The 11-country Research Team

TODA Meeting in Vancouver

This year’s TODA Institute researcher’s international conference has the theme, Alliance of Civilizations for Global Peace: Human Security, Regional Conflict, and Global Governance , and will end tomorrow in Vancouver, Canada. It has been an impressive series of meetings involving researchers from various countries an working on various teams. This year, there are five research themes working on Digital Bridges, Regional Cooperation, Food Security, Peace Journalism, and Development & Human Security — and I guess you have a fair idea of which team I belong to. 😉

TODA Meeting in Vancouver

Our research team happens to parade the most innocent (a great way of speaking of age and experience in positive terms) compared to the others who mostly have an interesting array of academic combination of prefixes and suffixes (the most popular is Prof.) with their names. But this doesn’t reduce the quality of work in any way, and it has nothing to do with the fact that two of the team members will begin work on their PhD research in the next few months. There are ten of us, and we come from 11 different countries — Israel, Finland, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, Sri Lanka, Phillipines, Macedonia, Pakistan, Nepal and Nigeria. The research, titled Building Bridges for Digital Opportunities: ICT and Youth Partnership for Human Development, will address various aspects of the relationship between ICTs and Human Development in the various countries or regions we represent.

TODA Meeting in Vancouver

The final joint session is on at the moment, and work still continues after now but later tonight, most of the researchers will attempt being funny and creative outside research findings through various presentations at the talent hunt. I have been listed for a presentation, and while the thought of what to do (some have asked me to sing but they sure don’t know what they’re asking for) doesn’t bother me so much, I look forward to the possibility of catching some interesting shots that can brigthen up my album which increasingly seems to be made up of pictures from seminars and landscapes viewed from airplanes alone!

TODA Meeting in Vancouver

For the research, which will cover a period of about one year, I will seek to answer the following questions for my own section of the team’s work, especially as it relates to Social Return on Investment in the Nigerian ICT space:

  • What is the exact relationship between ICT investments (1999 – 2005) and the national Human Development Index?
  • What is the economic cost of cybercrime (as an example of a “leak”) in ICT investment — and what can be done about it?
  • What role will young Nigerians play in the connection between Nigeria’s ICT4D Strategy and Human Development?

I will be glad to hear from those who may wish to share thoughts on these questions even as I continue to develop the research framework further. Gracias!

The Past Few Days

The Past few Days

The past few days, at least for me, hold a lot of aces and memories. I began the week with an opportunity-turned-sour involving a Presidential Youth Forum that was eventually turned into a circus of political psychopancy — and a show of shame of what unbriddled tongues and shemeless minds without an eye for the future can display. Morale of the story: I have decided to join forces with other progressive young Nigerians to rescue the National Youth Council from the destructive path its towing at the moment — wish us the best 😉 Tuesday and Wednesday was better spent at the UNESCO Dialogue of Civilizations and Abuja office of Junior Achievement of Nigeria.

With the last flight into Lagos on Wednesday, I was able to brace up for the hectic pace of Thursday which included the wonderful meeting of the Nigeria Internet Group on the relationship between Internet Service Providers and the Unified Licensing Regime as announced by the Nigerian Communications Commission (who were the sponsors of the event). Friday began with the announcement on British Airway’s cancelled morning flights out of Lagos, and towed that line all day long.

That didn’t prevent me from co-hosting the Civil Society Forum on ICT4D Strategic Plan and Internet Governance (where I spoke about the role of the Nigerian Civil Society actors within the ongoing global Internet Governance discussions). But the next stop was at Junior Achievement of Nigeria where I had a defining meeting with the Executive Director. I will say more about the outcomes of that meeting in the days to come, but the outcomes will form a core of my activities over the next few months. Then, the news: my flight to Vancouver had been changed to Friday night! That was 7 hours off the time I thought wasn’t there…

Somehow, I managed to survive the rush and arrived Heathrow airport at about 7am. Fortunately, I spotted the President of the Nigerian Joint Action Committee on ICT Awareness and Development (“Egbon Biyi”) at the Lagos airport so we spent some time discussing on arrival at Heathrow. After some time, left for his onward flight to New York and I got bored! I had started checking for Internet access as soon as we arrived a few hours of discussions, but was only able to get the usual wireless leak that only supports Yahoo! Messenger and Skype — while my need was more of eMail, news and online search. After a few minutes, I took a walk away from the spot I had spent quite some time at, in search of free or paid-up Internet access — and I did find, just that it started with what I thought was a coincidence.

