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L.I.F.E.

Virtual learning in the times of COVID-19: Our lessons from the LIFE program in Nigeria

By | L.I.F.E.

When an organization that builds support systems for young people living in under-served communities crash, what happens? The past 5 months have taken a turn on Paradigm Initiative’s LIFE program. A training program that trains, equips and connects young boys and girls to the digital economy. The program offers relevant digital skills training to over 300 young adults at no cost yearly in order to bridge the digital gap/divide in these under-served communities across Nigeria. The beneficiaries of this program are youth from humble backgrounds that their parents can’t afford to pay their way through college or send them to institutions that offer the kind of training the LIFE program offers.

Paradigm Initiative’s LIFE (Life Skills, ICTs, Financial literacy and Entrepreneurship) Program has been running for over a decade now and is still committed to ensuring that every young person that passes through the program doesn’t just get trained but also connect to either job/internship or start their own entrepreneurial journey for an improved livelihood.

For 5 months now, the LIFE program operation has not been the same. The training centers in the 3 regions (North West, South West, and South East) where the training happens are on total lock down. All physical activities are suspended, both the potential students and beneficiaries of the program don’t have access to the facilities to learn or interact with peers and the program staff. Before the pandemic, the program had an ongoing training class that was affected by the official directives that lead to the National lock down.

Covid-19 has pointed out the importance of access to the internet, without access to reliable and meaningful connectivity young people from under-served communities’ risk being further cut off from vital information and online learning. The Program ongoing class as of March 2020 took a break from its usual mode of operation and that got the program staff thinking of better and improved strategies to continue engaging with the students. This process led to the program staff moving the training program to an immediate solution for the students to continue learning—WhatsApp.

As half of the world population is now online, many people still lack the quality of access they need to use the internet’s most powerful features, such as online learning. This is the case with young people living in under-served communities in Nigeria and around the World. With the fast response from the LIFE team to the Covid-19 lockdown, the WhatsApp learning initiative was not sustainable after a while. It was not long before different challenges began to arise—from students not being familiar with working remotely/virtually, to making themselves available for training, to finding it difficult to manage distraction, to them not having enough data (access to the internet), and to them not having the right device for the task at hand.

A smartphone offers the functionality to create and consume content in a way that basic phones don’t and the portability to use the internet anywhere. At some point during the training, Paradigm Initiative committed to providing data for the students weekly, just to keep them on the learning platform but this still couldn’t solve other issues. The team learnt that there is a need for a proper orientation for both the students and their parents. This will allow both parties to understand that in times of crises like the current pandemic there is a need to embrace technology, remote and virtual work/collaboration. There is also the fact that youth from these communities need the right device to stay connected to learning platforms and resources online. We can’t over lay emphasis on the fact that access to the internet/Web is not luxury but a lifeline. This population is highly affected and left behind from the needed information and resources that keep them relevant in the society.

The global pandemic had a huge effect on the processes and structure of Paradigm Initiative’s LIFE program and also presented a learning opportunity for the program to collaborate with other organizations in the ecosystem, partner with other Non-profits/NGOs working to achieve similar goals through putting resources together, and the opportunity to scale the program beyond its existing communities. As the unemployment and poverty rate increases by the day in these communities, there is a need for interventions like the LIFE program to continue to pull these young boys and girls up from the bottom of the pyramids.

The pandemic has made Paradigm Initiative Digital Inclusion teams realize the huge gap they have been bridging/closing for over a decade now in the host communities. The program’s training facilities in the 3 regions they currently operate from, has the needed learning equipment that assures maximum impact of the training on the students.

The Author of this article, Tosin Abolaji is  Paradigm Initiative’s  Digital Inclusion Program Manager

 

Appel à co-auteurs

By | Advocacy, Digital Rights, DigitalJobs, ICT Policy, ICTs, Internet Freedom, L.I.F.E.

