Policy

For the 2017 World Safer Internet Day, Paradigm Initiative’s Oluwaseun Ajayi wrote on how we work for a better online experience for citizens, and offers tips on how to be safe online. Enjoy!

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At Paradigm Initiative, we are not only committed to encouraging citizens to protect their online rights and ensuring that technologies and innovations improve the lives of every Nigerian citizen, we also demand safe online experiences. We are at the forefront of activities to ensure that the internet is a safer and better place for all.

Today, the world is celebrating the Safer Internet Day, an annual event dedicated to raising awareness on the safe and responsible use of Internet and technology, especially among children and young people globally. This year’s theme is ‘Be the change: Unite for a better internet’.

A better Internet cannot be achieved if there is no respect for human rights online, as an Internet space without laws to protect users counters the optimization of a better Internet. In promoting the cause of a better Internet, Paradigm Initiative is sparing no effort towards the passage of the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill, a pioneer legislative proposal that deals with fundamental freedoms in Nigeria and is also capable of being replicated in other African countries. One of the major aspects the Bill is concerned with is the promotion of freedom of expression, assembly and association online, as it antagonizes any attempt to limit free speech online – which is well within the global best standard practices.

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Paradigm Initiative is also involved in activities aimed at resisting legislation that can threaten the stimulation of a better internet. For instance, in Nigeria, we were at the forefront of advocacy efforts kicking against a bill, which threatened free expression online – the Frivolous Petitions (Prohibition) Bill that was later thrown out by the Senate. We are also actively involved in the movement towards free and open internet in Africa. With the recent Internet shutdown in Cameroon, we are involved in calls for the government of Cameroon to stop its interference with Internet activities targeted at some parts of the country.

A better Internet means a rights-inclusive Internet. Thus, protection of the rights of internet users and resisting any form of action to infringe on Internet users’ rights, which Paradigm Initiative actively engages in, is a step towards creating a better Internet.

Parents, guardians, teachers, and governments are encouraged to play their part in helping to provide a better Internet. Particularly, government institutions, civil society organizations and decision makers should help by scaling up awareness by teaching digital literacy and online safety. As individuals, all forms of cyber-bullying, trolling and online harassment should be discouraged, as this will make the Internet a safe and comfortable place for all.

We should all lend our voices to causes that seek to enforce a safer, better and rights-inclusive Internet. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. So, play your part by condemning all forms of bullying and abuse online, speaking out when you encounter human rights violations online, demanding better Internet services from our Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and resist peddling false information online. Most importantly, a safe environment for children and young people should be encouraged through use of age-appropriate privacy settings, age rating, parental controls, and content classification.

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Here are some tips for a better online experience:

  1. Use a strong password with a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. Using easy to guess passwords are unsafe.
  2. Ensure that you don’t use the same passwords for accounts on different Internet or social media platforms, as this can make you susceptible to hacking.
  3. Use secure web browsers, preferably those with https at the start of the URL, with ‘s’ standing for secure and a padlock indicating that it is secure, when sharing sensitive information.
  4. Always think before you post anything online. Posting hoaxes, rumors or false stories are risky. Once you press send, you can’t get it back. Make requisite effort to investigate the authenticity of information you come across before posting online.
  5. Update your operating system regularly and make sure you have the latest antivirus software on your computers and phone too!
  6. Avoid opening or responding to eMails or messages from people you don’t know and aren’t expecting. This is unsafe as they could contain a virus or malicious software and this can put you at risk of hacking.
  7. With an increase in incidents of online scams, disregard emails from senders that are not known to you, which contain links for activities such as updating bank details online or promising rewards purporting to be from reputable companies. These acts are called phishing and are designed to reveal personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.
  8. Don’t post inappropriate or illegal content online.
  9. Positive and safe online experience should be promoted for children through supervision to ensure they access creative and educational online content as well as discouraging them from having contact with content unsuitable for their ages.

Oluwaseun Ajayi is a Google Policy Fellow with Paradigm Initiative. She works with the Magoyi team in our Abuja office.

PRESS RELEASE: Paradigm Initiative Makes FoI Request on Nigeria’s “Eavesdropping” Satellites

By | Advocacy

Today, in Abuja, Paradigm Initiative submitted a letter to the Minister of Communications on the alleged eavesdropping capabilities of one of the two satellites that Nigeria plans to build and launch. A media report had stated that “inside sources at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) told Independent that one of the proposed satellites has eavesdropping capabilities.”

“As an organization at the forefront of ensuring digital rights and that human rights are respected, when new technologies are being used, in Nigeria and by extension, in Africa, we are keen on conversations that involve freedom of expression, Internet interference, data privacy and security and most importantly, surveillance and transparency,” stated Tomiwa Ilori, Paradigm Initiative’s Program Assistant.

According to the organisation’s Director of Programs, Tope Ogundipe, “It is in achieving these objectives that we call on the Federal Ministry of Communications to provide all the details involved in the building and launching of the two new satellites for the Nigerian government. As we have stated in the freedom of information request sent to the Ministry on February 2, 2017, the scaling up of the number of satellites in space may be noble but in order to ensure that this is done with utmost regard to digital rights of every Nigerian, every stakeholder, including the Ministry, must all act as watchdogs for our digital rights.” She continued, “Even though there have been insinuations that these satellites are capable of eavesdropping on the communications of most Nigerian citizens when finally launched, we believe that the Ministry understands this to be an erosion on the fundamental human rights guaranteed by Section 37 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended). With this belief, we are sure that these published allegations are just what they are and contain no truth.”

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Boye Adegoke, Paradigm Initiative’s Program Manager, had this to say about the FoI request: “In light of the report, and possible implications on digital rights in Nigeria, we ask the Ministry to honour our FoI request within time stipulated by law and provide us with every information as regards the launch of the satellites and their intended use so the general public can be aware that not only are the eavesdropping allegations untrue but also that the Ministry and every other agency of government will continue to respect human rights, and in particular, digital rights.”

Paradigm Initiative says it will continue to monitor this development for new updates and ensure that a logical conclusion in reached on the matter. In the past 4 years, the organisation has used litigation to follow up on FoI requests that were not responded to.

For any enquiries, you may call 09-291 63 01 or send eMail to info[at]pinigeria[dot]org. A copy of the acknowledged copy of the letter is available below.

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