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COMPUTER LITERACY PROJECT IN RURAL AFRICAN/NIGERIAN COMMUNITIES

WYEF
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WYEF NIGERIA
WYEF AUSTRAL:IA
COMPUTER LITERACY PROJECT
Disability Skills Development Scheme
Technology, Skills and Manpower Development
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WYEF YOUTH AMBASSADOR AWARD - VOLUNTEER
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 WYEF aims to develop the use of information and communication technologies – both new and old – to support education in developing countries.

 

Project Aim:

 

         To improve education in rural communities through establishing and equipping of computer education centres

 

         To create ICT jobs

 

         To build self-esteem  & integrity

 

         To use ICT to create wealth in disadvantaged communities.

 

         To provide ICT scholarship to members of local associations, churches, schools or communities who will in turn train members of their local associations, churches, schools or communities in various aspects of computer programming, engineering, maintenance, management and leadership.

 

         To secure the involvement of partners, including the private sector, civil society, global organizations, academic institutions and bilateral donors, drawing in their knowledge and expertise, technical and financial benevolence in order to facilitate computer education in rural communities.   

Project Mission: To empower the youth in rural communities with computer education which will include knowledge in computer programming and desktop publishing and technical skills in computer engineering – installation, assembly and repairs . Through providing education, job, technical, entrepreneurial and leadership skills to community members the project aims to reduce poverty, crime and illiteracy.

 

In addition, WYEF hope that IT skills will broaden the youths in rural communities’ career choices, integration into the urban/developed communities and enhance their communication skills and competitive advantage in the 21st Century

 

  Goals:

  • To establish Computer Training Centers in rural communities specializing in the use of ICT to support  education of youths and willing adults,  and the management of  affordable  ICTs with relevant local content and for intellectual development
  • To establish Internet centers via which a local church, school or community member/association could establish a computer link to another church, school and community member/association in the developed countries. These could bring so many benefits to both communities. Emails can be exchanged between pupils, and the comparisons of culture and environment would yield much educational enrichment

 

  • To train peer educators from churches, schools,  adequately equipped with relevant knowledge, skills and materials to deliver sound and qualitative information and computer education to the youths
  • To adopt a holistic approach that will cover range of issues on ICT, creating effective and sustainable uses for technology that are integrated into local society.
  • To train youths of rural communities in Video and VCD production skills using computer multimedia programs complemented by special micro-finance products to facilitate self-employment.

 

  • To establish business incubation service: ICT entrepreneurs for women and youths underpinned by micro-finance.

 

PROJECT PHASE 1.

 

The first phase of  the Computer literacy project is at Owerri , Imo State, Nigeria.

 

Imo State is the epicenter of academic excellence in South Eastern Nigeria with a population of 7 million people living in over 500 rural villages/communities. Children and youths between the ages 6 and 35 make up 60% of the population. Over 80% of this target group have acquired basic primary education in numeracy and literacy.

 

Computer literacy curriculum has not been introduced as an integral subject in the public school’s syllabus that has intellectually disadvantaged several young people. Only less than 0.2 % of the entire population of Imo State mainly those within the urban areas have knowledge about computer and its application.

 

As a State with high literacy and numeracy population, and in view to collaborating with the government to introduce computer education as an integral subject in its public schools, Imo State has been chosen as a springboard for WYEF’s computer literacy program in Nigeria and Africa.

 

NIGERIA

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa with over 150 Million people. 70% of Nigerians live in the rural communities. Nigeria plays a significant role as a beacon of leadership and innovation in Africa through technology advancement, rich natural endowment (5th largest exporter of petroleum in the world) and cultural heritage ( Over 250 different tribes and languages). Because of Nigeria’s strategic importance and influence in Africa, most pilot humanitarian projects of the United Nations and other international agencies in Africa are pioneered in Nigeria as case study – if successful, it is deemed to succeed in any other country in Africa.

Resources Available:

Five ICT Centres (each centre with a value of AUD $ 20,000) has been donated to WYEF thanks to the efforts of MCON in Owerri Imo State. Each Center comprises the following facilities:

  • one conference Room;
  • A large room that could be used to store extra computers
  • one office;
  • Building surrounded by a high fenced concrete wall fitted with a giant gate for security
  • two toilets;
  • One computer/internet training room with  25 -50 computer wooden desks and chairs. (20 centers  will contain 500 –1000 desks and chairs)
  • Electric installations
  • Ample ventilation windows secured with corrugated iron protectors.
  • Electric fans
  • One 16KVA Diesel Generator inclusive of Change over.