Un rapport sur les droits numériques et l’inclusion en Afrique

Contexte

Paradigm Initiative (PIN) est une entreprise sociale qui construit un système de soutien basé sur les TIC et milite pour les droits numériques afin d’améliorer les moyens de subsistance des jeunes mal desservis. À travers ses équipes, partenaires et réseaux à travers le continent africain, PIN surveille l’état des droits numériques et de l’inclusion en Afrique et intervient avec des programmes et des actions qui répondent le mieux aux défis. L’écosystème numérique en Afrique est marqué par des violations des droits numériques que PIN a bien identifiées dans ses rapports sur les droits numériques en Afrique et a fait l’objet de délibérations mondiales sur des plateformes régionales et internationales telles que DRIF, le Forum sur la gouvernance de l’internet et RightsCon.

Grâce à la communauté des droits numériques et de l’inclusion, les initiatives de plaidoyer changent le paysage numérique en garantissant que les meilleures pratiques sont adoptées dans les politiques et la législation en Afrique. Des progrès significatifs sont en cours dans certains pays africains pour combler le fossé numérique et méritent d’être reconnus. Dans ce contexte, il est pertinent que le PIN documente les droits numériques et les violations d’inclusion, souligne les jalons et formule des recommandations pour améliorer le paysage numérique en Afrique.

Paradigm Initiative sollicite les services de chercheurs sur les droits numériques et l’inclusion en Afrique pour être co-auteurs d’un rapport continental annuel sur les droits numériques et l’inclusion. Chaque chercheur retenu fera rapport sur un pays spécifique. Paradigm Initiative versera une allocation de 800 USD au chercheur pour un travail achevé et soumis de manière satisfaisante.

Justification et portée du rapport

PIN cherche à compiler le rapport annuel 2020 qui donne une analyse approfondie de l’état des droits numériques et de l’inclusion en Afrique en examinant les violations, les lacunes, en enquêtant sur l’utilisation et l’application des politiques et de la législation, ainsi qu’en formulant des recommandations clés pour faire progresser les droits numériques et l’inclusion en Afrique. Le rapport dégagera également des thèmes clés à débattre lors du prochain DRIF21 et mettra en évidence les domaines d’intervention exceptionnels.

Méthodologie

Le rapport comprendra des rapports spécifiques aux pays bien documentés qui sont référencés et soumis par les auteurs des membres de son équipe et de la communauté des droits numériques et de l’inclusion. L’étude des pays adoptera une approche multiforme, combinant des méthodes empiriques et de recherche documentaire pour évaluer à la fois les aspects quantitatifs et qualitatifs des droits numériques et de l’inclusion en Afrique.

Contenu attendu

Les rapports nationaux doivent inclure un contexte et un historique; identifier et discuter des domaines d’évaluation thématiques, se référer à tout cadre juridique, politique et institutionnel du pays et faire des recommandations. Les rapports nationaux peuvent inclure, sans s’y limiter, l’un des domaines d’évaluation thématique suivants;

  • Impact de la réglementation COVID-19 sur les droits numériques et l’inclusion.
  • Jouissance de la liberté d’expression en ligne en 2020
  • Protection des données, confidentialité, identifiants numériques et surveillance
  • Coupures d’Internet
  • Lois sur le discours haineux, la désinformation et la diffamation criminelle
  • L’exclusion numérique en Afrique et son impact sur les droits humains
  • Infrastructure numérique et hiérarchisation des TIC.

Expertise et qualification requises

  • Bonne connaissance du pays sur lequel portera le rapport ;
  • Un diplôme pertinent.
  • Expertise, connaissances et expérience des droits numériques et de l’inclusion.
  • Ligne directrice pour les articles
  • Longueur acceptable du rapport de pays : 1500 mots
  • Anglais ou français.
  • Les auteurs doivent s’assurer que tous les statistiques, faits et données sont correctement référencés.
  • Un seul rapport de pays par chercheur sera accepté.

Les candidats intéressés, veuillez soumettre une réponse accompagnée d’une copie de votre CV et d’un échantillon de travail écrit d’ici le 19 septembre 2020 ici. Les délais complets seront communiqués aux candidats retenus. Les réponses seront communiquées le 1er octobre 2020.

