Report of the Pubic Sector Capacity Building Programme
A DYNAMIC PARTNERSHIP
It started by thinking of adding value to the Employability Programme that Microsoft and its Nigerian partners had implemented in the last two years. Great work was being done in providing youth with skills that make them employable, and quite a number of them had gotten employment as a result or have set up their organizations. But this was only capable of reaching a tiny percentage of Nigeria’s over 60 million unemployed youth. To be able to make the greater impact, government itself has to learn what others are doing and see how it can help to replicate and expand the reach of these programmes. This was how the Public Sector Capacity Building for Youth Development Officers was born to provide training to this crop of trainers of youths on ICT-based entrepreneurship. They would go back to their training centres and mount various entrepreneurship training programmes for youth across the country, thus complementing what Microsoft partners have already been doing. The idea got the best of a dynamic partnership with Microsoft, the Federal Ministry of Youth Development, the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) and the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), with each bringing something unique that assured the success of the programmes. The Ministry in addition to selecting the participants supported their stay for the training with Microsoft funding the training. While DBI provided training facilities, CITAD facilitated the programme.
The training was one of the several partnership initiatives currently being run by Microsoft. Another is the Partners in Learning under the Unlimited Potential Programme which aims to transform education, foster local innovation and create jobs and opportunities. There is also the Youth Employability Programme which Microsoft has supported through a number of NGOs including CITAD, which have trained thousands of youths in ICT and life and employability skills over the last three years in the country.
A HOPE WAS RAISED
At the opening session of the programme, held on 4th May, 2010, Dr. Jummai Umar-Ajibola explained the objectives of the programme which was to enhance the capacity of the participants in delivering cutting-edge entrepreneurship training that would with transform Nigerian resourceful youths into the successful entrepreneurs while both Prof. Raymond Akule, the President of the DBI and Y. Z. Ya’u of CITAD spoke on the training methodology and content of the programme respectively. By the time the representative of the Minister, Mrs. Rabi Jimeta, Director Education and Youth Development spoke, it was clear that the seed of hope had been sown for something great to come of out of the unique experience. Drawing participants from all the 36 states (plus FCT) across the country, in addition to heads of the Federal Ministry of Youth Development centres and the staff of the departments for education and youth development of the ministry, the over 100 participants ensured that the impact of the programme was going to be felt across all parts of the country.
AN EXCITING PACKAGE AND FACILITATION
The training content was carefully part up to achieve the objectives of the programme. It combined four complementary modules, Entrepreneurial skills kits (that was delivered in a participatory manner), deepening of ICT skills among the participants (so that they could be able to appreciate the various skill sets that are needed in the economy and society today), a detailed examination of various types of small scale ICT businesses along with their requirements, support tools for youth entrepreneurs, including mentoring and incubator schemes as well as ICTs for small scale enterprises and training methodology to upscale their skills as trainers in running efficient training programmes. The participatory and experiential learning approach adopted by CITAD enabled not only great enthusiasm by the participants but also effective realization of the goal of the programme. With the excellent training facilities of the DBI, in the end as the Master of Ceremony of the closing ceremony affirmed, “Here was a great experience for all the participants”.
The curriculum focuses on ICT entrepreneurship, ICT businesses, setting and running of small scale enterprises, finance and procurement, sales and marketing, e-Mentoring, and ICT for small scale enterprises among others.
High ranking instructors were drawn from CITAD and they include Y. Z. Ya’u, Executive Director of CITAD and Secetrary General of ITAN, Mr. Rima Shawulu, an IT entrepreneur, Ahmed A. Yakasai, Enigneer Kamal Umar, Umar Farouq Uthman, a beneficiairy of DFID supported youth mentorship programme, and Isyaku Garba.
Y. Z. Ya’u introduced the class first to the prospects of ICT-based enterprises in Nigeria. He enumerated the various factors accelerating the demands of ICT goods and services in the country which could only be met by getting people to establish ICT-based enterprises.
Rima Shawulu facilitated the module on ICT-based businesses, taking the participants through various types of small scale IT business. In doing this, he also identified the requirements and the processes for setting up these businesses.
The module on Small Scale entrepreneurship was facilitated by Y. Z. Ya’u, taking the participants in a participatory manner through topics such as developing business idea, translating this idea into a business through developing a business plan, determination of business set up needs, sources of support, managing the business, communication and financial management, etc.
