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L.I.F.E.

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

Echoes From LIFE: Kayode Aina

By | L.I.F.E.

KAYODE AINA

After my secondary school education, I was idle as I had nothing to do. Once in awhile, I assisted my father with his carpentry work. But it was clear I had no interest in it

A friend of mine, Faruq Abdulrahman (2015D class), who attended the AjegunleLIFE training, told me about it. I realised how he had changed, he was not the same person after his training. He followed his passion which is fashion designing. I wanted to be like him, so I convinced my father to buy me the application form.Kayode Aina (1)

Before the program, I would visit my neighbour to learn a few things about computer but he wouldn’t have much time for me. Attending the AjegunleLIFE program has been a life-changing event in my life. I have always wanted to be a graphic designer and now I can design anything and I have also learnt how to write a business plan.

The ICT class gave me the necessary skills for my dream work and the entrepreneurship class taught me how to start a business and write a business plan. The life skill class helped me improve my communication skill and I’ve being able to work on my attitude.

Presently, I am seeking a graphic design/printing house where I can learn more about graphic designing.

Echoes From LIFE: Ekong Vivian

By | L.I.F.E.

I worked as a fashion designer before my AjegunleLIFE training. I was also preparing to take the JAMB UTME. My sister, Nancy Ekong (2016A class) told me about the program and all the benefits it presented.

I used the computer before my training, but not really for productive activities, while I was in secondary school; it used to be a game console for me as I had not realized other uses of the computer. I am naturally a reserved individual and also a shy person, but this training cracked my shell and I was able to develop good communications and interrelation skills with other students.

The LIFE skills classes and entrepreneurship development classes have improved my mindset with a positivist and business oriented one; as I now see life from a brighter perspective that I can make the best of my life irrespective of the community I live in, I realized that I could go out or in fact make it within the community no matter what.Ekonj Vivian (3)

Now that I have concluded my training, I am going to continue my fashion designing job as I await my tertiary entrance examination. I also want to revisit snail rearing business as I earlier opted out of due to my unserious attitude. Now, I want to take it more seriously and integrate my new entrepreneurial and financial readiness skills into it and see where it goes. Even when I gain admission, I still want to have my chains of businesses. I am really inspired to be the best I can, thank you Paradigm Initiative!!

Echoes From LIFE: Ademeso Josiah

By | L.I.F.E.

I concluded my secondary school education in 2014 after which I had been at home; I started teaching at a primary school nearby until I was capable of starting a coaching centre of my own. Bolarinwa Adams, a friend of mine and also an alumnus (2016B class) told me about the #LIFE program and I decided to try it out.

I had computer appreciation skills before the program; as I normally visited cybercafés to surf the net, watch videos and play online games but I have learnt new skills over this past ten (10) weeks. I learnt about Microsoft Office packages, Graphics designing (Adobe Photoshop), Web Designing (HTML, CSS, and JAVA). All these were not on my to-do or to-learn list before the program but I am glad I am now more proficient in computer usage.

The ICT aspect of the training improved and made me more technologically aware, the entrepreneurship classes have helped me develop a business mindset and possibilities of making it within the business environment. The LIFE skills classes helped a lot in my interpersonal relations and expression.

Ademeso Josiah (2)

I had an exciting experience recently when I had the opportunity to teach one of my friends who studied computer science in school how to design a proper website, as he said he only knew the theoretical aspect but needed to learn the practical aspect. I am so happy to have this new knowledge flowing through me; I almost feel I can do anything.

I plan to volunteer in the technical department of my church after the training while I wait to gain admission into a higher institution of learning. I will also like to work with an IT firm so that I can have more professional experience. I look forward to volunteering in training younger ones on computer usage and adaptability. Thanks to Paradigm Initiative for adding more value to my life.

Echoes From LIFE: Ebie Ezekiel Adegheji

By | L.I.F.E.

 

I am fascinated with anything that has to do with Technology/the Internet, but I never had the opportunity to explore because there was no access to a computer due to affordability. Ajegunle LIFE program has brought about development in my community and a lot of youth including myself have benefitted from the digital inclusion initiative.

