Youth Agenda 2006: ICTs for Rural Development

Youth Agenda 2006

Youth Agenda is an annual event of Paradigm Initiative Nigeria. This year, working in partnership with Lagos Digital Village and the Nigerian Youth ICT4D Network, Youth Agenda will discuss holistic approach in the use of ICTs for rural development. Working with local youth leaders, Youth Agenda 2006 will consider the effective model of Village Resource/Knowledge Centres that can grow into Digital Villages and also serve the purpose of meeting Millennium Development Goals for their local community. Having been inspired by the MSSRF Knowledge Centres in India (along with the Mission 2007 project), we will discuss possible ICT-enabled projects for rural community volunteers. Youth Agenda 2006 has the theme, “ICTs for Rural Development (ICT4RD)” and it is sponsored by Heinrich Boll Foundation.

With over 40 young people from Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Lagos, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, and Taraba (15) states of Nigeria, the 2006 edition will be a different and exciting experience while knowledge and action will remain the center of attraction. Built on earlier research outputs, new and tested concepts will be discussed — and the event will feature Speed Geek sessions, Technical Training on Open Source and Mobile Solutions for Rural Projects, RoadMap for Nigeria on Telecenters, 1-Year Strategic Planning Session, and a case discussion on the MSSRF Knowledge Centres in India (along with the Mission 2007 project).

For more information, please visit the Youth Agenda 2006 page at www.lagosdigitalvillage.org.ng/youthagenda.php.

On Mentorship, 3rd Term and 180 Degrees…

Mentorship Roundtable at HBF

On Mentorship…
From 10:30am yesterday — until about 4pm — twenty young people had the opportunity of experiencing the first in the series of LDV’s Mentorship Roundtables. Supported by Heinrich Boll Foundation, the selected applicants had the chance of listening to the diverse experiences of those who’ve been there and done that within the ICT industry. One of the mentors came in from the UK, one is based in Nigeria and the third arrived from Kenya that same morning. Now, talk about willingness to reproduce their success stories in others! From yesterday’s roundtable, the process will move online. An online platform will soon be announced, which will bring thousands of Nigerians face to face on the same issue of mentorship within the ICT sector (first, and expanding to other sectors later). Watch Out…


On 3rd Term…
By now, you must have heard the phrase, “third term,” if you’ve been following political stories from Nigeria — or have anything at all to do with Nigeria. The agenda was aborted over the last two days at both levels of the National Assembly. But does that mean that those who think they own Nigeria have given up on their evil imaginations? I doubt it… But guess what, the will of the Nigerian people can be done, come 2007 (and beyond) — and I say that because if anyone had said that the 3rd term agenda would not be muscled through, he would have been advised to go learn more about Nigerian political history. Now that we have successfully declared that Nigerians are interested in their own future and are willing to take that same future up by themselves, the onus of the sustainability of democratic growth depends on you and I. When the call is made, register ahead for the 2007 elections (at all levels); and when its time to vote, choose the person who represents the ideals you desire the most as long as that would move us in the direction of a New Nigeria! Let no one deceive you that the election has already been concluded, they said the same about the 3rd term agenda and many people were already asking how it would be when OBJ comes again! If those of us who are really concerned about the future of Nigeria stand by our principles and vote wisely, we can deliver this nation from the future it does not deserve! By the way, I am hearing rumours that a technocrat (a professor of Political Economics and Governance) who has shown exemplary leadership in both public and private sectors may soon join the presidential race in 2007 — that would be interesting! Watch this space…


On 180 Degrees…
Following the successful hosting of the first edition of 180 Degrees on May 1 2006, a lot has been happening. We’ll soon announce where and how you can get access to the materials (event VCD/DVD, T-shirts and more), and training programs will kick off on the 3rd of June. Please visit www.generissolutions.com/may1/opportunities.php to register. And also note that the next edition of 180 Degrees holds on the 10th of June, while an executive session will follow on the 17th of June. More details will be provided shortly, but feel free to write to contactus@generissolutions.com if you have early-bird questions. And did I tell you that for the Nigerian Diaspora in the UK (and others), 180 Degrees will come your way sometime before the end of the year (maybe October)?

