Monthly Archives

January 2021

PRESS RELEASE: A CALL TO END THE CLAMPDOWN ON PRESS FREEDOM IN NIGERIA

By | Press Release

On the 27th of January 2021, Peoples Gazette released a calling on the government to restore the news platform for public access. Peoples Gazette noted the coordinated disruption of their service on all telecommunications networks in Nigeria. They claim this is a directive from the Nigerian government, specifically the Nigerian Communications Commission, to blacklist their web address alongside other domain names which is unacceptable.

Freedom of the press is one of the cornerstones of democracy, one that we must fiercely protect. Any attempt at shutting down the press is outrightly illegal and a violation of the freedom of expression, including the freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without inference, protected by section 39 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria(As amended). It further dampens the fundamental objectives contained in Section 22 of the Constitution that gives the press, and other agencies of the mass media the duty to uphold the responsibility and accountability of the government.

This administration, has in many ways proven to be against press freedom and internet freedom carrying out moves interpreted as a clampdown on democracy, in a democratic system.

Paradigm initiative in its consistent commitment to protect and defend digital rights condemns in the strongest terms these acts by the Nigerian government through the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). We have engaged the NCC in the past on the same subject and we will continue to do so.

We must continue to actively engage the system to preserve all the elements that make us a democracy. Our tool as a people remains the law and must engage the law for our country to work for us.

Notably, the clamp down on the media in Nigeria continues because of the skepticism of citizens, institutions, and the victims of these violations to engage the judicial system to seek redress. All hands need to be on deck to push back on what has now become the government’s playbook in shutting down opposing voices. Paradigm Initiative and many other concerned organizations are willing to support platforms that are victims of government censorship to get judicial redress. We call on all meaningful Nigerians to support these efforts at curtailing the excesses of the government and its attack on the freedom of the press and the Internet.

We equally urge the Nigerian authorities to respect and enforce their citizens’ right to access to information, the rights of freedom of expression and opinion as assured and protected by the 1999 Nigerian Constitution(as amended).

Valery Njiaba | Communications Officer | media@paradigmhq.org

#EchoesFromLIFE: PRECIOUS DEDE Shares her Amazing Story 

By | AbaLIFE, AjegunleLIFE, Echoes From Life, ICT Policy, L.I.F.E.

My name is Dede Precious. An alumna of AbaLIFE 2017 Batch A. I heard about AbaLIFE after my secondary school education through a friend of mine in July 2016. When she told me that there is a training center here in Aba where computer courses, skills, and other training could be acquired free without paying a dime, I doubted her. I became so curious that I had to follow her to the center when she wanted to return her application form.

When I got there, I exclaimed, what a nice place. The environment got me amazed and curious as well. I nudged aside and asked my friend again, are you sure you know what you are talking about? will they not demand money along the line? She told me No though I was not confident with her answer. I decided to meet the program officer as he came out and explained everything. I was amazed, and out of my curiosity, I told him to show me the ICT room.

To my greatest surprise, I saw a room fully air-conditioned and equipped with computer sets and projectors. The program officer told me that each enrolled student is entitled to one computer set until he/she would have completed the training. I could not believe my ears because other computer centers I know would provide a computer set quite right but would not be your permanent computer for the training duration.

Having heard this, I was fully convinced because I wanted to acquire ICT skills but could not afford the money at that moment because I was still a fresh school leaver with no capital at hand, my parents could not afford it either due to some financial constraints.

On getting home, I told my parents that I saw a training center where I could learn computer lessons free of charge. I had to cancel my trip to Owerri to attend the program. When I returned a few days later to pick the form, registration has ended for that batch. I was disappointed but did not lose hope. I decided to wait for the next batch.

During my waiting period, I got a teaching job till the end of 2016. At the beginning of 2017, I left the teaching job then applied for the program. I picked up the application form, followed the procedures, and got selected for the training. I had difficulties in transportation because my house was far from the center. At times I had to trek for an hour to the training ground due to lack of transport.  

Though distance could have been a barrier, what I saw, learned, and practiced on my first day kept motivating me. The lessons were very simple and easy and what excited me the most was the practical aspect where you practice alongside the facilitator and also opportunities given to display your work in form of a presentation on a projector screen. I thought earlier ICT was for a particular set of people and that it takes years of training but to my surprise, I acquired the skills within a space of 10 weeks.

