On September 16th, 2021, Tech4Dev launched the #Digitalforall Challenge – a free digital skilling initiative and competition designed to drive engagement of young people in the digital economy across Nigeria with an aim to equip Nigerian youths with skills to enable equal access to technology-centric decent work and economic opportunities. It is a sub-program under the Microsoft’s Emerging Market Model Initiative, implemented in Nigeria by Tech4Dev.
The #DigitalforAll Challenge was categorized into basic and advanced level skills training delivered over a 4-month learning period, followed by a 1-month (state, regional and national) competition phase. Through the challenge, 17,000+ youth have successfully been upskilled. Two thousand four hundred ninety (2,490) participants moved on to the competition stage, with the States, Regional, and Grand finale level. Eighty-seven (87) participants moved on to the Regional Level, and 8 participants moved on to the grand finale.
The 8 participants who moved on to the grand finale were three Basic Level finalists and five advanced-level finalists. The Finalists were Nelson Didam, Ifeoluwa Odewale, Hassan Masharazu from the basic level, and Folaranmi Adeoye, Justin Nworie, Sanni Zainab, Stephanie Agbo, and Folaranmi Adeoye from the advanced level.
Speaking at the #Digitalforall Grand Finale, Joel Ogunsola, Founder/Director of Development at Tech4Dev, highlighted the objectives of EMMI through the campaign. He said,
“The objective of the Emerging Market model through the various programs under it, is to train 36,000 youth over one year through a blended learning approach: online and physical through skill training and youth centers across Nigeria. We are achieving these objectives through multi-year collaboration with Federal Government Ministry of Youth and Sport and state governments.”
Dr. Olufemi Adeluyi, Technical Assistant on Information Technology to the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Pantami, who gave the Keynote address, in his speech commended the work Tech4Dev does, saying,
“It is compulsory that we prepare for the future of work, and equipping youths with digital skills is one sure way to do that. So, I want to congratulate Tech4Dev, Microsoft, and everyone that has partnered with this worthy cause. I believe this would be a template for others going forward.”
The panel session on “The role of Digital Literacy in National youth empowerment” had Adaeze Sokan, Country Director Uk-Tech hub, Diran Adegoke, Program Coordinator, Young African Leadership Initiative (US Mission to Nigeria), Idongesit Udoh (pmp), Head Uk Govt. Digital Access Program (Foreign Commonwealth Development Office), and Shehu Ibrahim, General Manager ICT, Nasarawa State Government.
Olatomiwa Williams, Country Manager Microsoft Nigeria and Ghana, gave an address in her capacity as the head of the funding organization, Microsoft and she recognized the efforts of Tech4dev and participants of the challenge. She also praised Nigerian youths and reiterated that Microsoft was committed to partnerships that help empower people with digital skills, saying,
“We believe in the innovations that Nigerian youths create to impact our country and indeed the world, and that’s why digital skilling is important for us. We would continue to lead by example to deepen impact and development for all in markets where we work in by partnering with government, corporate organizations, educational institutions, non-profits, and everyone to ensure success.”
The grand finale event was brought to a close by the Co-founder/Executive Director of Tech4Dev who announced the winners of the #Digitalforall Challenge. Nelson Didam won the Basic Digital Skills Challenge, while Theresa Sunday, an Engineering student from the University of Lagos, emerged winner of the Advanced Digital Skills Challenge. Both winners went home with 1 million Naira, and 2.5 million Naira, respectively.
Tech4Dev is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating access to decent work, entrepreneurship opportunities, and platforms for Africans through digital skills empowerment and advocacy. Our vision is to equip Africans with digital and life skills that foster economic prosperity, financial freedom, and sustainable development.