Live Your Dreams!

Live your dreams!

It’s a few minutes past 9pm in the United Arab Emirates, but my watch (and laptop time) still reflect the regular GMT + 1 mode — for obvious reasons. I have gone upstairs to spend a few hours in room 227 of the Dubai International Hotel but I’m staying downstairs after dinner to do two things — enjoy the view, and get work done. In a few hours, I will be ready to make my presentation on the role of young people (and the present challenges) in social enterprise development. My mind races off to appreciate the scenery through this section of the airport an comes back to the fact that I’m enjoying what a friend has just described as workation — the meeting point between work and vacation. Hinestly, there is no better feeling than watching your life move in the direction of your dreams…

There are three of us (all Nigerians, but different organisations and cities) on our way to Sri Lanka and the 24-hour stop afforded us the opportunity to get a couple of things done — rest (much deserved after hours of flying and meetings), discussion (and you can be sure that Nigeria was hot topic), and more. During our discussions, Lawrence talked about someone who’d been bugging him about getting a job, and after he asked her to send her CV, he discvered she was 41! Then we discussed why a 41-year old should be thinking of looking for a job (by the way, any job)! You can be sure that I also discussed the 180 Degrees concept, and we now have an invitation to bring the experience to Jos!

We shared our different stories with each other and I discovered that even though we live and work in different cities, one thin line runs through what we all shared — we love what we do, and we even get paid for IT! While discussing over breakfast, I got a new eMail message that may see me getting involved with a TV/Radio platform for Information Society issues in Nigeria… and through it all I wonder what makes a difference between enduring what you do and enjoying what you do — and even getting paid for it. I am wondering if any of the following strike a chord with you:

  • If you are not willing to make sacrifices (or take risks), you will sure not get far;
  • If your relationship with your employer sees you as a beneficiary of monthly cheques, you must understand the word, miserable. How about being seen as one who really adds value and is partly rewarded on an agreed date with a cheque — and a sincere appreciation of the solutions you truly bring on-board;
  • If you work with an organisation whose vision does not rhyme with your personal vision, you are in the wrong place (and that explains why you always wonder why your watch is slow on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays);
  • If you don’t even know what your vision is, you need a vacation and a retreat (and don’t return to work until you at least have an idea of where you want to go in life;
  • If you are so bothered about immediate gain and will take just any offer because of that, you are endangering your future!

    There are many more things one could say, but I suspect that many people are asking questions at this time: “how do I get started?” The answer was discussed at the last edition of 180 Degrees and you can actually get some of the resources by writing to contactus@generissolutions.com. But in all, the beginning of the journey is getting dissatisfied with your present state. If you’re unhappy with your present level, congratulations! You now need to convert that emotion into passionate pursuit of meaning… (to be continued)

Rwanda’s Quest for ICT Prowess!

I arrived Rwanda on Wednesday morning, and just before leaving Lagos, the first thoughts I had about travelling this way was not unconnected to seeing what the country really looks like without seeing it through the lens of Hotel Rwanda. I’m here for the ICT Africa Investment Summit (until Friday, when I proceed to the GKP meeting in Sri Lanka where Youth and Social Entrepreneurship will take center stage again).

I travelled through Nairobi and suffered eMail withdrawal symptoms while in Nairobi, but little did I know that Rwanda was waiting for me to enjoy Wi-Fi. As soon as I lifted the lid of my laptop and pushed the regular buttons, I was greeted by the wireless network detected kind words. đŸ˜‰ I could get work done at the airport, and I’m presently at Hotel Intercontinental, where the same service is being extended. From informal discussions and more, it is obvious that Rwanda is serious about this ICT for Development business! Outside getting work done for Lagos Digital Village (LDV), I am also doing some consulting work for the Youth Caucus — which has youth from Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda.

The next few days are quite packed — travelling (Rwanda and Sri Lanka), hosting the Mentorship Roundtable for LDV, announcing new blog offers, hosting Youth Agenda 2006 and preparing for LDV’s second year anniversary!