Technology for Social Change and Development Initiative (Tech4Dev), an NGO, says it has partnered with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) on digital literacy training in Northern Nigeria.
Diwura Oladepo, Executive Director at Tech4Dev, told a virtual conference on Tuesday in Lagos that the initiative was designed to directly impact on 1,000 beneficiaries over a 12-week period in 10 rural clusters across 10 states in Northern Nigeria.
She said 50 per cent of the beneficiaries would be vulnerable women and girls (aged 8 -18, 45-65), 30 per cent of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), while 20 per cent would come from other vulnerable groups.
Oladepo said the partnership was part of efforts to empower vulnerable groups in the rural clusters of Northern Nigeria with digital skillset required for the future of work and advanced learnings in the 21st century.
The Executive Director said this would help in closing the digital skills gap needed in the digital economy.
“It has become pertinent, especially on the path of the new normal, to focus on digital literacy allowing vulnerable populations to leverage on technology for commerce, education and communication.
“Digital literacy is also essential to improve their socio-economic recovery, pandemic resilience and build a more prosperous future,” Oladepo said.
According to her, the programme is meant to introduce learners in underserved communities and vulnerable groups in Northern Nigeria to digital literacy.
“This is with the intent of equipping them with the basic digital knowledge required to succeed in the 21st-century and the emerging new normal from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Basic Digital Literacy for Rural Clusters in Northern Nigeria programme aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals one, four and 10 (No Poverty, Quality Education and Reduced Inequalities),” she said.
She said that investing in digital literacy for vulnerable people living in rural clusters in Northern Nigeria would reduce the poverty index by increasing employability of the beneficiaries.
Mr Idongesit Udoh, Head, UK Government’s Digital Access Programme and Country Adviser, said Nigeria’s National Broadband Plan, Economic Sustainability Plan and Nigeria’s Digital Economy Strategy have identified digital skills as key economic prosperity for Nigerians.
He said that with COVID-19, digital literacy has become a must-have, adding that the UK Government was once again demonstrating timely support not only for Nigeria’s inclusive economic development but building effective COVID-19-related resilience.
Udoh said the project was already helping to close the digital divide, enabling inclusive digital access and building communities’ resilience to current and future pandemics.
“According to the International Finance Corporation (IFC), about 230 million jobs in Sub-Saharan Africa will require digital skills by 2030.
“This figure is due to increase with the use of technology and automation of jobs,” he said.
Our correspondent reports that Technology for Social Change and Development Initiative (Tech4Dev), a non-profit organisation founded in 2016 to empower African communities with digital skills that will bridge the gap of unskilled labour needed for the future of work.