Reporting by Ayodeji Jeremiah
|Juliet Ehimuan Chiazor, Google Country Manager Nigeria and Vanessa Morris|
|Mayowa Oshindero, Segun Aboderin, Vanessa Mbaramah, Tele Aina and Vanessa Morris|
|Bunmi Banjo, Head of Google Africa and Mrs. Moni Udoh, |
Director of ICT. Ministry of Communication
|Titi Akinsanmi, Policy and Govt Relations Mgr Google and |
Taiwo Kola Ogunlade, Communication Mgr. West Africa, Google
On April 12, 2016, Google Nigeria announced an initiative that will provide free digital skills training for one million youths (between ages 18 and 35) within a one year period. The programme was designed to address the issue of unemployment especially amongst young people and provide opportunities for them to succeed in today's digital economy.
Google convened a media briefing in Lagos recently to announce that it had achieved the one million milestone albeit in 10 months. At the event witnessed by partners, the media, participants and Google executives, Google Country Manager for Nigeria, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor in her welcome address said young people accounted for 60% of unemployed people on the continent; "it's very important to empower young people with the right digital skills for them to create opportunities for themselves and take advantage of the digital economy.”
Titi Akinsanmi, Google Government and Policy Relations Manager moderated the panel discussion that included Mrs. Moni Udoh (representative of the Ministry of Communications), Mr. Smart Akande (from the office of the Special Assistant on the SDGs to the Vice-President) and Mr. Tayo Olosunde (from Mind The Gap, one of the major training partners on the initiative).
Feedback from participants centered mainly on the realisation that most now knew what they wanted to do career wise; they could now be more productive online and they can use the present resources they have more efficiently.
One of the main goals of the MDGs (now replaced by the SDGs) is addressing poverty within the population. With the average age of an African being 19.5 years, the bulk of those that will be affected by poverty will be the youths. With this realisation and the fact that these young people still have their future ahead of them, empowering and educating these sub set of the population (which the Goodle Digital Skills Training provides) is crucial in addressing economic and political challenges on the continent. Bunmi Banjo, Google Brand Lead for Sub-Saharan Africa said “Having one million digitally skilled young people in Africa is good for everyone. If young people have the right skills, they will build businesses, create jobs and boost economic growth across the continent.”
Google is extending its committment by providing offline kits that don't need data to access the training, roll out the training using indigeneous languages, and go outside of their area of operations to reach local communities they ordinarily won't reach.