Call for Co-Authors

By | Advocacy, Digital Rights, DigitalJobs, ICT Policy, ICTs, Internet Freedom, L.I.F.E.

A Report on Digital Rights and Inclusion in Africa

Background

Paradigm Initiative (PIN) is a social enterprise that builds an ICT-enabled support system and advocates for digital rights in order to improve livelihoods for under-served youth. Through its teams, partners and networks across the African continent, PIN monitors the state of digital rights and inclusion in Africa and intervenes with programs and actions that best respond to the challenges.  The digital ecosystem in Africa is marked by digital rights violations which PIN has aptly captured in its Digital Rights in Africa reports as well as been subject for global deliberations at regional and international platforms such as DRIF, Internet Governance Forum, and RightsCon.

Through the digital rights and inclusion community, advocacy initiatives are changing the digital landscape ensuring best practices are adopted into policy and legislation in Africa. The meaningful strides being taken in some African countries to bridge the digital divide are worth acknowledging.  With this background, it is pertinent that PIN documents digital rights and inclusion violations, highlights milestones and makes recommendations for improving the digital landscape in Africa.

Paradigm Initiative seeks the services of researchers on digital rights and inclusion from within Africa to be co-authors of an annual continental report on digital rights and inclusion. Each successful researcher will report on a specific country. Paradigm Initiative will pay a stipend of USD $800 to the researcher for work satisfactorily completed and submitted.

Rationale and Scope of the report

PIN seeks to compile the 2020 annual report that gives an in-depth analysis of the state of digital rights and inclusion in Africa by examining violations, gaps, investigating the use and application of policy and legislation as well as draw key recommendations for advancing digital rights and inclusion in Africa. The report will also draw key themes for deliberation at the upcoming DRIF21 and highlight outstanding areas for intervention.

Methodology

The report will comprise of well-researched country specific reports which are referenced and submitted by authors from its team members and digital rights and inclusion community. The study of the countries will take a multifaceted approach, combining empirical and desk-research methods to assess both quantitative and qualitative aspects of digital rights and inclusion in Africa.

Expected Content

Country Reports must include a context and background; identify and discuss the thematic assessment areas, refer to any in-country legal, policy and institutional framework and make recommendations. The country reports may include and not limited to any of the following thematic assessment areas;

  • Impact of COVID-19 Regulations on digital rights and inclusion.
  • Enjoyment of Freedom of Expression online in 2020
  • Data Protection, Privacy, Digital IDs and Surveillance
  • Internet Shutdowns
  • Hate Speech, Misinformation and Criminal Defamation Laws
  • Digital exclusion in Africa and its impact on human rights
  • Digital infrastructure and prioritization of ICT.

 Required expertise and qualification

  • Good understanding of the country to be reported on;
  • A relevant degree qualification.
  • Expertise, knowledge, and experience in digital rights and inclusion.

Guideline for Articles

  • Acceptable Length of Country Report: 1500 words
  • English or French.
  • Authors to please ensure that all statistics, facts and data are properly referenced.
  • Only 1 country report per researcher will be accepted.

Interested candidates, kindly submit a response together with a copy of your resume and sample written work by 19 September 2020 here. Full timelines will be communicated to successful candidates. Responses will be communicated on 1 October 2020.

Vacancy: Finance and Assets Manager

By | Advocacy, DigitalJobs, ICTs, L.I.F.E.

Paradigm Initiative (PIN) is a non-profit social enterprise that builds ICT-enabled support systems for young people, in order to improve their livelihoods. Two of PIN’s programs focus on digital inclusion while the third focuses on digital rights advocacy. Paradigm Initiative’s digital rights advocacy program is focused on the development of public policy for internet freedom in key regions of Africa. Our policy advocacy efforts include media campaigns, coalition building, capacity building, research and report-writing.

Job Summary:

The Finance and Assets Manager will be responsible for the financial health of Paradigm Initiative. One of his/her core functions will be to produce financial reports and develop strategies based on financial research. The successful candidate will guide and support the Leadership Team and Executive Director in making sound business decisions in the long and short term.

