Category

ICT Policy

Fatima Ahmed Sehure: With the Support and Motivation from the LIFE program, I am not Where I Used to be and I am Most Grateful for That.

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

I Am Fatima Ahmed Sekure, from Badawa layout, Kano. My brother told me about Paradigm Initiative’s Training after my NYSC in 2019. Since he is an alumnus, he told me how they support youths to achieve their goals, learn ICT skills, and become entrepreneurs, so I asked him to let me know when it was time to enroll.

What I heard about the program made me more interested in being a part of it. I heard it helped youths learn how to be self-reliant, it taught entrepreneurs how to boost an existing business, and that through the program young people are educated to become better individuals in society.

After the training, I enrolled in a tailoring school and Alhamdulillah the progress has been massive. I can now make simple gowns, facemasks, and bags.

I am growing in the business of bag making, as customers are trooping in especially those getting married. With the support and motivation from the LIFE Program and the trainers, I am not where I used to be, I am most grateful for that.

CLOSING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE GAP IN AFRICA’S UNDERSERVED COMMUNITIES

By | Digital Rights, ICT Policy, ICTs, Internet Freedom

The world we live in is changing in ways we would not have imagined some years back and this change is being driven by Information and communication technology-enabled innovations. This has led to a race of who will blaze the trail in the digital economy of the world, as whoever wins the race will have major control over important dynamics that drive our world today.

While we see developed countries striving to increase their quest towards digital dominance, what we see in most African countries especially as it has to do with her underserved population is a continent that either has lost touch with what is happening around her or one that doesn’t care about the wellbeing of its underserved population, as we cant see the much that is being done towards closing the digital divide gap compare to other developed economies when it comes to her citizens who live below the poverty line.

To help us better understand this problem, Jakob Nielsen wrote an article in 2016 that analyzed the digital divide and classified it into three stages: the economic divide stage, the usability divide stage, and the empowerment divide stage.

In Africa, you will find most countries at the economic divide stage. The majority of the citizens do not have access to the infrastructure, devices, and tools that will enable their participation in the global digital economy. This can mostly be attributed to poverty, as a greater percentage of her population do not have what it takes to acquire even the world’s cheapest digital devices. The second reason here being, the inability of the government of these countries, to provide the infrastructure that will support access to the digital economy.

On the problem of the usability divide, we see where people have moved beyond the first stage to having access to digital tools and devices but not knowing how to use them. Here you see citizens acquiring computers just for recreational reasons (playing games and watching movies) or getting high-end smartphones for the sole purpose of making and receiving calls. The above is usually because they lack the skills and knowledge that can enable them to take full advantage of the capability of these digital resources.

At the third stage, which is the empowerment divide, the problem we see here in most African countries is that most people who have passed the first two stages by having access to digital tools and devices and the skills of using them most times don’t know how to convert that into opportunities that can empower them and their communities. The above situation is further exacerbated by repressive policies of most governments of the countries which have prevented most of its citizens especially those from underserved communities from taking advantage of their digital skills in empowering themselves. A typical example is a ban on the use of cryptocurrencies in Nigeria by her Apex financial institution the Central Bank of Nigeria which has led to many cryptocurrency exchanges doing business in Nigeria moving their businesses outside the shores of the country leading to the loss of opportunities for her teeming youthful population.

Having looked at the problem of the widened digital divide in Africa from the lens of these three stages, one will not help but ask what we can do to amend this situation so that Africa and its youthful population will not be left behind in the race for control in the emerging global digital economy. To close this widening gap in the digital divide among African countries, the following must be done:

There is the need for a homegrown solution to the problem of access to and affordability of digital tools and devices, as this will help reduce the cost and make them cheap enough that a greater number of citizens can get and use them.
African governments should take advantage of Public and Private partnerships to drive the acquisition of relevant digital skills that will help their people to be players in the emerging global digital economy.
Repressive government policies should be abolished, while good ones should be enacted to create the enabling environment for creative young people on the continent to be able to harness their digital skills towards creating opportunities for the continent and its people.

In conclusion, it is very important for policymakers in all African countries to understand the stages they are among these three stages of the digital divide as that will help them to know the appropriate policies to put in place to get their people to where they are supposed to be in the globalized digital economy.