After acquiring this knowledge, it changed my mentality and got me more exposed. I got a better teaching job with an attractive salary than the one I got before the training. I also lectured my elder siblings on ICT. I encouraged my elder sister to start up a business and the importance of product branding and packaging. Now I can browse freely on the internet and get information from it. I would also love to learn more about web design and development.

       

         

             

#EchoesFromLIFE: “L.I.F.E impacted me to own a fashion brand”, Gideon Awanife.

By | AjegunleLIFE, Echoes From Life, ICT Policy, ICTs, L.I.F.E.

Meet Gideon Awanife, 22 years old. A graduate of the LIFE program. Gideon describes himself as a low-class fashion designer with no computer skills. Before the program, he sewed local fabrics and shirts only. After graduating from the program, Gideon realized that he was only at his starting point and could improve his business and life.

Gideon was attracted to join the program because his friend told him that he would be more enlightened about running a profitable business.

During the program, I learned time management, how to dress nicely, advertise my business on social media, how to use Corel draw to make new clothing designs, and how to use Microsoft office packages. Also, during the program, I realized how backward I had been. The program motivated me to acquire new skills like suit making, customizations, sewing ready-made wears.

Gideon describes the post-training engagement by the AjegunleLIFE staff as excellent they keep checking up on me to ensure that I am pursuing my dream says, Gideon.

Gideon has taken a bold step setting up his fashion brand Gidstyles. He is now able to sketch his designs and bring his creativity to life. He also plans to run a global clothing company.

 

Press Release: The UK-Nigeria Tech Hub partners with Dufuna for its Design School Program. 

By | Press Release

The UK-Nigeria Tech Hub, an initiative of the UK Government Department of Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport has launched its Design School program aimed at equipping30 aspiring designers with world-class product design skills required in the 21st century to enable them to become employable or kick-start their career in Tech.

The pilot phase of this program is a 2-months program that will kick-start on the 1st of February, 2021 and to adhere to COVID-19 health guidelines, the program will run virtually.

This is a wonderful opportunity to build up and encourage designers, further empowering them with the necessary skillset required to upskill and compete, home and abroad. 

Honey Ogundeyi, the Country Director of UK-Nigeria Tech Hub stated that the Hub remains committed to developing the tech-ecosystem in Nigeria by promoting and enabling interventions that will promote digital skills and invariably create job opportunities. 

Olatokunbo Fagbamigbe, CEO and founder of Dufuna stated that Dufuna is excited to work with UK-Nigeria Tech Hub to train a new generation of world-class product designers for the Nigerian tech ecosystem. The Product Design course adds to our portfolio of courses and moves us closer to fulfilling our mission of empowering 1,000,000 Africans with digital vocational skills.

 

About the UK- Nigeria Tech Hub

The UK-Nigeria Tech Hub has been established as part of the UK’s Digital Access Program (DAP), a UK Government Prosperity Fund initiative. The UK-Nigeria Tech Hub aims to develop a stronger Nigerian digital ecosystem through the development of skills, entrepreneurship, and business partnerships.

 

About Dufuna

Dufuna is a social impact enterprise designed to train ambitious and disciplined Africans with digital skills to become highly-employable technology professionals.

 

Contact:

UK-Nigeria Tech Hub

Instagram : @ ukngtechhub

Twitter: @ ukngtechhub

LinkedIn: @ UK-Nigeria Tech Hub

Email: UK.Nigeria.Techhub@fco.gov.uk

 

Dufuna

Instagram: @Dufuna

Twitter: @DufunaTech

LinkedIn: @Dufuna

Facebook: @dufuna

Email: info@dufuna.org

 

Learn more about Dufuna’s programs here

 

Rejuvenating Nigeria’s Educational Structures.

By | Digital Rights, ICT Policy, ICTs, L.I.F.E.

As we commemorated the International Day of Education under the theme ‘recover and revitalize education for the COVID-19 generation’, we reflect on how learning across the world has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Nigerian educational sector has been enormously affected by the pandemic. This impact is felt mostly by children and youth from underserved communities.

According to World Economic Forum, COVID-19 has exposed the education divide in Nigeria. Children and mostly youths are affected due to digital inequalities in the country and the inability to adjust to new learning methods.

The UNESCO report on Socio-Economic And Cultural Impacts Of Covid-19 On Africa, 2020 highlighted the sense of urgency needed on the African continent to mitigate the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the educational sector with its high rate of casualties. 

