Friday, 8th September 2023: Hundreds of youth drawn from under-served communities in Kenya are set to benefit from the LIFE Legacy Program, an initiative spearheaded by Paradigm Initiative, a pan-African non-governmental organisation.
This follows the launch of the program in Tana River and Nairobi counties. In Tana River, the program is being run by Amani Centre Community-Based Organisation (CBO), while in Nairobi, it is being implemented by Gonline Africa. Both organisations are PIN partners. The LIFE Legacy Program entails partnerships with community-based organisations and initiatives to replicate it in as many communities as possible across the continent.
The approach provides a sustainable, low-cost model that allows cost-sharing with like-minded organisations working towards closing the digital gap that exists among young people. Focusing on digitally excluded individuals who lack skills, confidence and opportunities, the 10-week program prioritises those with limited or no access to equipment and connectivity.
LIFE is an acronym that stands for LIFE Skills, ICTs, Financial Readiness and Entrepreneurship. The program targets young individuals from less privileged backgrounds in under-served communities who do not have the financial capacity to acquire relevant education and skills that can enable them to compete economically in the digital age.
The Program started in 2007 in a small cybercafé named Stadnet, nestled in the heart of Ajegunle in Lagos, Nigeria, with the aim of equipping young people with relevant digital skills and connecting them to opportunities in the digital economy. To date, the organisation has impacted the lives of more than 6,700 young individuals between the ages of 14 and 24 years.
Speaking during the launch of the Initiative at the Amani Centre CBO in Tana River, the organisation’s Senior Manager, Grants and Programs Strategy, Mr. Adeboye Adegoke, said: “The vision we have is that young people, no matter where they are born, should not be disadvantaged in the digital economy.”
On his part, Mr. John Kipsiwa, the Deputy County Commissioner, said the government was keen on supporting the youth and spurring the digital economy by establishing digital hubs.
Mr. John Green, the Co-Founder of Amani Centre CBO, said the program was timely as Tana River is one of the counties that has lagged behind in digital proficiency, and there exists a huge gap that requires to be closed.
Madam Wachu Telita, Assistant Director of Education, Tana Delta, noted that digital literacy is important as it increases awareness of privacy online, cybercrimes and fake news. “The beneficiaries of this program will be able to also contribute to the economic growth of the society,” she added.
During the launch of the program in Nairobi, Ms. Miriam Beatrice, the organisation’s Program Officer, in East Africa, urged the youth to make the best out of the opportunity, adding that it was a building block to their career trajectory.
Mr. Alphonce Odhiambo, Gonline Africa Founder, said time was ripe for the initiative, more so in informal settlements as there are numerous young individuals who require skills provided under the LIFE Legacy Program.
Paradigm Initiative has worked in communities across Nigeria since 2007 and across Africa since 2017, building experience, community trust, and an organisational culture that positions us as a leading social enterprise in ICT for Development and Digital Rights on the continent.
Across our regional offices in Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and beyond, we have impacted youth with improved livelihoods through our digital inclusion and digital rights programs. The organization’s programs include Life Skills. ICT. Financial Readiness. Entrepreneurship (LIFE) training program, Dufuna, a digital readiness workshop for girls, and life at school club program.
PIN has also built online platforms that educate and serve as safe spaces for reporting digital rights violations. These mediums, in the form of reports, short films, and educational online platforms, include Ayeta, Londa, and Ripoti.
The organisation is also the convener of the annual Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum, a platform where conversations on digital policy in Africa are shaped, policy directions debated, and partnerships forged for action.