The FAM will be responsible for distributing the financial resources of Paradigm Initiative including budget planning and will support the executive management team by offering insights and financial advice that will facilitate sound business decision-making

Reporting To:

Executive Director

Responsibilities:

  • Monitor the day-to-day financial operations within the company, such as payroll, invoicing, and other transactions
  • Oversee financial department employees, including financial assistants and accountants
  • Prepare monthly and annual Management Reports
  • Manage the liquidity of the Organization
  • Contract outside services for tax preparation, auditing, banking, investments, and other financial needs as necessary
  • Track the company’s financial status and performance to identify areas for potential improvement
  • Seek out methods for minimising financial risk to the company
  • Research and analyse financial reports and market trends
  • Provide insightful information and expectations to senior executives to aid in long-term and short-term decision making
  • Review financial data and prepare monthly and annual reports
  • Prepare and present financial reports to board members, stakeholders, executives, and clients in formal meetings
  • Stay up-to-date with technological advances and accounting software to be used for financial purposes
  • Establish and maintain financial policies and procedures for the company
  • Understand and adhere to financial regulations and legislation
  • Prepare financial reports and reconciliations to general ledger data
  • Make timely recommendations for mitigating strategies and risk rating changes
  • Prepare and review timely assets management reports
  • Prepare regular investment reports and risk assessment of investments
  • Manage and maintain all properties and acquisitions
  • Strategize on the best model for managing the organization’s assets and resources
  • Conduct periodic review of all assets and acquisitions
  • Evaluate the value of all properties and suggesting ways for generating revenue
  • Objectively review Paradigm Initiative’s business processes
  • Evaluate the efficacy of risk management procedures that are currently in place
  • Protect against fraud and theft of Paradigm Initiative’s assets

Required Skills and competencies

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills;
  • Excellent organizational skills, follow-through attitude and attention to details;
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills;
  • Good supervisory and leadership skills;
  • Research skills;
  • Critical thinking skills;
  • Innovative and creative abilities;
  • Integrity;
  • Multi-tasking abilities;
  • Honesty;
  • Thorough knowledge of relevant laws on Accounting and Taxation;
  • Knowledge of and experience with various Accounting software such as Quickbooks.

Education and Experience

  • A First Degree in Accounting, Economics or Finance;
  • Must be a member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants or the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria;
  • Possession of a second degree will be an added advantage;
  • Must have at least 7 years’ hands-on experience in a Senior Finance role;
  • Hands-on knowledge of relevant accounting and taxation laws.
  • A background in audit would be an added advantage.

Key Performance Indicators

  • Monitoring the day-to-day financial operations within the company, such as payroll, invoicing, and other transactions;
  • Developing, implementing and monitoring Financial strategies and initiatives 
  • Regular development of overall Financial strategies, systems, tactics and procedures aligned with Paradigm Initiative’s Best Place To Work initiative and Strategic Management Plan;
  • Minimizing costs and maximizing profits to promote organizational growth;
  • Performing internal and external auditing functions when required;
  • Procurement of quality assets and items for the organisation at the best price;
  • Tagging of assets at a maximum of 2 days after purchase;
  • Quarterly update of inventory of assets in all PIN’s offices;
  • Annual error-free auditing of the Organization’s finances;
  • Monthly error-free drafting of financial reports;
  • Monthly statutory payments;
  • Maximum of 3 days downtime for any asset.

For the purpose of gender balance, a female candidate will be preferred. 

How to apply

Qualified candidates should send their resume with subject as FINANCE AND ASSETS MANAGER to hr@paradigmhq.org.

The application closes on September 16, 2020, but the position will be filled as soon as we find the right fit. If you think you are the right fit, do not delay in sending in your application. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Salary is N3.5M gross per annum. Other benefits including employer contribution of pension, medical cover, 13th month salary and leave allowance apply.

