Nigeria’s Cybersafe Foundation in partnership with the UK aid graduated its first batch of 2,400 females trained in digital skills on Tuesday. The foundation and its supporters said they will equip another 4,000 females in the second cohort of the DigiGirls Initiative to close the country’s digital gender gap as part of its International Women’s Day (IWD) commemoration.
The project which will be funded through the UK Government’s Digital Access Programme has seen applications come in from different age ranges across the states. Women between the age 15-40 are expected to enroll by registering from which 4,000 will be selected for the training.
“The new announcement from our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, yesterday to launch a £20 million global partnership with businesses to improve girls’ access to education and employment in developing countries like Nigeria is a strong example of the UK’s undoubted commitment to improving girls’ access to education overall so they can #breakthebias and step into fields like the digital sector,” Catriona Laing, British High Commissioner to Nigeria, said.
DigiGirls Initiative as a digital skill empowerment program has three key pillars which include training, mentorship and internship. The foundation is on a mission to drive positive livelihood outcomes for themselves and their families via the project. The women were grouped into peer groups, they had state hangouts, success advisors, as well as CV writing and LinkedIn master classes.
Leveraging Whatsapp as a platform, it serves as the first contact among the beneficiaries. Each peer learning group comprises 120 DigiGirls from different states. For the state hangouts, they were done to build connections and relationships within their community, while the success advisors monitor the learning progress of the beneficiaries entrusted to them, and follow them up.
The training received was across the top 10 in-demand soft skills in a post-Covid world according to the World Economic Forum (WEF).
“The just concluded element of DigiGirls Initiative was a huge success as it inspired beneficiaries to create study groups with women in their state, meeting up to help each other with assignments and practice what they have been taught. Although not originally intended, the state hangouts had a direct impact on the academic performance of our beneficiaries,” Confidence Staveley, Founder, CyberSafe Foundation said.
On how to get jobs after this training, Christiana Orji, one of the graduates who was trained on Graphic design told BusinessDay that she has jobs waiting for her to deliver. “I have people that have given me flyers and magazine covers to design for them, and I will earn a living for myself. Also, I post my works on social media to get more clients , that way, more money is made.”
Victoria Edoziem, a mother of four, who is now a trained UI/UX designer has started training other people who get to pay her stipends for the knowledge they get. Her daughter of 10 years also participated indirectly in the training and she is able to fully design a website on her own.
“Anytime I come back from classes to go through my notes, she will go through them, recopy them and practice on my computer, even without my notice. This has been happening for quite some time until I saw her work in one of my documents and I was really amazed.”
The foundation noted that while the first cohort training was successfully carried out, there were a few setbacks encountered in terms of infrastructure as a number of the beneficiaries did not own a laptop during the course of the training and found it difficult to gain access to one.
In the next cohort of training, Cybersafe foundation will include gamification, disability inclusion, and scaling for more community impact.