By Ihueze Nwobilor

PIN Joins Civil Society Organisations in Myanmar to say ‘NO’ to the current Internet Shutdown in the Country

By | Advocacy, Digital Rights, ICT Policy, ICTs, Uncategorized

Dear mobile operators and internet service providers in Myanmar, Right now, more than ever, the internet is integral to our survival. Without it we cannot stay connected with each other and the outside world, which heightens the risk for human rights violations against us.

Given this, we are writing with regards to your adherence to the shutdown of social media platforms. On February 3, 2021, mobile operators, international gateways, and internet service providers (ISPs) received a directive from the Ministry of Transport and Communications to block Facebook; on February 5, 2021, an additional directive was received to block the social media platforms Twitter and Instagram.

These directives were given by an illegitimate authority body – by engaging in an illegal, unconstitutional seizure of power, the military does not have the right to be recognized as the governing body of Myanmar. By complying with their directives, your companies are essentially legitimizing the military’s authority, despite international condemnation of this very body.

Further, the rights to freedom of expression and information are protected under general international human rights law. As evidenced in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, any restrictions to freedom of expression must be necessary and proportionate to achieving a legitimate aim. With COVID restrictions and ongoing security risks in the country, the people of Myanmar rely on social media platforms to share their voices with each other and the world. The blocking of social media platforms with the intent to silence Myanmar people’s dissent cannot be perceived as a legitimate aim.

We call for mobile operators and ISPs to take every action available to appeal the recent junta directives. Telenor has stated that the directive has a legal basis under the Myanmar Telecommunications Law but this is questionable. Section 77 of the Telecommunications Law authorizes the Ministry of Transport and Communication (MOTC) in case an “emergency situation arises to operate for the public interest,” to direct a telecommunications licensee to
suspend service or “intercept or not to operate any specific form of communication.” According to the International Commission of Jurists, Section 77 is incompatible with international human rights law and standards on freedom of expression and information, which in turn brings into question the validity of the MOTC order.

Additionally, we understand that telecom operators are required to report on requests for personal user data. We would like assurance that your companies are only disclosing information related to life-or-death situations. Facilitating the military’s surveillance of activists and journalists puts them at severe risk.

Finally, we would like to remind all operators that under the UN Guiding Principles of Business and Human Rights, you have a duty to not enable or contribute to potential human rights violations. Shutting down an important means for the nation to communicate with one another and bear witness is part of the military’s strategy to illegally retain power, and would thereby allow for potential human rights violations to take place with impunity. To uphold your duty:

  • Mobile operators and ISPs must prevent the military from accessing user data.
  • Mobile operators and ISPs must take every action available to appeal the recent junta directives.
  • Mobile operators and ISPs must develop plans in the event the human rights situation in Myanmar deteriorates.

Your services and actions are needed by the people now more than ever.

Regards,
Myanmar Civil Society Organizations working on:
Human Rights,
Peace and Federal Democracy,
Justice and Accountability

 

APPEL À PROPOSITION: Production d’un court métrage sur l’état des droits numériques et de l’inclusion en Afrique.

By | Advocacy, Digital Rights, DigitalJobs, ICT Policy, ICTs

 Introduction

Paradigm Initiative (PIN) est une entreprise sociale qui construit des systèmes de soutien basés sur les TIC et plaide pour les droits numériques afin d’améliorer les moyens de subsistance des jeunes Africains mal desservis. PIN a développé Londa: un rapport sur l’état des droits numériques et de l’inclusion en Afrique, qui présente l’état des droits numériques dans 20 pays africains et formule des recommandations clés pour les droits numériques et la protection de l’inclusion. Il capture entre autres, la fracture numérique aggravée par la pandémie du COVID-19. Le rapport met au jour des infractions dans différents domaines thématiques tels que la vie privée, l’accès à l’information et la liberté d’expression avec un contexte législatif et politique bien exposé.

Raison d’être et portée

PIN cherche à produire un court métrage, de 15 à 20 minutes, qui raconte l’histoire des droits numériques et de l’inclusion en Afrique. Le film doit faire ressortir un thème majeur dans les 20 pays rapportés à Londa. Le but est de présenter une production visuelle qui peut être vue et comprise par divers membres de la société africaine. Le langage utilisé doit être simple, inclusif et compréhensible pour atteindre un large public en Afrique. En tant que tel, le demandeur doit répondre en indiquant une stratégie de marketing solide.

 Chronologie

La production du scénario devrait avoir lieu au cours de la dernière semaine de février et la production réelle du film devrait commencer le 1er mars 2021. PIN s’attend à ce qu’un film finalisé soit produit d’ici le 20 avril 2021

 Attentes

PIN recherche une société de production pour faire ce qui suit:

Développer un scénario pour le film de Londa.

