In 2002, as the WSIS process began and spread its message of an all inclusive Information Society to the ends of the earth, the need for embedding ICTs in local language and content arose.
With the advent of the 21st century came the proliferation of technology as more and more people got connected into cyberspace and began their virtual world journey. This, inspite of the survival challenge which presumes that people in some of the world’s less developed regions, would rather focus their energies on daily bread at the expense of their inclusion and representation in the emerging Information Society. In 2002, as the WSIS process began and spread its message of an all inclusive Information Society to the ends of the earth, the need for embedding ICTs in local language and content arose. This has led to a number of initiatives that Paradigm Initiative Nigeria has implemented and is currently working on over the last four years.
Paradigm Initiative Nigeria
Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN) is a youth-led and youth-focused organisation that has since 2002, worked in the field of ICTs. As a group interested in the role of young people in ICTs, PIN has focused actively on engaging in ICT policy processes both locally and internationally. This is to promote the involvement of Nigerian youths in policy making and formulation processes and ensure that youths contribute to the enactment of correct ICT laws in Nigeria.
One good way to learn is to look at what other people have done, understand what they worked, what challenges they faced and seek to replicate such laudable efforts. This has been done by conducting case studies on ICT projects and efforts being implemented elsewhere.
PIN has been actively involved in speaking to young Nigerians across secondary and tertiary institutions on ICTs and its role in their world (today and tomorrow). Setting up a number of ICT clubs in secondary schools towards the promotion of early engagement in ICT and the development of requisite skill sets has also been supported.
Working with other organisations and coalitions, PIN has been involved in ICT career development and counselling efforts to help guide youths who need to make critical decisions in their life. This, in some cases, has involved the set-up of businesses by students who incorporate proven business models to have their business flourish. Over the years, PIN has also been involved in the implementation of a number of strategic projects focused on practical solutions to ICT challenges facing young Nigerians all across the country with various portfolios.
An educative project for in-school adolescents
PIN uses this to introduce the students to the basic framework of a personal computer (hardware) its components and their functions. With a donation of a prototype by one of our mentors, Mr. Chris Uwaje. This project is used to further simplify hardware components while bringing in industry experts (young working professionals) to facilitate the learning sessions. The content for the project was developed locally with Seun Olajide as lead personnel.
The aim of using a young professional is to show that ICTs is not rocket science while also giving an opportunity for students to ask these professionals even beyond the scope of the projects. Subsequently, there are opportunities for these students to remain connected to PINs facilitators and a mentorship process developed thereby develops. So far, there are over five hundred participants at these sessions and there is hope to take the project to more rural settlements while improving content to be delivered in local languages.
National WSIS youth campaigns
Sponsored by the WSIS Youth Caucus and managed by PIN, the youth campaigns were run through a coalition of CSOs and several youth-focused organisations working all across the country. This was a follow-up to earlier e-Conferences that ran on a regional scale (Africa-wide).
The goal was to gauge awareness of the ongoing WSIS Phase
I process by Nigerian youths, spread all across the country. Arrangements have been made to create possible engagement channel for participants to make their contributions to the WSIS process which would be presented to Nigeria’s official delegation to
the WSIS process.
Using a bottom-up approach, it was hoped to identify issues Nigerian youths perceived as critical to the deployment of ICTs and its use both as a development and economic empowerment tool. Three physical meetings were held in Kano, Port-Harcourt and Lagos with over five hundred participants. Participants at the campaigns also filled questionnaires that were used to evaluate the impact of the campaigns and helped PIN to design better programmes. There was a second phase to the National Campaigns on rural settlements and surveys were undertook focusing to assess current ICT facilities available to them and to look at ways of improving access to ICTs. Delivery of content at the campaigns in both WSIS phases was done in local languages (Igbo and Hausa) at some of the locations.
In 2005, PIN got involved in a review process for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) after news agency reports showed that African countries were generally lagging behind in the attainment of set goals for 2015.
Then, a one day workshop was organised with selected youth participants from all regions of the country to discuss MDGs and possible strategies Nigeria can adopt to help in achieving these goals.
On May 27, 2006, second edition of Youth Agenda with discussions focused on ICT application in rural Nigeria was arranged. As part of ‘standing on the shoulders of others’ belief, resource has been provided for participants to conduct a case study on MSSRF, India and the possible creation of tele/knowledge centres in all states (36) and local governments (764) of the federation. The journey is not a short one and Nigeria may continue her sojourn to a digitally complaint society.
In accordance with five year strategic plan (2004-2009), this year, PIN is working on a number of cyber crime initiatives with which can be show cased Nigerian businesses (owned by youths) that are making positive use of ICTs to render service or create value-adding products that solve challenges in the society.
Advocacy efforts are also being made to review the draft IT and cyber crime bills before the National Assembly and make recommendations to the relevant committees/agencies before the bills are passed into law.
PIN is co-partnered with the NAN (www.cybrecrime.org.ng) working group on cyber crime initiatives. Current work is ongoing on a mentorship programme to create a platform for young Nigerians to meet, engage, interact and discuss with seasoned ICT industry experts on developing an ICT career and running own business. Through this medium, PIN may cause a ripple effect and help at least one young Nigerian achieve his/her own dreams.
This year, the actualisation of a strategy document by public or private pressure groups on Youth and ICT4D may be seen which will set clear objectives and create a road map for the development of a critical mass of young Nigerians using ICTs to aid growth and bring social change to their immediate environs in the emerging Nigeria. Stalls are set high and though pragmatic, PIN seeks to achieve all that it dreams.g
Localisation research centre (LRC) in Malaysia
A memorandum of understanding was signed between the Universiti of Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) at Kuching, and the Localisation Research Centre (LRC) at the University of Limerick, Ireland at Southeast Asia’s premier International Symposium on ICT for Rural Development in Kuching, Malaysia in April 2006.
The two organisations made agreement to work jointly on the establishment of a mirror site of the LRC’s Localisation Technology Laboratory and Showcase (LOTS), the holding of LRC