Category

ICTs

Simon Faith: I have all it takes to rule my world.

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

“Confident and polished” were the words Faith used in describing herself, seeing the impact the LIFE program had had on her.

In 2019, Faith had just graduated from secondary school, she really wanted to get the right job that would keep her engaged but she had no skill that could place her on the path.
Faith knew about the LIFE program from her sister, whose life was proof of the transformative power of the program. With this, she was convinced that the knowledge of ICT is the right tool for her journey of being employable.

“Getting into the LIFE program was the easiest part, staying focused and committed are the attitudes required if anyone wants to get the best of the 10 weeks program. Also, coming from Ajegunle where most people have to do some sort of manual labour to survive, I was happy to know that I have a shot at living a life where my intellectual strength would be needed”, said Faith.


After the program, she had a stint with Gina Consulting, where she was placed on the “Dress For Success Program” in order to improve her skills for the workplace. Presently, Faith works as a receptionist in one of the reputable Hotels in Lagos where she uses ICT skills from the training to carry out her daily tasks. She also has a dream of becoming a fashion stylist.

“I am proud to say that I am a much more confident young lady with a positive outlook for the future. Having being able to overcome the challenge of Digital Illiteracy, I have all it takes to rule my world” – Faith Simon

OBIAKOR PECULIAR CHUKWUEBUKA: “The knowledge of ICT has made and is making a difference in my life and around me” 

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

Life was a bit different from what I used to think it would be after Secondary School because I had this belief that one would go straight to University. It didn’t happen that way to me, while waiting for things to work out, I was introduced to Paradigm Initiative by Kelechi Obioma who shared with me how I could learn more about computers with just N500, not to compare to the amount paid to acquire this knowledge from other ICT centers. Going through the flyer I saw graphic design which has been an aspect I love too well in computers, not just that, also other enticing packages that I have never seen added to any computer training were included. There must be something different I said to myself, which I told my parents and filled the form. On returning it, I couldn’t believe that such a beautiful learning center was located in Aba talk more of Ngwa Rd. Such center being in this place is like asking “can anything good come out of Nazareth” the environment was too beautiful to be free! On completing the process before the interview when we shared it with our Pastor he was delighted and said we would be chosen.

Quitting was never on my mind despite the difficulties, I had to trek from home to the center a few times and back home too. My thoughts on technology/Internet were old-fashioned. I didn’t even know much about it, if, at all I did, it would be the much I learned from basic and computer science class during my secondary school and some from the computer training I previously had in 2015. Just as my thought was on technology/internet so was it on business before joining Paradigm Initiative. I never knew one could do business without the business dying off, the idea of having a problem to solve or a solution to people’s needs or wants before venturing into any business got stuck to me. The mindset of business as a way just to escape hunger was silenced.

It wasn’t difficult to learn, just that there were new things to learn and more advancement to the ones I knew from the Life skill to the ICT class. Entrepreneurship may be one big word I didn’t understand before joining the AbaLIFE program. I thought it was for some people, somehow like a title you don’t just attain or that easy to get. It was easy to learn that just solving problems or rendering solutions is one simple way to know one.

In all ramifications, I will say that the knowledge of ICT has made and is making a difference in my life and around me. Learning is much easier and better now as I can easily Google out what I want, do online courses and even get YouTube tutorials on any topic I desire especially on graphic design. Not waiting until I get to the four walls of the university or paying someone to help me start up my career. These skills are helping me broaden my horizon, helping me in branding and packaging of my work, and writing good business plans. It has also helped in educating my family on the use of ICT and even rebranding my Aunty’s catering services.

In 2017, I successfully worked with the Glorious Life Gospel Teens in hosting two major events for young people, MAD (Making a Difference) and SoCinema (Stand Out Cinema) the events had young people gathered in a venue where they were imparted. We achieved that by applying the skills we acquired at AbaLIFE these included; writing, branding, and packaging of proposals, social media, and networking that helped us pull great minds to these events without anything including sponsorship.

Currently, I am building a dancing team in our teenage church with the help of YouTube tutorials and the little skills we know. I have been able to seek out opportunities for scholarships and doing online free courses. I also volunteer at AbaLIFE in my spare time.

Not only that, but I won’t fail to add this. Not just the completion of the training got me this far and going I shared only but a few things. Staying close to AbaLIFE center even after my completion of the program has helped me achieve most of the things I shared. I got to meet another designer Chima David who is also an alumnus after my completion and others too with who I have synergy.