  • Produire le film en anglais et en français avec des sous-titres en swahili.
  • Assurer la diffusion du film auprès des publics et des parties prenantes anglophones et francophones, et doubler le film en version française en plus de la production originale anglaise.
  • La société de production de films doit disposer d’un équipement de production moderne et d’un personnel qualifié capable de rédiger des scénarios, de traduire en français, de produire des films et de doubler le film avec les conseils de l’équipe de communication interne de PIN.
  • La société de production cinématographique doit être ouverte à rencontrer régulièrement l’équipe PIN pour toute clarification et mise à jour.

Tâches de production

La société de production de films fera ce qui suit:

  • Développer le scénario anglais et la version française.
  • Produire un court métrage anglais et un doublage français, d’ici le 20 avril 2021.
  • Aligner étroitement la version doublée avec le style et le ton de l’original, tout en la maintenant parfaitement synchronisée avec les lèvres, les expressions et le langage corporel des acteurs.
  • Enregistrer et utiliser une narration française standard et préparez la musique de fond pour le film.
  • Finalisez la production originale en anglais et le doublage en français selon les commentaires fournis par Paradigm Initiative.
  • Finaliser tous types de données (scripts, images, clips, etc.) après consultation et approbation.
  • Utilisez le dernier logiciel de copie de haute qualité.

 Tâches de marketing et de distribution

Pour s’assurer que le film est largement distribué et promu sur les plateformes et canaux locaux et internationaux (en ligne et hors ligne), la société de production doit avoir la capacité de planifier et d’exécuter le marketing et la distribution du film. La société de production doit être capable de faire ce qui suit:

  • Développer un plan marketing complet de 3 mois (mai-juillet) comprenant le public, les médias, les canaux, les attentes et les coûts.
  • Développer et partager une stratégie complète de médias sociaux pour le marketing et la distribution du film.
  • Développer et partager un plan de relations publiques complet pour le marketing et la distribution du film.
  • Veiller à ce que le film soit correctement répertorié sur les plateformes de VOD et les programmes de médias traditionnels en Afrique et à l’étranger.
  • Assurer que le film soit répertorié dans toutes les bases de données de films internationales, les festivals pertinents et les encyclopédies.
  • Faire la publicité de spots, d’affiches et de teasers sur les médias traditionnels, notamment les journaux, la radio et la télévision.
  • Rédiger et produire un contenu et des critiques de qualité, en tenant compte des conventions et des limites des plateformes de médias sociaux.
  • Produire du contenu de haute qualité pour les plateformes de médias sociaux de Paradigm Initiative, notamment Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn et Instagram.
  • Créer et éditer des vidéos qui peuvent être publiées sur les plateformes pour promouvoir le film et le rapport sur les droits numériques en Afrique.
  • Partager régulièrement le contenu avec PIN.
  • Gérer et répondre aux commentaires dans les médias et les médias sociaux.

Qualifications, antécédents et expérience

L’entreprise idéale doit avoir une expertise et une créativité techniques / professionnelles de haut niveau en matière de rédaction, de production et de doublage de films. Le candidat retenu doit:

-Soumettre deux exemples de chacune des œuvres suivantes: Un film-scénario, un film et des productions de doublage vidéo en français directement produites par le candidat.

-Démontrer des compétences en scénarisation, production, développement et doublage de films / films en français. Le film produit doit être en anglais et doublé en français et le scénario doit être produit en anglais et en français.

Les accents français pris en charge incluent la France, la Suisse ou l’Afrique (Togo, Cameroun, Côte d’Ivoire, Sénégal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Congo, Bénin, Tchad, Cameroun, Gabon, RCA, Niger, Mali, Maroc, Tunisie, Algérie).

Soumission

La proposition doit fournir les informations suivantes:

  • Proposition technique: aperçu et méthodologie pour entreprendre la rédaction du scénario; la traduction du scénario; la production du film; le doublage vidéo; le plan de marketing et de distribution ainsi que le plan de travail détaillé montrant les activités importantes de la mission et les jalons.
  • Proposition financière: Inclure un devis détaillé pour la production indiquant tous les coûts nécessaires.
  • La proposition doit également inclure les coordonnées de trois(3) références. Veuillez soumettre la proposition avec le portefeuille de travaux tel que requis et mentionné dans la section qualifications ci-dessus.
  • Les soumissions doivent inclure les directives de sécurité COVID-19.

