ICTs + Youth = Socio-economic opportunities
Olatawura Ladipo-Ajayi, Lagos Community Manager
Lagos, 16 September 2015
Lagos, one of the richest cities in Nigeria, still has a poverty rate of 48 percent. Some of the city's challenges stem from a highly unequal wealth distribution, ineffective policies, and a lack of consideration for vulnerable groups. The government has attempted to tackle poverty in Lagos through many forms, including employment schemes, skills-acquisition programs, and free primary education. These different schemes have in their own way addressed poverty by creating options for those who otherwise had little or no choices. Yet, many have failed by lack of inclusion or inadequate consideration for the sustainability of projects. While the government continues to make poverty alleviation a priority, civil society organizations such as Paradigm Initiatives Nigeria (PIN) are taking a more targeted approach by focusing on especially poor areas of the city, such as Ajegunle.
PIN's Ajegunle L.I.F.E project (life skills, ICT, financial readiness, rntrepreneurship) focuses on offering opportunities out of poverty using information and communication technologies (ICTs): it connects the large youth population of the low-income community with wealth-creating opportunities. Started in 2007, the project is based on a train-the-trainer scheme, which ensures sustainability and community ownership. It is designed to train an average of 25 youth each month on business development skills through a PC community ownership scheme. This blog post highlights the success story of Famous, a participant turned staff member, at the British High Commission in Abuja after completing a program internship at the UK Deputy High Commission in Lagos.
PIN's success is in part due to its strategy and tenacity, as well as its strong partnerships. With increased visibility and cooperation from local and international civil society organizations, the government, and the private sector, initiatives such as PIN's Ajegunle L.I.F.E can have a wider reach and a larger impact in the fight against poverty. A critical approach to achieving the post-2015 development goals is this emphasis on collaborative effort and partnerships between multiple stakeholders across the globe.