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Northern Nigeria captured for new digital literacy initiative

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Technology for Social Change and Development Initiative (Tech4Dev), and the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), have signed a resilience training agreement to carry out basic digital literacy for rural clusters in the north.

This is in efforts to empower vulnerable groups in rural clusters in Northern Nigeria with the digital skills required for the future of work and advanced learning for the 21st century.

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The programme is meant to introduce learners in underserved communities and vulnerable groups in Northern Nigeria to digital literacy, 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 1, 4 & 10 (No Poverty, Quality Education & Reduced Inequalities). Investing in digital literacy for vulnerable people living in rural clusters in Northern Nigeria allows for the reduction in the poverty index by increasing employability of the beneficiaries and closing the digital skills gap of needed in the digital economy.

The initiative is designed to directly impact 1,000 beneficiaries, over a 12-week period in 10 rural clusters, across 10 states in Northern Nigeria.

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The initiative targets 50 per cent of the beneficiaries to be vulnerable women and girls (aged 8-18; 45-65), 30 per cent being Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and 20 per cent individuals of other vulnerable groups.

Speaking at a virtual media briefing, Executive Director at Tech4Dev, Diwura Oladepo, reiterated the need to increase the number of digital literate vulnerable populations and people living in underserved communities in Northern Nigeria.

She said: “it has become pertinent, especially on the path of the new normal, to focus on digital literacy allowing vulnerable populations to leverage technology for commerce, education, communication, improve their socio-economic recovery, pandemic resilience, and build a more prosperous future.”

Similarly, Head of UK Government’s Digital Access Programme and Country Adviser, Idongesit Udoh, said: “Nigeria’s National Broadband Plan, Nigeria’s Economic Sustainability Plan as well as Nigeria’s Digital Economy Strategy have identified digital skills as key to economic prosperity for all Nigerians.

Udoh said with COVID-19, digital literacy has become a must-have, “hence, the UK government is once again demonstrating timely support not only for Nigeria’s inclusive economic development but also in building effective COVID-19-related resilience. This project is already helping to close the digital divide, enable inclusive digital access and build communities’ resilience to current and future pandemics.”

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