“Empower them to Engage”: PIN Calls for Empowerment of Underserved Youth on International Youth Day

By | DigitalJobs, L.I.F.E., Press Release

Paradigm Initiative (PIN) joins the world in commemorating International Youth Day under the theme – Youth Engagement for Global Action. The day was endorsed in 1999 by the General Assembly after a recommendation by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth. The commemoration for 2020 comes at a time when the world is battling against the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects are adverse on vulnerable youth such as refugees, those in rural areas, migrants and more so, youth in the informal sector who live from hand to mouth due to high levels of unemployment in many African countries.

According to the UN/DESA Policy Brief #67: Protecting and mobilizing youth in COVID-19 responses, young people are particularly vulnerable to the disruptions caused by the pandemic. With many African countries on lockdown guidelines in response to the pandemic, PIN calls for policies that ensure that social safety nets are afforded to youths to ensure they are able to get access to improved livelihoods and to be able to actively engage in any global action.

As we reflect on the reality that globally in 2020, more than one in five (22.4 per cent) young people aged 15–24 are neither in employment, education or training (NEET), PIN calls for African States to provide youths with equal opportunities for education and employment. We stand committed to empowering young people with skills that capacitate them to serve their communities and to improve their livelihoods.

Through the PIN Life Skills, ICTs, Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship (LIFE) training program, many youths are being empowered to access digital platforms that enhance their prospects of employment and starting businesses. This empowerment equally capacitates them to receive information and to be able to participate in national processes and beyond.

As we pay tribute to the youths in our communities, we urge African States to continue to take strides to ensure the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 4 which urges States in part 4 to increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship in ensuring  inclusive and equitable quality education and promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all .

We encourage States to ensure that youth have access to the internet in keeping with  Principle 37(2) of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights’ Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa which provides that States shall recognise that universal, equitable, affordable and meaningful access to the internet is necessary for the realisation of freedom of expression, access to information and the exercise of other human rights. Internet access provides a platform for the enjoyment of human rights. Providing youths with internet access is critical more so now during the pandemic.

For more information about this statement, please contact: media@paradigmhq.org

Nigeria: Could lack of digital skills be contributing to mass failure in UTME?

By | L.I.F.E.

By:Umar Amir Abdullahi

Every year, thousands of students write the Unified tertiary matriculation examinations (UTME) to compete for limited slots into tertiary institutions in Nigeria. The UTME is administered by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), a body that was established in 1978 to administer entrance examinations into tertiary institutions across the Nation.

Prior to 2014, UTME took a paper-based test format but from May 17, 2014, all UTMEs have been computer-based tests (CBTs) requiring digital skills. The Nigerian Government can argue that by making the entrance exams paper-based, it is merely bringing the board in line with the 21st century which has been dubbed the digital century.

A majority of the students who write the exam each year come from Government Schools. Most of these schools do not have access to computers. Even in the few schools where computers are available, power to run those computers and skilled teachers that can instruct students are often unavailable.

I had hoped the Government would put the necessary resources in place to ensure students in public schools are being adequately trained in the use of computers so they can sit for entrance exams into tertiary institutions without fear. However, after 5 years of CBTs, that has not been the case. Instead, a number of businesses have sprung up that in exchange for money give the students a crash course in how to sit for their UTME. This puts unnecessary pressure on poor parents who not only have to raise thousands of Naira to make sure their children can register for UTME but also have to find additional money to enrol those children, who have never had access to computers, into CBT training centres which claim to be able to prepare them for the exams with just a few minutes of training.

Confidence is a key factor in how well one does in an exam. For a student who has never touched a computer prior to their UTME, asking them to write an exam using digital technology and expecting them to pass may be a tall order. Gaddafi was a student who attended Paradigm Initiative’s free digital skills training in 2019. During his interview, Gaddafi claimed he had sat for UTME before and failed. When asked what he thought was responsible for his failure, he said he had never touched a computer until the day of his exam. When the exam began, his body was shaking and he had difficulty focusing on the questions. How many stories like Gaddafi’s remain untold across Nigeria? Of students who failed their entrance exams because they had not been equipped with the digital skills to comfortably use a computer?

In the 2019 UTMEs, 1,792,719 students sat for the exam. Only 427,156 scored 200 and above. Any exam where only 23% of the candidates score 50% and above is a warning sign. Of those who failed, what role did lack of digital skills play in their failure?

