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UNESCO: Empowering Nigerian Youths On MobileApp Development



In this report, KUNLE OLASANMI looks at the effort of the United Nations Educational and Scentific Organisation (UNESCO) in training Nigerian youths on MobileApp development for self reliance.

In continuation of the United Nations Educational and Scentific Organisation’s YouthMobile Initiative created in 2014, in collaboration with the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), 418 youths have been empowered on how to develop mobile applications.

Another 360 are currently undergoing training on the mobileapp initiative. According to the organisers,  the target is to train 600 youths for the second phase of the programme.  418 youths have already graduated from the orogramme

Earlier in the year at the launch of the programme in Abuja, the Regional Director Office Abuja, Yao Ydo reiterated UNESCO’s commitment, “to contribute towards the building of inclusive knowledge societies, by enhancing Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) skills and open solutions to empower youth, to develop mobile applications that resolve identified local issues of sustainable development.”

In his remarks, FCT Minister, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello, commended UNESCO for the intervention towards the training. He charged the recipients of the training to be serious, saying “for those of you who are in the first batch of this training, you are lucky because you are in good hands. You are going to be trained on a combination of activities done over a number of years in many countries.

“Obviously the experience of UNESCO with each training programme is going to be imparted to you, and of course, the latest technology in the area.”

The UNESCO Youth mobile programme has been instrumental to transforming the lives and careers of many of its beneficiaries by helping them create new directions in their career paths and ways of lives.

An example would be Babatunde Rhoda that participated in the training as a fresh graduate and instead of joining the pool of unemployed graduates in Nigeria. Rhoda has been able to use knowledge acquired to start generating income for herself.

She has picked up private projects as a web and front-end developer and worked with various teams to deliver projects to clients. She was one of the participants of the YouthConnekt Africa Conference that was supported by UNESCO in Kigali, Rwanda.

Like Rhoda, Oluwarotimi Akinbobola, has been able to combine his knowledge of Human Resources with programming knowledge gained during the YouthMobile training to increasing deliverables to Nigerian incentives for risk sharing and Agricultural lending (NIRSAL) during his service year.

This has earned him a lot of recognition and exposed him to two projects that relates to web development. He was also one of the trainers during the just concluded Africa Code Week. He recently volunteered to train Young Nigerians on Web Programming less than a year after the completion of the YouthMobile training in Abuja.

Other interesting and motivating testimonies have come from Precious, a Computer Science graduate, who as a result of the outdated curriculum did not learn to code during his undergraduate studies. He has continued to build on the knowledge acquired during the YouthMobile training, that employ object oriented languages rather than older languages taught while in School. He has been able to work as a team member on a number of projects.

An inspiring story of a young Nigerian, Sadiq, determined to serve his country upon completion of the YouthMobile training enlisted in the Nigerian Air Force, and has been giving awesome feedbacks to his trainers while also growing on an adaptive learning curve.

According to Sadiq, his superiors in the Force have been impressed with his level of understanding of the languages of the web. This puts him on the path for rapid development and career growth.

Gabriel Ezenwankwo, a young graduate who recently completed his youth service programme before participating in the YouthMobile training, showed exceptional level of progress upon completion that his tutor recommended him for internship with Jumia- Africa’s largest e-commerce platform while still in training. He has since concluded his internship and has moved to work as software Engineer with Nester Global Solutions services.

Another Participant, Salihu Umar who started a project on developing a hospital management platform in his home state of Nassarawa upon completion of the YouthMobile programme is another commendable impact story.

He, like Precious and many other students of Computer Sciences from Nigerian Institutions that were not exposed to learn modern languages and have been making exceptional impact since then their youth mobile experience.

In addition, the YouthMobile project in Nigeria has witnessed other impact stories from other beneficiaries like Joel and Hamza Jirah, who have joined the 2018 batch as trainers and also represented their home country at the Youth Konnect Africa Conference, in Kigali, Rwanda. They did not just learn to be programmers, but are currently training the new set of programmers. Their results have been enviable as they are role models to participants on the success and effectiveness of the scheme.

This list will not be completed without mentioning; Owoleye Kemi, who was an alumni of the 2017 batch of YouthMobile project of the Federal Capital Territory, and has also devoted a huge part of herself to being a full-stack developer.

She recently published a game for kids to help build their spelling and vocabulary, which is accessible on the Google Play Store with this link. She has also been a source of motivation to her peers, who have shown significant interest in wanting to be like her in creating interactive platforms.