Nigeriaâ€™s non-profit institutions play a major role as they connect citizens with diverse services that they would otherwise have had no access to. Many of these NGOs work in rural areas or with underserved groups and could benefit a lot by employing the use of ICT tools, but they are yet to have their appropriate introduction beyond the meetings they have with consultants who provide them with one-off ICT services. Building on Microsoftâ€™s work around giving much-needed support to NGOs across the world, hosting a Microsoft NGO Connection Day in Nigeria will help fill a huge gap that will improve organizational efficiency while also helping many non-profits save cost. The Academy will offer an intensive capacity-building program to further enhance skills in ICT, allow NGO staff learn more about Microsoftâ€™s opportunities for non-profits, provide technical demonstrations of Microsoft products, give NGOs the opportunity to network with relevant institutions and also host an ICT Clinic that will allow participants get answers to everyday ICT questions.
In partnership with Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN) and the Centre for Information Technology and Systems (University of Lagos), National Planning Commission, Federal Ministry of Youth & Development, and Lagos State Government, Microsoft will host a 2-day program at the Computer Centre of the Centre for Information Technology and Systems, University of Lagos on December 17 and 18, 2009. The program will train participants on the use of ICT tools to improve their operations â€“ and they will also get information about Microsoftâ€™s many initiatives specifically designed for the third sector. On December 19, PIN will host an ICT Clinic that will provide on-the-spot answers to technology-related questions while also discussing the ongoing research on â€œDigital Lifestyle of Connected Nigeriansâ€. You are therefore invited to confirm your participation by writing to info[at]pinigeria.org or ugo.nwosu[at]ajegunle.orgby December 4, 2009.
Please note that all participants will be responsible for their travel and lodging but training, materials (including a copy of the Microsoft Digital LiteracyCurriculum CD), coffee break and lunch will be provided by Microsoft â€“ at no cost to participants â€“ on December 17 and 18. We are also glad to announce that an event partner has announced the gift of free domain names and hosting (for 1 year) for up to 100 NGOs. This offer comes with an optional website design offer which will be discussed during the ICT Clinic on Saturday, December 19.
I was quick to embrace the announcement that a Commonwealth Internet Governance Forum would be established for many reasons – the possible opportunity to network with other young ICT enthusiasts around the world and to bring the IGF discussions a little closer to local relevance. You could then imagine how excited I was when I got word from the secretariat that I had been selected to join other CIGF Fellows at the Internet Governance Forum at Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt. With seventeen Fellows (supported by the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) from across the world, the Sharm discussions and follow-up activities will be worthy of dedicated input – and I am sure this will be of help to my work around cybercrime issues.
The CIGF hosted a joint session for fellows and other stakeholders on the 16th of November, the second day of the IGF, with discussions featuring updates from various regions that have remained engaged with the IGF process. From the presentations and feedback from participants, it was obvious that the benefits of the global discussions on Internet Governance can best translate into visible local impact if the issues are well understood and contextualized. The idea of having Commonwealth member countries exchange ideas would also promote, in my own view, some form of good competition towards best practice efforts.
A follow-up CIGF session held on the same day, with discussions highlighting the promotion of regional and national IG groups; sharing of good practices (e.g. regulation workshops, awards, etc); engaging parliamentarians (and their administrative staff); educating policy makers; engaging youth; fighting cybercrime (prevention and regulation); among others. Alongside the CIGF sessions, other IGF discussions on access, critical resources, security and other issues revealed the power in multistakeholder partnerships and bold action. The IGF presented an opportunity for the announcement of new initiatives and partnerships, and some of the facts made known at the various discussions show the huge opportunities that exists for various stakeholders.
From informal discussions with some of the CIGF Fellows, it is obvious that many hope to take to their respective countries, lessons learnt from the countries that have invested heavily in the necessary process of local consultations before the large global events that have so many workshops you could spend an entre day trying to decide which of the clashing (but excellent) sessions you wish to join. Leaving Sharm, I look forward to further discussions with other CIGF Fellows and to the work we can do together as actors in the Internet Governance space. I hope that my interest in, and work on, cybercrime issues (please see PIN/Microsoft Nigeria’s work on this at http://www.pinigeria.org/isspin) will add value to the process.
‘Echoes From Ajegunle: Stories of transformed lives‘ is the first in a series of eBook chapters telling the stories of the transformed lives of participants of Paradigm Initiative Nigeria‘s Ajegunle.org project. Please see http://www.pinigeria.org for more information about PIN’s prjects.