To be fair, transforming UTME from a paper-based to a computer-based test is a good thing. A digital test, apart from being more in line with the skills required for the 21st century, also eases the logistics problems of having to print and transport under heavy guard large volumes of paper material for the exams. However, any advantage this offers will be defeated if the educational system is not training Secondary School Students to have the necessary digital skills required to sit for Computer Based Tests.

I can argue that the current state of affairs, does not bode well for the future of Nigeria. If students, mostly from poor backgrounds, keep failing entrance examinations because the Government has not provided them with computers to train with in their Schools and those students see their peers from more affluent backgrounds having access to computers and passing exams, it could be laying the stage for a future where the gap between the rich and the poor widens further. The affluent being able to gain admission to tertiary institutions while the poor lacking digital skills do not.

Not every Government School Student’s story earns on as happy a note as Gaddafi’s. Having attended Paradigm Initiative’s 10 weeks free digital skills program in Kano, he feels confident to write UTME again. We can only hope the Government invests in the necessary infrastructure to make the dream of a digitally literate Nigerian youth a reality.

Umar Amir Abdullahi is Paradigm Initiative’s former Program Officer from Dakata, Kano State.

Vacancy: Program Officer (Kano, Nigeria)

By | L.I.F.E.

Paradigm Initiative is a social enterprise that builds an ICT-enabled support system and advocates digital rights in order to improve livelihoods for under-served youth. Our programs include digital inclusion programs – such as the Life Skills. ICT. Financial Readiness. Entrepreneurship (LIFE) training program and Techtiary program – and a digital rights program, Magoyi. Across our offices in Nigeria (Aba, Abuja, Ajegunle, Kano, Yaba), Tanzania, Zambia, Togo and Cameroon, and beyond, as part of a pan-African expansion plan, we work to connect under-served youth with improved livelihoods through our digital inclusion and digital rights programs.

Job Title: Program Officer (DakataL.I.F.E.)

Job Summary:

In 2016, Paradigm Initiative started a digital readiness training for young people in Kano. Our training centre in Dakata has connected young women and men to life-changing opportunities through the Life Skills. ICT Skills. Financial Readiness. Entrepreneurship Skills (LIFE) program that runs over 10 weeks. We are now expanding the scope of the work beyond Kano, to cover much of the region.

The Program Officer we are looking for will organize, coordinate and manage the L.I.F.E program and events relevant to accomplishing the organization’s strategic goals and objectives, as well as establishing networks with partners.

Location

Dakata, Kano State, Nigeria

Roles and Responsibilities:

  1. Policy and Administration
  • Support with the identification and interpretation of program strategies and policies
  • Assist in administering training for other support staff and team members
  • Research and develop materials and reports that outlines the successful completion of programs
  • Logging complaints and problems associated with running the programs effectively
  • Supports the administrative team when the need arises
  • Attend corporate functions in order to build the organization’s network
  1. Resource Control and Financial Management
  • Effective management of tools and resources for program implementation
  • Keeps records of all financial transactions associated with program processes and completion
  • Ensure proper management of all budgetary allocations for program management 
  1. Programs Planning and Implementation
  • Impact the organization’s output by developing and interpreting initiatives and new trends of program development
  • Renders advisory services to the program manager or when required on matters of program planning, implementation, development and sustainability
  • Providing essential support services to the team on a regular basis
  • Provide regular updates of all planning processes, practices and program methodology
  • Collects and collates all reports of completed programs and events
  1. Community Relations
  • Identifying, developing and promoting partnerships with other external organizations
  • Providing the communities with relevant information about the organization’s programs and events

Qualifications, Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in any field of management or equivalent experience.
  • Experience in managing programs and events.
  • Competence in the usage of computer systems, software, data and IT applications.
  • Vast knowledge and understanding of program planning, analysis, implementation and development.
  • Experience in program design.

Remuneration

  • Commensurate with experience and skills

How to Apply

Please click here to fill the application form

If you are the person our team needs to lead this effort for Paradigm Initiative, apply before November 26, 2019.