This certain young man kept looking in my direction and if I were a lady, my walk style would have gone closer to that of a cat. After a while, I politely smiled back, but he wouldn’t stop looking, as if he was saying, “I know you now, bros, you no recognize me?” He was right… Oh, my God! Its getting more difficult to hide. A few days ago at the State House in Abuja, it was the Security Service guy who’d said, “I know you, I see you on TV, please keep up the good work and keep doing what we can’t do”. Then the night before I left Lagos, the airline staff smiled as I approached (and I haven’t flown BA for a while — partly protesting the ban on young Nigerians in respect of UK visas) and he said, “I know you… Funmi Iyanda and Patito’s Gang!” When does he have time to watch TV… and now its at Heathrow… Well, there are many good sides to it, you know. After my inability to get a card for my access, the young man (who’s on his way back home to Nigeria after completing his MSc, to work for an oil major) bought swiped his card for 24 hours of broadband access (does this still qualify as free like my Dubai encounters?) After I hooked up to T-Mobile, time flew past and it was suddenly time to board. I thought I had about 5 hours to myself, but it was like 5 minutes.

And either my friends believe it or not, I watched the first half of the Saturday encounter between Germany and Sweden (this had better be right) on my laptop, and even continued until the wireless access sneaked into the corners of the airport as I took my exit. You can ask Edward Popoola, he’ll confirm that 😉 I have been told that my new-found love for football would melt away after the World Cup finals, but lets wait and see. While on the queue, one of the the airline staff at the check-in counter asked me to join the other queue (yeah, right… he didn’t even know my name — just be patient) and it was only when I was asked to take my seat at the upper deck of the plane that I understood that what he did was to upgrade me to the Club Class 😉 Not bad for a tired young man who would love to blog at over 37,000 feet. As I write this, the lady and gentleman on this level have been doing what they know best — making me feel like a temporal king… you know what I mean. I have promised myself to donate some of the few hours to sleep since I’ll be going straight into a meeting when I arrive in Vancouver, so I won’t be tempted to power up this laptop noting that its already at 7% (time to shut down).

I should blog more over the next few days…

180 Degrees Training Opportunities…

180 Degrees

Following the May 1 announcement of training opportunities, please see modules below:

  1. Blogging:
    It has become a buzzword, and many people claim that they’re making lots of money through it! Could it be true? Well, it is true — but there are some things they have not told you: setting up a blog is like discovering the life you should have been living! A blog combines the power of online presence — that websites bring — with the ease of filling in a diary without the need for writing techie codes! And it also helps secure your real estate online, standing as a potential “cash cow” as it grows in reach and popularity. Plus, you can decide what you wish to do with your blog: its yours anyway. This training will take you from just being an admirer of blogs (and recently, leaving comments on other people’s blogs) to becoming an owner of your own blog. We will take you from how to set up your blog, choosing a name, deciding what/how to write, basic tips on increasing traffic to your website and …

  2. Making Money Online:
    You must have heard about the increasingly popular seminars that try to teach you how to make money online. And odds are that you’ve been to one, but left with a “funny” taste in your mouth — and a few naira off your account. Why are you not making money, while the seminar organizers are getting richer? Well, maybe its because you’ve been taught the wrong things — or haven’t been empowered with the tools that make the difference between “lesson notes” and “practical application”. Enters the “180 Degrees Making Money Online” training! How exactly can you make money online without getting involved in fraud? How can you ensure that each day, a few keeps waiting for you in your online account? Would you love to learn from those who combine experience with the passion to empower you?