Si cet appel à proposition décrit vos capacités, veuillez soumettre votre proposition avant le 15 février 2021. Paradigm Initiative encourage les soumissions collaboratives de plusieurs candidats.

Veuillez soumettre vos propositions à rfp@paradigmhq.org avec comme “objet”: Production cinématographique: Londa

REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL: Production of a Short Film on the State of Digital Rights and Inclusion in Africa

By | Advocacy, Digital Rights, ICT Policy, ICTs

 Introduction

Paradigm Initiative (PIN) is a social enterprise that builds ICT-enabled support systems and advocates for digital rights in order to improve the livelihoods of under-served young Africans. PIN has developed Londa: A Report on the State of Digital Rights and Inclusion in Africa which presents the state of digital rights in 20 African countries and makes key recommendations for digital rights and inclusion protection. It captures among other things, the digital divide worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. The report unearths infractions on different thematic areas such as privacy, access to information, and freedom of expression with the legislative and policy backdrop well enunciated.

Rationale and Scope

PIN seeks to produce a short film, of between 15 and 20 minutes, that tells the story of digital rights and inclusion in Africa. The film must bring out a major theme across the 20 countries reported in Londa. The purpose is to present a visual production that can be viewed and understood by diverse members of the African society. The language used must be simple, inclusive, and comprehensible to reach a wide audience in Africa. As such, the applicant must respond with an indication of a robust marketing strategy.

Timeline

The production of the script is expected to take place in the last week of February with the actual production of the movie expected to commence on 1 March 2021. PIN expects a finalised film product by 20 April 2021

Expectations

PIN is hiring a production company to do the following;

  • Develop a script for the film from Londa
  • Produce the film in English and French with Swahili subtitles.
  • To ensure the distribution of the movie for Anglophone and Francophone audiences and stakeholders, Paradigm Initiative is looking for a movie production company to French dub the film in addition to the original English production.
  • The movie production company should have modern production equipment and qualified personnel capable of scriptwriting, French translation, film production, and dubbing the movie with guidance from PIN’s internal communications team.
  • The film production company must be open to meet with the PIN team regularly for any clarifications and updates.

Production Tasks

The movie production company will do the following:

  • Develop the English script and French version.
  • Produce an English short film and a French dub, by 20 April 2021.
  • Align the dubbed version closely with the style and tone of the original, while keeping it perfectly synchronised to the actors’ lips, expressions, and body language.
  • Record and use standard French narration and prepare background music for the movie.
  • Finalise the original English production and French dub according to feedback provided by Paradigm Initiative.
  • Finalise any type of data (scripts, images, clips, etc.) after the consultation and approval.
  • Use the latest high-quality dubbing software.

Marketing and Distribution Tasks

To ensure that the movie is widely distributed and promoted on local and international platforms and channels (both online and offline), the production company must have the capacity to plan and execute the marketing and distribution of the film. The production company must do the following:

  • Develop a 3-month comprehensive marketing plan (May-July) including the audience, media, channels, expectations, and cost.
  • Develop and share a comprehensive social media strategy for the marketing and distribution of the movie.
  • Develop and share a comprehensive PR plan for the marketing and distribution of the movie.
  • Ensure the movie is appropriately listed on VOD platforms and traditional media programs both in Africa and abroad.
  • Ensure the movie is listed on all international movie databases, relevant festivals, and encyclopedias.
  • Advertising of spots, posters, and teasers on traditional media including newspapers, radio, and TV
  • Write and produce quality content and reviews, taking into account the conventions and limitations of social media platforms.
  • Produce high-quality content for Paradigm Initiative’s social media platforms which includes Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Linked In, and Instagram.
  • Create and edit videos that can be posted across the platforms to promote the movie and the Digital Rights in Africa report.
  • Regularly share the content with PIN.
  • Manage and respond to feedback in the media and social media.

Qualifications, Background, and Experience:

  • The ideal company must have movie scriptwriting, production, and dubbing high level technical/professional expertise and creativity. The successful applicant is required to:
  • Submit two examples of each of the following works: A film-script, a film, and French video dubbing productions directly produced by the applicant.
  • Demonstrate competency in scriptwriting, production, developing, and dubbing movies/films in French. The film produced must be in English and dubbed in French and the scriptwriting must be produced in both English and French.
  • Supported French accents include France, Swiss or African (Togo, Cameroun, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Congo, Benin, Tchad, Cameroon, Gabon, RCA, Niger, Mali, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria).