Volunteers Trained:

WYEF has trained 20 Volunteers  in various aspects of computer maintenance, repairs, installation, programming, computer graphics and designs and desktop publishing – Corel Draw, Microsoft Word, Excel, PhotoShop, and the use of other computer software packages. Including leadership and mentoring skills.

Trained volunteers will then take their computer skills into rural communities to empower and train local youth.

 

Computer Security, Installation, Maintenance & Repair

WYEF has set aside a seeded fund from WYEF’s Trustees to support security to Computer and to facilitate  computer installation, maintenance and repairs for the 1st year of project launch.

 

Training

In-kind donations, fundraising, charitable/philanthropic financial endowments and a nominal fee as contribution by trainees from schools, churches, organizations, communities or government will be used as contributions to support volunteer(s) trainer’s upkeep, professional services, provide literacy and numeracy print materials and for repairs and maintenance of computers and infrastructure.

 

Curriculum Development

A timetable and computer training curriculum has been developed to deliver sound and qualitative computer literacy education to the youths in target communities. Taking into consideration the needs of the target groups including age, literacy, culture, religion and socio-economics.

 

Project Monitoring, Evaluation and review

A project monitoring, evaluation and review module has been developed to report the overall effectiveness of the computer project (equipment and people) over time.

This will include reporting of the daily/periodic progress in training activities, conditions of infrastructure and computer, maintenance/repairs made, auditing, stock taking, evidencing gap to be improved upon, community repositioning and effects of computer training to literacy and numeracy, socio-economic impact, specific reports for key outcomes.

These reports will be forwarded to the funding agencies, sponsors and partners

 

Help/ Resources  required:

  • 500 Used Computers for project – Monitors, CPUs, Connecting Cables, Keyboard and mouse, Internet Connection Accessories, Modem,
    Each System  preloaded with: Windows and Office Software,  Norton Antivirus, Etc..

 

  • Used Photocopies, Printers, Projectors, Laptops, UPS, Scanners (optional)
  • Financial support for procurement of 500 units of Computers and to cover costs of shipment from donor’s warehouse to pilot project location in Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria.
  • Financial support to cover the  cost of internet connection to a project internet center.
  • Technical/Moral support by donors by visiting project location and being present at project launch.

 

Project Outcome:

WYEF will train 10,000 people from disadvantaged rural communities within 5 years of the ICT project launch. That is an average of 2000 people per year. Expected outcome is to improve the development, literacy and economic status of benefiting communities by over 300%.

 

This target is achievable.  The outcome of 20% of the beneficiaries of our preliminary ICT programs who were previously unemployed youths and are now working with ICT companies or in their own computer business centers. Each person are earning an average net income of about Two Hundred Thousand Naira – approx. (AUD $2000) per annum which is equivalent to an average net salary paid to a level 7 (University Graduate) officer working in a government department or ministry. And 333% higher than an average unskilled workers’ salary  of about Sixty Thousand Naira – approx.( AUD $600)  per annum.

 

Therefore, if after 5 years of WYEF’s ICT project launch, 10% of the 10,000 people benefiting from the WYEF ICT project are able to secure jobs within the ICT Sector the average income to the benefiting communities would be Two Hundred Million Naira – approx. (AUD $2,000,000.00) per annum.  That is, 333% higher income compared to AUD $600,000 per annum if they were unskilled.

 

This will stimulate economic growth within the benefiting communities, improve community social and infrastructure development and enable beneficiaries who maybe bread winners of their families to assist in their siblings’ welfare and education and in general improve literacy and reduce poverty and minimize crime.

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A section of Trainers & Children btw 5 - 13yrs during a refresher course on computer appreciation.

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A section of youths that received scholarship grants and educational materials organised by WYEF

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Africa's digital poster child
 
By Jonathan Fildes
Science and technology reporter, BBC News
 
 

Website: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7115218.stm

There is a race to connect the next billion people worldwide and one of the main arenas where it is being played out is Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa.

In the West African nation, home to more than 140m people, humanitarian efforts rub shoulders with commercial schemes to bridge the digital divide.

The Ministry of Education is currently evaluating schemes from Microsoft, Intel and the One Laptop per Child group to give the country's 30 million school-aged children access to computers.