Today, the world is experiencing the second wave of the pandemic. There seem to be no concrete actions to close the digital divide in the education sector. Recently, the Academic Staff Union of Universities ( a Nigerian union of university academic staff responsible for promoting the cause of university education in Nigeria) suspended a nine-month strike. Despite all these, academic activities are still on hold because of the universities’ lack of capacity to fully execute COVID-19 protocols.

The question remains how do we recover and revitalize education for the COVID-19 context and future generations? How do we reduce digital inequalities? How do we adapt to new learning methods in a way that is inclusive with vulnerable groups? There is an opportunity to develop apt education policies and programs in line with progressive and adaptive education practices in the world as education practices will never remain the same even after the COVID-19 pandemic is over. Rejuvenating the educational structures in Nigeria can be achieved by addressing the underlying factors;

Access and Affordability: Many private schools have set up hybrid learning structures where tutors interact with their students via online classrooms. Impossible with many public schools across Nigeria because they are ill-equipped, lacking internet-enabled devices, electricity, and financial capacity to afford data. It implies a denial of the Right to Education. Practical steps should be taken, such as building well equipped shared-learning centers within schools in underserved communities and providing uninterrupted power supply to these centers.

Reliable Partnership: Improving the quality of education will entail partnerships between the government, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations. The government should cut-down on bureaucracy and provide space for innovation to thrive, while the private sector should adopt more corporate social responsibilities that are “ICT-Education” focused. The government and the private sector must shake hands with the NGOs, who work in underserved areas ensuring that models that work be scaled.

Improved curriculum: What are the use of a well-equipped learning center and reliable partnerships when the curriculum is out-dated?. Now is the time to adopt a curriculum that reflects the realities of the digital age.

Human Capital Development: Educators in Nigeria (especially in underserved communities) lack the skills required to deliver learning in the digital age. Creating appropriate teacher-development and management systems to support educators lacking the skills to function effectively in the current context.

Improved funding for the education sector: UNESCO encourages countries to benchmark their education expenditure following the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, by allocating at least 15% to 20% of the public budget to education. Nigeria’s 2021 economic recovery and resilience, the budget has only an abysmal 5.68% allocated to the Education sector. If the country is serious about rejuvenating its education systems, budgetary allocation to the education sector must be acutely improved.

In conclusion, without inclusive and equitable education and lifelong opportunities for all citizens, countries will not succeed in achieving gender equality and breaking the cycle of poverty that is leaving millions of children, youth and adults behind.”  UNESCO. Therefore, the government and policymakers must pay attention to and seize the moment to create quality educational structures during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Gabreal Odunsi | Program Officer | Digital Inclusion

News Brief: Paradigm Initiative Launches a Six-week Virtual Training Program

By | AbaLIFE, AjegunleLIFE, Echoes From Life, ICT Policy, ICTs, L.I.F.E.

Paradigm Initiative launches the first cycle of a six-week L.I.F.E (Life Skills, ICTs, Financial Literacy, and Entrepreneurship) training program for the year 2021. LIFE training is a free program aimed at enhancing ICT and entrepreneurial skills among youth living in under-served communities and lacking access to tertiary education due to poverty. The training program starting on February 22, 2021, will be witnessing a major shift from in-person training at our various centers in Aba, Ajegunle, Dakata, to a completely virtual session this year.

Upon completing LIFE training, the trained youth are matched with companies to complete internships, trained and supported to begin online work (freelancing), or supported to pursue their entrepreneurial ideas. This enables them to improve their livelihoods and become active citizens.

Gabreal Odunsi is The Program Officer, Digital Inclusion at Paradigm Initiative, who answers some pertinent questions about LIFE training program 2021.

Why the needs for ICT training in 2021 and for how long will this training run?

COVID-19 global pandemic has changed the world’s reality. Numerous organizations are moving their work online for a sustainable future; this has led to an increase in demand for digital skills in workplaces worldwide. Therefore, ICT skills are needed to be more productive and employable. The LIFE training will be mostly virtual this year, due to the pandemic. 

Who can attend and is there a registration fee and a course fee?

The L.I.F.E training program is open to any young person between the ages of 15 – 28, who has graduated from secondary/high school and is enthusiastically passionate about learning these skills and willing to connect with opportunities in the digital economy in order to better their livelihood. The training is 100% FREE.

How will the training be conducted given its virtual nature? 

The program will be conducted using a virtual learning platform to deliver the lessons. We will upload the platform with resources and course activities. Also, the student will be evaluated at different stages of the training program.

We understand this program has been going on for some time now, can you tell us how successful it has been over the years?