  3. Navigating International Meetings:
    At some point in your career, you would love to look back and see how you moved from Personal Development to Global Participation. But a lot comes with global participation — one of which is participation in international meetings. This need to understand how to “navigate” international meetings is a popular need. From identifying which meetings exist, deciding which is relevant, finalizing travel plans, actual participation and post-meeting issues, there are people who can share thoughts with you and help you understand what to do. While there’s no formula to the process, the facilitator(s) for this training have grown from where you are today to the point where they now navigate international meetings with so much ease. If you wish to join this flight that will take you closer to global participation.

  4. Social Enterprise Development:
    Gone are the days when people stayed away from the social issues they so much wanted to address because of the fear of ending up as a pauper. You can now combine the value of solving social issues with the comfort of earning revenue… and as it is said, “there’s nothing like doing what you love to do — especially solving a societal problem — and being paid for it”. If you’ve heard the phrase, “social entrepreneurs” and there’s a click in your mind, or you are interested in understanding how to move your non-profit ideas into the realm of sustainability, then this training is for you. Combining proven business concepts with passionate social delivery, this training will explain to you how tomorrow’s most important people will be social entrepreneurs — people who solve problems, and are paid for it!

Please send an eMail to to confirm your interest. Training holds on June 17th 2006 at the Generis Solutions Training Room, 5th Floor, L’Monarch Plaza, Opebi, Ikeja, Lagos, 01 794 16 02.

Awka Again

Awka Again!

I visited Awka (capital city of politically popular Anambra state) for the first time about 3 years ago on the invitation of a group of final year students of different departments who felt they needed tips on how to survive out there and possibly position themselves through ICT opportunities. It was such an interesting experience for me, and I looked forward to my next invitation from that side of the country. After many date searching efforts, the opportunity came again. This time from AfriHUB, the campus-located telecenter that empowers youth (in the schools where they presently operate) with world-class ICT training. They had developed a new program called CaTalk and I was to be the Keynote Speaker for their May edition.

I arrived Enugu at about 10:30am on Thursday and was met by Rex Abitogun (the young man that manages the CaTalk series and a friend). We made our way to Awka (which doesn’t have its own airport at the moment) through the AfriHUB center located at the Enugu campus of the University of Nigeria and arrived after a little over an hour. What I saw when I arrived was attention-grabbing: over 200 young people waiting in the packed room, taking up all the available spaces, and obviously ready to soak in as much knowledge as was available. After a noteworthy presentation by Izu (one of the presenters who works with a bank in Awka), it was my turn to offer what I had for the students.

Just before I started my presentation, I was reminded that the audience was only half of the people who indicated their interest in participating and that the other half would be at the same venue on Friday, to get their own share. It was fun, challenging and inspiring to share thoughts with the group on what I called, Ripples from Enugu. Beginning with telling my personal story of transition from final year into the next few years, I brought them face to face with the reality of the need to prepare ahead of jumping out of school as a graduate. The need for a personal SWOT analysis was discussed — and I must say that one of the participants has sent me what (s)he considers her Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, which we are now discussing.

The need to be honest enough to identify weaknesses and threats would help such individual to identify training needs — or simply areas that need attention. I also brought to the fore, the need to see competition in its real terms. Not forgetting to talk about the difference between a career and a job, I used the triangle to explain the different levels that we all occupy over time as we move from school to desired destinations. The high point of both sessions came when I announced that, “if many undergraduates continue the way they carm, pass and forget (CPF), they will dead on delivery on graduation.” We looked at the statistics ofour environment and came to a conclusion that anyone who would desire a better future would have to plan ahead. When the audience laughed at one of the students because he was considered generally unserious, I found a great time to explain to them that some of the people they mocked today would be the link to their most important signature before the cheque clears tomorrow — it would only be a matter of time and utilised opportunities.

I concluded by teaching them the formula, Future Value = Present Value + Investments (raised to the power n), where n represents level of perception of future direction and rate of opportunity utilisation; and also challenged them to draw up a plan that will take them in the direction of their dreams. The questions revealed the hidden questions that many of them never really considered the need to ask (mostly because of peer pressure) but I must confess that I left the two sessions happy — that at least one (1) person would make some of the decisions I made in my own final year in school, some of which I have found extremely helpful as I continue to build a career of my dreams. Will I be in Awka again? I think so…