The privilege of having gone through this training has helped me a lot in standing strong and bold before congregations and in passing my message at ease. I have grown to become a creative thinker and my communication skills have been improved to help me function better as a youth executive and also at evangelism.
After the training, I wanted more, and I still do now. I will love to improve my graphic design skills.

 

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.

Media and Digital Information Literacy

By | Digital Rights, ICTs, L.I.F.E., Techtiary

How well do you understand the use of technology?
Do you know the limitations of technology?
Do you understand the dangers and precautions that the use of technology requires?

We all know that traditional literacy is the ability to read and write but in today’s digital world, being literate isn’t enough anymore as people need to be digitally literate as well. Digital literacy means having the technical skills to work and communicate in a society where there is the proliferation of information through digital technologies like internet platforms, social media, and mobile devices.

With the advancement of technology over the years, we now live in a global world. The domination of technology in our everyday lives has proven the importance of digital literacy not just for adults but for children. A very important topic within digital literacy is Internet Safety.

The Digital world has created extreme benefits and advantages for everyone. Without proper use and understanding of these technologies, the digital world can be overwhelming and even dangerous.

Digital literacy can be either simple or complex. It can be as simple as the ability to use social media or send an email. However, digital literacy also refers to a deeper understanding of technology around us which can be practical software skills such as creating a website or an app.

Digital literacy is not just knowing how to check our social media handles. Internet safety or online safety is the act of maximizing a person’s awareness and personal safety to private information and property associated with using the internet.

Generally, the internet does not harm us until we choose to react to suspicious content and websites. The first reason for internet harm is when you don’t know what you are doing. The second is when other forces entice you to react or click on links such as attractive ads, infected software downloads, and fraudulent messages.

Safety tips for online safety

• First, remember never to share your personal information example home address, school name, or telephone number in a chat room with unknown people.

• Never continue a chat with someone who makes you uncomfortable (always trust your instincts).

• Create a complex, unique, and strong password. Use upper, lower, and special characters (you can also have a password in your local dialect).

• Be a selective sharer.

• Always check website reliability.

• Always use two-factor authentication where available.

• Beware of free Wi-Fi and downloads.

• Most importantly remember to NEVER share your password(s) with anyone because that is your digital identity.

 

By Amina Ibrahim Idris

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

Paradigm Initiative Launches Call for Short Movie Production Proposals – LONDA

By | Advocacy, Digital Rights, ICTs

After the successful production and distribution of Training Day, an audio-visual presentation of PIN’s 2019 Digital Rights report. In this path, PIN recently announced an open call for proposals to a second short film of its 2020 Digital Report dubbed 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.

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 March 1, 2021. PIN expects a finalised film product by 20 April 2021. Londa is expected not to exceed twenty minutes, a motion picture that can be viewed and understood by all audience segments within Africa while using very simple, inclusive, and comprehensible language.

The call for proposals this year is targeting cutting-edge audio-visual companies to produce and distribute Londa. Because we understand that production and distribution consist of many elements, collaborative pitches of more than one applicant are welcome. The company will oversee the production and distribution of the movie within Africa and beyond.

Roselyn Ifeoma Micheal: The skills I acquired from L.I.F.E has set me on the path to success

By | AbaLIFE, Advocacy, AjegunleLIFE, Digital Rights, Echoes From Life, ICTs, L.I.F.E., Uncategorized

I got to hear about the training through a friend who graduated from the training earlier. The change I saw in her was what motivated me to join the training. I had my fears as I hadn’t touched a computer before, but she assured me that it would not be a problem as the instructors will guide me through the steps and processes. Based on her encouragement, I picked the form and passed through the selection process, and was among the selected few.

During the training, I was nervous when it came to handling the mouse or practicing what was taught. But thankfully, the trainers and officers at the center were so understanding and they helped me overcome my phobia which made the learning process easy.

I was impacted by the training in so many ways. Before the training, I believed acquiring digital skills was meant for extraordinary minds, but all those perceptions were changed during the training as I saw myself doing things I couldn’t have imagined doing before joining the training.

This was not only in digital skills, even the entrepreneurship skills classes exposed me to things I did not know about. Like generating ideas that can change my community, and then my social and communication skills were not left out as I have moved from a timid girl that I used to be to a bold person that can address any gathering comfortably now.