Between 2016 and 2020, the program has trained 1119 young people in underserved communities across three states in Nigeria with 469 engaged through apprenticeship programs, job placements, running businesses, and internship programs. We are particularly impressed by the interest many young people are showing towards the program and because we know inculcating these life-changing skills in these youth will go a long way to make them sustainable.

Press Release: Paradigm Initiative Calls for Digital Inclusion for Marginalised Communities on International Day of Education!

By | Press Release

As the world celebrates the International Day of Education themed ‘Recover and Revitalize Education for the COVID-19 Generation’, Paradigm Initiative (PIN) calls for digital inclusion of marginalized communities in Africa. This day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in recognition of the importance of education as well as the need to ensure everyone has equitable quality education at all levels and access to lifelong learning opportunities that help them to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to access opportunities, participate fully in and contribute meaningfully to the sustainable development of society.

In the  United Nations Policy Brief: Education during COVID-19 and beyond, the United Nations highlighted that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the largest disruption of education in history, having already had a near-universal impact on learners and teachers around the world, from pre-primary to secondary schools, technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions, universities, adult learning, and skills development establishments. Closures of schools and other educational institutions are hampering the provision of essential services to children and communities. The Policy Brief also states that distance learning in high-income countries covers about 80–85 percent, and drops to less than 50 percent in low-income countries which shortfall can largely be attributed to the digital divide, with the disadvantaged having limited access to basic household services such as electricity; a lack of technology infrastructure; and low levels of digital literacy among students, parents, and teachers. 

 UNESCO highlighted that many parts of the world have resorted to distance learning and leveraging the use of information and communications technologies. The answer to resolving the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on education includes access to the internet and technology. During this time, PIN calls for the African States to adhere to Principle 37 of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights’ Declaration Of Principles On Freedom Of Expression And Access To Information In Africa by adopting laws, policies, and other measures to promote affordable access to the internet for children that equip them with digital literacy skills for online education and safety. PIN further urges States to enhance access to education by removing technological barriers and investing in digital infrastructure.

PIN reminds all African States that education is a fundamental right that enables the enjoyment of other rights such as human dignity, health, and labour. As such, ensuring access to education for all is most pertinent. As PIN commemorates this day, it continues to bridge the digital divide through its Life Skills, ICTs, Financial Literacy, and Entrepreneurship (LIFE) training program for underserved youths.

 

Valery Njiaba – Communications Officer |  Paradigm Initiative  |  media@paradigmhq.org

#EchoesFromL.I.F.E: ‘My Life Right Now is a Complete Aftereffect of The Training’ ORITSEMISAN FAVOR ENEMIGIN

By | Echoes From Life, L.I.F.E.

17 years old Oritsemisan worked as a teacher with some schools and tutorial centers before his contact with the LIFE program. Although he had a little knowledge of how to use a computer, the fact that he could improve his ICT skills at the AjegunleLIFE center for free stirred his interest to join the program.

Before the program, Misan’s biggest challenge was his inability to successfully deliver any entrepreneurial skill – He’d tried using the little knowledge he had on graphics design to establish a startup called “Myme Edits”, but it wasn’t successful. “I ask myself ‘If you quit your teaching job, what would you do?’. Well, the LIFE program gave me an answer – You would be a programmer”, said Misan.

During the training, He learned more than just the ICT and Entrepreneur. Misan learned how to actively participate in teams, and how to network. The frequent individual presentations made him bold on how to speak to an audience. He learned positive character traits from the daily morning life skill sessions.

“My life right now is a complete aftereffect of the training. I can proudly say that I am literate of nine programming languages (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, SQL, Python, Java, Dart, and Arduino) and three graphic design software (Adobe Photoshop, Corel Draw, and Inkscape). I have taught secondary school students, ‘Jambites’ and even Computer Science Students how to code and this is only as a result of the knowledge I got at the training”.

Currently, I am the Lead Front End Developer at DrinkWater_Tech – an IT Company he founded alongside two of his mates that also attended the LIFE program. He is also a graphic designer and a Java student at the National Institute of Information Technology (NIIT). He believes that with his growth pace, he’ll be a known tech nerd in the nearest future.

Social Media handles.

Instagram: @enem_isan

Twitter: @EOritsemisan

Facebook: Oritsemisan Favour Enemigin

LinkedIn: Enemigin Oritsemisan

#EchoesFromLIFE: HOW ENECHUKWU CHIBUIKE BECAME A WEB DEVELOPER.

