By Adeyemi Adepetun
CYBERSAFE Foundation in partnership with the United Kingdom (UK) government, which trained 2,400 girls and women across Nigeria in digital skills through the DigiGirls Digital Empowerment Program, has produced the first graduating cohort of women and girls who are expected to be in high demand globally.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony of the cohorts held in Lagos, the founder, Cybersafe Foundation, Confidence Staveley said the DigiGirls Project was undoubtedly a success and she was certain that the employable digital skills will drive positive livelihood outcomes for themselves and their families.
According to her, with 2000+ beneficiaries resident in all the states across Nigeria and the FCT, the purpose-built female focused program was able to achieve resounding success owing to a handful of strategic elements.
“We believe that we have just churned out the next generation of female tech gurus who will go ahead to not only make a living for themselves but also make Nigeria and the world at large proud,” Staveley said.
Speaking further, she explained that the beneficiaries have been equipped with basic digital skills like Digital Marketing, E-Commerce, Data Analytics, Graphic Design, Cyber security, top 10 in-demand soft skills, CV writing and LinkedIn master class among other skills that would enable them have access to gainful employment within and outside Nigeria.
She also revealed that there were a few setbacks encountered during the course of the program as quite a number of participants did not own a laptop during the course of the trainings and found it difficult to gain access to one.
“In Spite of the challenges posed, we are fully confident of the effectiveness of the training and quality of ladies graduating from the program.
In DigiGirls 2.0, we promise improvements in Gamification, Disability Inclusion and scaling for more community impact,” she concluded.
On her part, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing expressed her delight at the initiative stating that the project will be expanded to directly benefit additional 4,000 women and reach a further 10,000 women through the trainer approach.
She further noted that the UK government believes the programs will help in addressing digital inequality in Nigeria, which currently holds a 15 per cent gender gap against women.
Speaking at a post event interview, the UK government, British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, said young girls must be encouraged to have interest in STEM, and other strategic areas of life.
Laing said women in Nigeria and globally still face huge challenges and denied their rightful place in politics, governance, business, arts and others.
“The problem number one is women not having enough role models in senior positions, particularly in politics, Sadly, we saw in the constitution amendment, some very good proposals to include women in some strategic positions in politics being rejected by men. Until we break this barrier and enable women to take leadership positions in politics, there won’t be enough role models for girls to aspire and see that they too can break barriers.
“UK government is supporting women in politics, which is one strand of our work and the DigiGirls we are doing today (yesterday) is another form of support. It is UK Aid backed and the Prime Minister today, launched International Women’s Day programme for Africa and other developing countries. It is a £20 million investment to partner with business to give young girls the skills they need so that they can take up leadership role in business, politics, climate change and the rest,” Laing stated.