Creating Opportunities for Girls in Neglected Communities

By | AbaLIFE, L.I.F.E.

It is common knowledge that the female folk are the most marginalized group, especially in most Sub-Saharan African communities. They are always made to bear the brunt of the adverse economic situation of families. This story is not different for most girls living in underserved communities in the outskirt of the city of Aba, Abia State, Nigeria. The introduction of Paradigm Initiative’s youth capacity development training that offers four prong training program in the areas of LIFE SKILLS, ICT, FINANCIAL READINESS and ENTREPRENEURSHIP have seen girls from these underserved communities taking advantage of the training program to acquire skills that are helping them to access opportunities that otherwise would have eluded them.

ANN OGUDORO is a 22 years old girl who was teaching in a private primary school as an auxiliary teacher where what she is paid at the end of every month barely does anything for her as she spends most of the money on transportation before the end of the month. According to her, the only thing that kept her there was her limitation of being a Senior School Certificate (S.S.C.) holder and she cannot get any better job. Besides, she did not have any extra skill apart from her S.S.C.

When a friend of hers who had earlier passed through the Paradigm Initiative’s training told her about the opportunity, she had to quit the job temporarily to participate and upon completing the training she returned to the school with her newly acquired skills. To deploy her newly acquired website development and management skills, she volunteered to handle the backend of the school website which she did very well to the admiration of the school management. The above led to her being promoted from a classroom teacher to be part of the school website management team with a bigger and better salary than what she previously earned.

On the part of Oluchi Anya, an 18 year old fresh secondary school leaver who was looking for an opportunity to get a job that will help her contribute to her parents’ meager income which wasn’t enough to meet their family needs, all her job hunting efforts never yielded any positive result as all the offices she applied to were looking for people with additional skill to their secondary education and she had none then. She tried looking for where to get computer competence skills and found out that her parents couldn’t afford the cost of the training and this almost pushed her into depression. It was at this point that she heard about our digital skill workshop for girls which we implemented in partnership with INTEL West Africa and signed up for it.

After the workshop, she started practicing what she learned in the workshop at any opportunity she had access to a computer. She also resumed her job hunting afresh, and according to her, she was doing that with confidence based on her newly acquired skills and it didn’t take long before her efforts paid off as she got a job as a clerical assistant in a law firm where the digital skills she acquired has helped her to fit into the job very well.

L.I.F.E 2017 Q3 Overview

By | L.I.F.E.

General Update:

  • Paradigm Initiative has now commenced its LIFE@School program in Ajegunle. We inaugurated the first LIFE@School Club at El Leonora College. The expansion is in line with our plan to impact more youth. LIFE@School gives us the opportunity to scale our LIFE program and empower more young people with Life, ICT and financial readiness skills.life at school
  • The 2017C class is now in session across our three centres. 90 youth were selected to participate in the last class of 2017.

 

Tweet 3 AjegunleLIFE (2) 

 

DakataLIFE

The DakataLIFE 2017B class continued in July. The students had training in web development. They also concluded teamwork on their business plans followed by a business plan presentation during which the team pitched their business ideas. Business ideas pitched included packaged spices, bespoke bags and poultry farming. On August 4th, the 2017B class had their graduation ceremony. 30 students met the criteria and were presented with Letters of Completion. It was a fun ceremony with drama presentations by the students and a surprise Skype call with the Program Manager.

DAIC Picture 30

AjegunleLIFE

In the month of July, AjegunleLIFE Centre continued to offer capacity building opportunities to under-served youth from the community (Ajegunle). The LIFE 2017B training continued with morning drilling sessions, ICT classes and business development sessions. The topics – Creative thinking, Job interview, Team Work and Problem Solving – were discussed during the life skill sessions. At the ICT classes, students were taught Graphic design (using CorelDraw), HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP.

The LIFE Workshop took place on the 15th of July, 2017; the workshop was facilitated by Femi Taiwo, (Director of Programs, LEAP Africa) and he was assisted by Esther. The topic discussed was “Write to The Top”, which was to improve the communication skills of both students and alumni who were present at the work shop.