I am so grateful that the skills I acquired from this training have set me on the path to success since I left the training. I will proudly say that with the help of the skills I got, I now work as a secretary in a law chamber and the salary has helped me in contributing to the upkeep of my house making my family more proud of me.

These Institutions exist to create a system of checks and balances, PINs Program Officer, Anglophone West-Africa reacts to Peoples Gazette Clampdown

By | Advocacy, ICTs

Nigerian online news platform Peoples Gazette recently witnessed disruptions on their website. According to reports, these disruptions were based on directives from the Nigerian government to MTN, Glo Mobile, and other telecommunication firms.

The disruptions came as a probable result of the constant criticism of the Nigerian government, coverage of the #ENDSARS protest, and its aftermath which led to blockage of the website and use of alternate URLs by the news media during the restriction.

In a press release by Peoples Gazette Managing Editor, Samuel Ogundipe, he pointed out that “It has always been the duty of the news media to bring to public awareness corrupt practices in the public and private sector, and the flagrant abuse of human rights and the rule of law”.

He further stated that the disruption was targeted sabotage of the work done to throw more light on the darkest corners of Nigeria’s socio-political space.

Paradigm Initiative’s Program Officer, Anglophone West Africa, Khadijah El-Usman raised the importance of freedom of expression as a fundamental human right. “For any democracy to stand, the freedom to impart and express ideas must be protected and more importantly our reporters and journalists that make and shape the news need to be able to work without fear of harassment or intimidation”.

Furthermore, Khadijah highlighted PINs position saying “We need to get to a place as a country where public interest matters are reported without obstacles. Where the press can hold the government accountable unhindered, relay the wants and needs of citizens to government bodies, and provide a platform for the open exchange of information and ideas. These Institutions exist to create a system of checks and balances, to ensure that once one goes beyond its powers, the Government must also do its bit to protect institutions”.

In the meantime, Mr. Ogundipe encouraged readers to adopt the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) while visiting the new website or to follow Peoples Gazette Facebook page to access stories.

Whitney Tony: My life is looking sharp; The L.I.F.E Program Enhanced my Knowledge to Identify New Opportunities

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

Whitney Tony is a 22year old girl, the last child from a family of 5. According to her, growing up in Ajegunle was a tough one because of the notorious lifestyle of many young people within the slum. 

After she graduated from secondary school in 2015, Whitney joined the rat race to support her family financially. However, almost all of her salary could only cover transportation and feeding. This she did for 4 years after her graduation.

In 2019 she heard about the LIFE program from a friend, Moses Oghene, a graduate of the program. Whitney knew she had to benefit from the LIFE experience to gain the right skills if she wanted to pursue new opportunities.

At the AjegunleLIFE training center, “I equipped myself with digital skills, the facilitators encouraged us to push hard, my eyes were opened to lots of opportunities and I learned how to set realistic goals”, said Whitney.

After the program, Whitney volunteered to train secondary school students at Paradigm Initiative’s LIFE@School Program. Presently, Whitney runs two jobs as a digital marketer for The Choice Sanitary Wares LTD and Deluxe catering and event school.

According to her, “my life is looking sharp, I see myself ahead of most of my peers within my community because they do not know the things I know. Also, the skills received at the LIFE program help daily with my current job.”

Whitney aspires to further her education by studying Accountancy, she also plans to start a catering business. See

Asma’u Mu’azu: I am now Running my Business without Losing Money but Making a Profit.

By | AbaLIFE, AjegunleLIFE, Digital Rights, Echoes From Life, ICTs, L.I.F.E., Uncategorized

After secondary school, I attended vocational training where I learned how to make handbags. I had been making the bags for some time but I later realized that I was not making a profit. This was because I didn’t know how to properly run my business.

My sister advised me to join the DakataLIFE program at Paradigm Initiative. I joined the 2017C class where I learned how to use the computer. I liked the graphic design classes because I learned how to design logos and letterheads. The part of the training that really helped me in running my business was the Build Your Business (BYB) entrepreneurship classes.

Since finishing the program, I have continued with my bag-making business, and with the help of the knowledge I got from the program I am now running my business without losing money but making a profit. I now know how to advertise my bags online through WhatsApp groups. I used to think WhatsApp was only for Chatting but now I know how to use it to grow my business. The training has really made an impact on my life because I am now more self-confident to advertise my product. I am also making money so I can be self-reliant.

With the experience, I got during the training I can say “Always believe in yourself because if you don’t, then no one will believe in you”. Thanks to paradigm initiative.

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