Though I had a little background on the use of a computer this cannot be compared to the exposure I had during my training at the AjegunleLIFE Centre. I didn’t want to attend the training because I believed there was nothing new to learn, but my parent made me understand that there is always more to everything and also hearing a family friend’s testimony motivated me to aspire for more.EBIE EZEKIEL (3)

The Training Centre is a conducive learning environment; with the stat of the art infrastructures and equipment, dedicated facilitators, and highly intuitive students. We were encouraged to carry out research works, which has been very helpful till date.

Being connected has really made a difference in my life because it has given me the opportunity to reach out to an audience beyond my immediate community. The skill I have acquired has really helped me in many ways, most especially the Life skills- “Self-awareness and Time Management”. Learning about these has really been an added advantage in my day to day activities.

I currently work as a “Computer Operator” at Ajegunle Diagnostic Centre, managing the laboratory’s databaseEBIE EZEKIEL (2) and sorting out (printing, typing, editing) of scan and test results. I am also improving on my ICT skill by learning Programming related courses online and also building myself to becoming a “Media Strategist/Publicist”.

The AjegunLIFE program has really instilled in me, a self and continuous development mindset. The training really inspired me a lot and I want to especially appreciate Mr Odunsi Oluwaseyi Gabreal and Mr Taiwo Olalekan for their relentless efforts in making me a better person. Thank you Paradigm Initiative for connecting us to the world that seemed beyond.

 

  • EBIE EZEKIEL ADEGHEJI – 2016D CLASS

 

Echoes From LIFE: Victoria Ajaka

By | L.I.F.E.

 

I am currently a student at the Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education. I have employed most of the skills I picked up at the #AjegunleLIFE centre. The research skills have really helped me in delivering quality assignments and general class performance.

I am generally considered tech savvy by my peers and lecturers because of my swift reaction to academic works that have to do with the use of technology, like; email, word processing packages, Excel, etc.Victoria Ajaka (3)

I have trained couple of persons on how to use the computer for different purposes, I taught my aunt to use Microsoft word, excel and powerpoint, I also taught my friends who wrote the computer based UTME how to use the computer.

Thanks to Paradigm Initiative for making me stand out among my peers.

 

Victoria Ajaka (6)Victoria Ajaka 2016C

Echoes From LIFE: Jackson Ubong Kingsley

By | L.I.F.E.

I came to the AjegunleLIFE center as a street boy and I wasn’t expecting much from myself or life. I didn’t want to attend because I thought it was going to be too strict for me to handle. It is a totally different story today; I can say that I got my sense of direction from the training.

I never had any serious ambiton or the intention of going to school, but I am now a final year student at the Olabisi Onabanjo University where I am studying laboratory technology.

I never had access to a computer before the training, the program gave me the opportunity. The program changed my life.

I encourage the current beneficiaries to strive beyond self or societal constraints limiting them from maximising their full potentials. They should try to create milestones and stop at nothing to pass them. Thank you to Paradigm Initiative for shaping my destiny.

  • Jackson Ubong Kingsley, 2014B AjegunleLIFE

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Echoes From LIFE: Oghmeochuko Paul

By | L.I.F.E.

Oghmeochuko Paul  (4)

My name is Oghmeochuko Paul, I was a student in the 2013B class at the Ajegunle LIFE center. Before attending the training program, I worked with Frededo Prints for 3 years. I heard about the LIFE training from my younger sister who attended the training before me. During her training days, she came home daily with news of the activities at the center. More important is the fact that I noticed that she was beginning to change – the improvements I noticed were remarkable and I craved them too, so I decided to apply for the program.

Oghmeochuko Paul  (1)

The ICT classes were very practical. I found the Graphics Design classes very interesting. For a fact, it was the foundation of my choice of course (Fine Art) at Yaba College of Technology, Lagos. This skill has also provided me with financial opportunities – as I get paid for the designs I do for people. The Life Skills classes helped build my communication skills and confidence. My entrepreneurship skills are now top notch, coupled with all I later learnt from Wave Academy after my program. I am now a Pastry Chef at The WheatBaker, Lagos. I intend combining my Graphic Designs and Pastry Skills in a business after school.

Oghmeochuko Paul  (5)

 

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