By | AbaLIFE, Echoes From Life, L.I.F.E.

Graduating from secondary school, I was gripped with fear because I did not know what else to do with my life. Learning Computer Science (theoretically) in secondary, I developed an interest in tech, but each time I think of my family background, I get discouraged.

During our visit to National High School, Aba, we met Enechukwu Chibuike. Unfortunately, he was not selected to participate in the newly introduced Digital Inclusion (LIFE@School) Club in his school, a Digital Inclusion initiative powered by Paradigm Initiative (PIN).

Enechukwu Chibuike, undergoing training, LIFE 2019 at PIN’s Digital Inclusion Centre in Aba, South-East Nigeria

Immediately Chibuike finished his final exams he rushed to PIN’s Digital Inclusion Centre in Aba, South-East Nigeria. He enquires how much it will cost to undergo the training. He was full of doubt when told the training is free of charge. He reluctantly applied for the second batch of 2019. He was interviewed and was selected. But in doubt, Chibuike ensured that his mother attends the parent/guardian orientation. He spent ten weeks in the center, ensuring he comes early to sit in the front seat. He learned Life skills, ICT, Financial Literacy, and Entrepreneurship.  

In his own words, “The training is an eye-opener to me in ICT, life, industry and otherwise. It helped me to discover the opportunities surrounding me and how to make effective use of them. It made me realize that being an entrepreneur is not just owning a business but the ability to find problems and provide solutions to them. 

Enechukwu Chibuike, undergoing training, LIFE 2019 at PIN’s Digital Inclusion Centre in Aba, South-East Nigeria

Among the modules taught, Chibuike developed a strong interest in web development. “During the training, I developed an interest in web development, learned HTML, CSS, and JAVASCRIPT fundamentals of MySQL and PHP.

Immediately after he graduated from the training program, he got an internship program with LearnFactory Nigeria, also a tech hub in Aba. “The coronavirus pandemic disrupted my internship program. Notwithstanding the pandemic and the global lockdown, I have ‘switched’ to the ‘new normal’ – e-learning/virtual learning.   

I have added a few new programming languages to my skills as I look forward to becoming a full-stack web developer in no time. These new programming languages are React.js, Apollo, and GraphQL. 

 

LE FLASH: Paradigm Initiative Dévoile DRIF21 à Travers une Conférence de Presse Virtuelle.

By | Advocacy, Digital Rights, DRIF, ICT Policy

Le vendredi 15 janvier, Paradigm Initiative, a organisé une conférence de presse virtuelle pour lancer officiellement la 8e édition du Forum sur les Droits Numériques et l’Inclusion baptisé DRIF21 avec la participation de plusieurs journalistes de toute l’Afrique. La conférence visait à annoncer l’ouverture des inscriptions de DRIF21, du 18 janvier au 18 février 2021.

Sur le panel, une équipe de Paradigm Initiative constituée de Adeboye Adegoke, responsable du programme des droits numériques, Thobekile Matimbe, Community Manager et Tosin Abolaji, responsable du programme de l’inclusion numérique, a éclairé les représentants des médias sur la raison d’être et ce qui fait de DRIF21 un événement très attendu. Le panel a également annoncé lors de la conférence que DRIF21 va devenir continental et sera co-organisé par plusieurs autres organisations dans 12 pays africains. Les pays hôtes comprennent la Somalie, l’Éthiopie, l’Ouganda, le Soudan du Sud, le Kenya, la Tanzanie, le Tchad, le Nigéria, la Namibie, le Cameroun, la Zambie et la République centrafricaine.

DRIF21 est l’événement phare de Paradigm Initiative qui se déroulera du 12 au 30 avril 2021. Il convient de noter que DRIF21 sera un mélange de sessions virtuelles et physiques. L’événement sera retransmis en direct sur les plateformes de médias sociaux de PIN. DRIF21 est organisé selon un modèle qui célébrera les communautés multi-pays et qui contribuent à la promotion des droits numériques et de l’inclusion en Afrique.
Le Forum sur les Droits Numériques et l’inclusion (DRIF) est une plateforme importante où les conversations sur la politique numérique en Afrique sont façonnées, les orientations politiques débattues et les partenariats forgés pour l’action.

Pour plus d’informations sur DRIF21, cliquez ICI.

Envie d’assister à DRIF21? Inscrivez-vous ICI.

Pour toute autre demande, envoyez-nous un e-mail: drif@paradigmhq.org

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