The module on ICTs for small scale business focused on how young entrepreneurs could use ICTs in setting up and running their enterprises, using for financial management, administration, communication, marketing and business promotion. This was taken by Isyaku Garba.
Engineer Kamal Umar and Umar Farouq Uthman took the participants through various IT skills such as advanced internet uses, digital editing, virtual office space, etc so as to deepen the appreciation of the participants of the various skill sets needed for the new IT-based businesses.
Trainees also had opportunity to peruse the functions and workings of business and ICT regulatory agencies such as SMEDAN, NITDA, NCC and CPN to enable them know the specific requirements for setting up small scale enterprises in the sector.
Explaining the motivation for the programme, Dr. Jummai Umar-Ajibola, Citizenship Manager, Microsoft Anglophone West Africa said, “Nigerian youths have the potential to perform at optimum capacity but for a number of factors which include lack of proficiency. With the right skills that this capacity training will afford participants, we are confident that they would be able to effectively deploy work tools that will enhance their performance.” She enjoined participants to make the best use of the opportunity.
RAISING THE CURTAINS
The 2-week programme was rounded up with a colourful closing ceremony on the 13th May, 2010, at which the Minister of Youth Development, Senator Akilabi Olasunkanmi, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Ms. Ann Ene Ita distribution certificates to the participants. The Minister applauded the role Microsoft was playing in helping to address youth unemployment in the country and thanked it for the support it gave for the Public Sector capacity building programme which the ministry was a gracious beneficiary.
TAKING OVER AND TAKING ACTION
Following the training, the Minister said that the ministry has become more resolved and committed about its decision to embrace a digital philosophy in addressing youth problems in the country. Consequent upon this, he announced that the ministry would be re-tooling and equipping its zonal training centres to provide entrepreneurial training for youth with special emphasis on ICTs. It will also be launching an e-mentoring scheme to provide the trained youths with guidance and counseling on setting up and running their businesses. The Ministry has also given indication that it would replicate the training in all the six zones of the country to further expand the availability of trainers to enable it reach large number of youth in its youth entrepreneurship training programmes.
Buoyed by the discussions over e-mentoring scheme during the training, CITAD itself has just concluded plan to launch an e-mentoring scheme to support it youth entrepreneurship training programmes. Participants were also not left behind in making immediate plan for the use of the knowledge and skills they had acquired. Ms Helen Teghtegh, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Beneu State insisted on CITAD providing her an immediate mentor to put her through setting up a website development business, to which Rima Shawulu, one of the facilitators graciously volunteered to do. Atim E. Etim from Akwa Ibom State left the venue straight to purchase her laptop which she thinks would now become her daily companion.
SKY IN NO LIMIT
With technology and the appropriate skills and support, the sky is no longer a barrier to what people can do in transforming their lives and their communities towards greater prosperity. This was demonstrated by the partnership around Microsoft and CITAD. The training has unleashing a torrent of creativity and released the potentialities of the participants in taking the destiny of the nation and their own in their hands to promote entrepreneurship thereby reducing the problem of unemployment in the country.
I discovered unending entrepreneurship opportunities that are awaiting anyone with ICT skill: website development, designing software, consultancy services, opening business centre, ICT accessory shops, ICT café, repairs shops, to mention the least. Your skills, a laptop, and the world is your!
-Helen Teghtegh, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Beneu State
I have learnt how to open cyber café, set up and run a small scale business and connecting with international business to leverage other business opportunity. I have learnt how to trainer others through the model on trainer IT trainers.
-Mustapha Ibrahim Yakasai, Directorate of Youth Development, Kano
The workshop was indeed educative, informative as well as entertaining. It really enhanced our capacity in the use of ICT tools which would have tremendous impact on the vast majority of youths nationwide.
-Adamu Sa’ad, YDO, Nassarawa State
I wish to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude to you for your wonderful and educative lectures. May you go from strength to strength, amen.
-Ajayi Tunde. Ministry pf Youth, Osun State
I learnt how to form and run IT-based business as empowerment to youths. The faculty were excellent and the materials super.
-Sani Abdullahi , Ministry of Youth Development , Zamfara State
I learnt how to set up a cybercafé as a young entrepreneur, initial steps, what I need to succeed. I also learnt how to browse the internet which I did not know before and most of all, as a staff of the Ministry of Youth Development I learned how to prepare salary voucher successfully and easily.
-Atim Ekeng Etim, Ministry of Youth Development, Akwa Ibom