 Submission:

The proposal should provide the following information:

  • Technical proposal: Outline and methodology for undertaking the scriptwriting, translation of the script, film production, video dubbing, marketing, and distribution plan as well as, the detailed work plan showing the assignment’s important activities and milestones.
  • Financial proposal: Include a detailed quotation for the production showing all necessary costs.
  • The proposal must also include the contact details of three references. Please submit the proposal with the works portfolio as required and mentioned under the Qualifications section above. Submissions should include COVID-19 safety guidelines.

If this RFP describes your capacities, kindly submit your proposal by 15 February 2021. PIN welcomes collaborative submissions of more than one applicant.

Please submit proposals to rfp@paradigmhq.org with the subject line: Film Production: Londa

Felix Ndidi: L.I.F.E Pushed Me to See Things from the Perspective of Someone Aiming for Success.

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

Felix grew up curious and looking for new ways to improve himself but, procrastination and a care-free attitude were the major hindrances to his growth. But attending the LIFE program changed his orientation on how to manage his life.
In Felix’s words, before the program, I was into graphic design and printing. I also knew little about coding, but procrastination and a stress-free life were part of my routine. The quote “time waits for no man” never really bothered me. Though sometimes, I always wondered how my goals would be actualized and how I could improve my coding and graphic design skills. During the program, answers to my questions started to unveil as I gradually learned some interesting aspects of life.

The skills I had earlier were improved at the program, I learned new graphic design styles and packages, the little knowledge of coding I had back then was transformed to a knowledge of a developer and my stress-free life and procrastination habits diminished every time I attended the LIFE Skill Classes.
According to Felix, the program was an eye-opener, and it gave him the push to start seeing things from the perspective of someone aiming for success and not waiting for it to come by.

I believe I can say I am a step ahead of most people around because the program imparted a certain knowledge and experience in me, you can call it ‘standing on the shoulder of giants’. The future holds marvelous opportunities and presently my aim is to work towards attaining each of them mostly in my field of specialization. I would also aim to be an entrepreneur because no one knows when or where their cheese will be moved.
Felix is presently studying Statistics at the Federal University of Technology Minna. He is an aspiring data scientist, a part-time programmer, and a graphic designer.

CHIGOZIE ISRAEL: I am Now a Better Person in Almost Every Area of My Life Because of the LIFE Program.

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

It was one of my church members who introduced me to AbaLIFE training after a visit to the photo studio I co-manage with my brother. I did not know the importance of digital skills and how they could be used to grow businesses, but then, my church member went on to explain how the training was going to impact and transform our photography business.

Upon joining the training, I found out that the program was more than what I was told and every aspect of the training was what I needed. The L.I.F.E skill classes helped change my attitude towards conducting my business as I became more enlightened about things I used to pay very little attention to.

The ICT skills I got from the training coupled with the photo editing skills helped me improve the quality of our pictures. The social media skills helped to identify a free platform to advertise our services to reach more people. As of today, I can’t count the number of projects we have got in our business due to the advertisement that we placed online, and I didn’t know that this was possible before joining the training.

My best moments were during the entrepreneurship classes where I was learning and applying everything being taught in our business and I will tell that they were working like magic. One special moment was when we learned about branding and how it affects our business.

Our business name was OLD SCHOOL PHOTOS which I got to know was affecting the quality of customers we were attracting. I got home and shared it with my brother, and he said I should come with the one I think will be better.
I used the brainstorming skill we were taught to talk with a few of my friends, and we came up with YANKEE KREATIONS which caught the attention and admiration of our old customers and brought in a new set of customers.

My social status was also changed by the impact I got from the training as an O’level certificate holder, with everything I had gotten from the program, I was able to give my graduate friends tips on how to prepare for interviews which they used, and it worked for them, and they came back to thank me. Some of them could not believe that I haven’t seen the four walls of a university before.

Part of what was taught was community service, I volunteered to run the secretariat of the youth wing of my church alongside my Photography and video coverage work. Time and space cannot permit me to list all the things that AbaLIFE training has done for me as I am now a better person in almost every area of my life because of the impact the training made on me.

In January 2021, I signed a partnership contract to set up a standard and world-class studio. In all, Paradigm Initiative has impacted my life

#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.

 

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

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