AjegunleLIFE Team received fellows from Teach for Nigeria, whose visit was to see how activities at the Centre take place and to see the impact stories of the students attending the LIFE Program.

 

Tweet 4 AjegunleLIFE

AbaLIFE

In this quarter we concluded the 2017B session of our training where 35 out the 35 accepted into the training successfully completed the training and received their completion letters on the 4th August 2017.

LIFE@School will commence with New World International Secondary School in October 2017.

We also hosted 35 girls in the SheWillConnect 2-day digital readiness workshop on the 7th and 8th September 2017

AbaLIFE will hold its annual Town hall meeting and Alumni forum coming on 10th and 11th November respectively.

 

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Online courses as a means of developing digital expertise in Africa

By | #PINternetFreedom, DigitalJobs, ICT Policy, ICTs, L.I.F.E.

By Babatunde Okunoye 

 

“The World is flat” is the title of the bestselling book by Thomas Friedman, the influential American author and Journalist, where he argued that several developments in the 21st century such as outsourcing, the personal computer, the Internet, the standardization of commercial technology globally and international trade have led to a shift in economic competitiveness across the world. This shift has created a level playing ground and new opportunities for millions of people in developing countries who hitherto were economically and socially disenfranchised. Empowered by these new opportunities, many of the world’s poorest nations have over the space of a decade developed highly skilled workers who have not only put pressure on workers in developed nations but are also displacing them in some instances. Several corporations in the European Union and the United States now outsource services such as call centre operation and computer coding to markets in Asia.

One of these levellers of development, the Internet, has transformed the way educational content is delivered worldwide. The rise of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) allows millions of people to attain professional and university level training affordably and at their own pace. This has undoubtedly revolutionized education in the past decade. MOOCs platforms such as Edx and Coursera, backed by leading international universities, provide easy access to training in highly sought skills such as Data Science and computer programming.

Africa’s severe developmental challenges have often meant that development workers and partners working on Digital inclusion on the continent have often focused more on providing the basics such as greater Internet access and computer appreciation to the mass of underserved youth on the continent. However, in the past five years, several tech clusters have emerged across Africa, a testament to the maturing expertise of a young people in Africa in the higher end tech skills. As the success stories of these tech start-ups spread, including how they have successfully secured international investment funding, they can inspire a whole new generation of Africans to change the digital landscape in Africa.

Thousands of youths across Africa, using these success stories, can thus envision a viable future in technology. And given the challenges inherent in many education systems in Africa, MOOCs provide an avenue where Africa’s budding technologists can learn with the best students and teachers in the world, demolishing the developmental barriers common to the continent. Raising awareness of the many opportunities that abound in MOOCs is key to this objective. In this regard, Paradigm Initiative has been in the forefront of spreading awareness of the big opportunities available in MOOCs and other digital tools. Through our digital inclusion program called ‘LIFE’, an acronym for ‘Life Skills. ICTs. Financial Readiness. Entrepreneurship’, we are working across underserved communities and schools in Nigeria to improve the livelihoods of youths through ICTs.

For youth in Africa to derive the best benefits from the opportunities inherent in MOOCs however, African governments must resist the temptation to shut down the Internet as they have repeatedly done in the past 2 years. Our Digital Rights in Africa Report 2016 documented 11 cases of Internet shutdowns in Africa in 2016. In 2017, there have been 7 cases of Internet shutdowns in Africa – In Cameroon, Ethiopia, Senegal, Morocco, Mali, South Sudan and Togo. The Internet shutdown in Togohappened on Tuesday, September 5, 2017, in response to political protests in the country. As demonstrated by the story of Nji Collins Gbah, the 17-year-old Google coding champion from Cameroon who might have missed the opportunity to enter the competition had the Internet shutdown of January 17, 2017, in Cameroon arrived a day earlier (January 16, the deadline for the competition), numerous opportunities for self-development for youth are lost through Internet disruptions. For Africa to reach its full potential, developmental tools like the Internet must be kept on and its use encouraged, particularly by young people.

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