Although no decision has been made about which, if any, it will buy into on a large scale, some schemes are already starting to move ahead.

"There is a commitment to roll out our project in 200 schools," said David Ibhawoh of Intel.

The chip manufacturer is promoting its Classmate PC (CMPC) in Nigeria to various organisations as well as government and has set up a pilot project at Jabi Secondary School on the outskirts of Abuja to show off the technology.

The project is the first in Africa and is part of Intel's World Ahead programme aimed at bringing technology to people around the world.

"When we started this program there was no infrastructure. The classroom did not have any desks and chairs," said Mr Ibhawoh, who helped set up the Jabi School trial.

Today, the situation couldn't be more different.

The school is in the process of an extensive building programme. The original school buildings are all now topped with gleaming aluminium roofs and the orderly classrooms pack the latest technology.

"The pilot project consists of 280 computers, 8 teacher laptops, digital content, Wimax for internet access, and a repository where we can view content offline," said Dennis Etsuke, technical manager at the school.

In addition, each computer lab is equipped with an expensive interactive whiteboard.

The renovation has been paid for by the government and Intel, with the chip firm covering the majority of the costs of the technology.

High achievers

At the cornerstone of the project is the CMPC.

"There are three basic differences with a standard laptop," said Dennis Etsuke, technical manager at the school. "It is smaller; it doesn't have a CD-Rom drive and it doesn't have a hard drive."

"All of the PCs connect to the teacher's laptop," he explained. "The teacher can then broadcast her lecture and the pupils can respond to that."

Lessons at the school are very orderly and structured. The teacher introduces a topic on the white board and pupils take notes and do exercise on their individual Windows-based PCs.

"The curriculum has not changed but it has changed the way the children learn - it has really got them interested," said Mrs Adewumi Abiola, one of the teachers at the school.

"The laptops were introduced to just one class initially and when we compared them with another class that did not have [the laptops] we saw a great gap in their performances.

The headmistress of the school, Mrs Esther Odekina agrees.

"My students have improved greatly - each one scores now above 60%," she said. "My teachers have also benefited - most of them now are computer literate, including me"

Washing machines

At the moment only the oldest pupils have access to the laptops, but the school hopes to start moving them between different classrooms to give access to all 750 students.

In addition, the local community is benefiting from the school's internet access.

"Parents come here also to browse the internet for free in the evening," said Mrs Odekina. "Education is for all so we allow them to use it."

Entrepreneurs are also setting up around the school, piggy-backing on the wireless signal that floods the area, according to Mr Ibhawoh.

"There is a new business model where people browse the internet whilst having their car washed," he said.

Initially, he said, there were problems with spammers using the network, so now the school takes the details of regular users and provides them with a username and password for a small fee.

The money provides an additional revenue stream for the school.

Connection cost

Although Jabi is clearly a success some people questions whether the programme can be scaled up across the country.

At the moment Jabi School acts as the poster child for the Intel scheme in Nigeria and has clearly had a lot of money spent on it by both government and Intel.

Its pristine buildings, well resourced classrooms and tidy pupils stand in stark contrast to other schools we saw.

Nigeria has more than 20 million primary school children and more than 6 million in secondary school.

At the moment, each CMPC currently costs between $300 and $400

Intel will donate a further 3,000 CMPCs and has said the price will come down for large orders. In addition it has said it will train 150,000 teachers in the country over the next five years.

However, a large scale roll-out of the scheme to every child still represents a potentially huge investment for a country where, according to the World Bank, the Gross National Income per person is $640.

In particular, all net-based projects in Nigeria face high connectivity costs.

The 256 kilobits per second (kbps) Wimax connection at Jabi School, paid for by the government, currently costs $900 a month on top of $1500 for equipment.

Although costs are projected to come down for Wimax and other systems, they still remain a huge barrier to any scheme hoping to digitally unite Nigeria.

Digital bridge

Some have also questioned Intel's motivation for pushing the CMPC in Nigeria and claim that the programme is no more than an attempt by the firm to saturate a market before its competitors.

Earlier this year, Nicholas Negroponte, the man behind the not-for profit One Laptop per Child (OLPC) group, accused Intel of selling the CMPC below cost to drive him out of markets.

Professor Negroponte said he believed that Intel was doing it because the OLPC machine used a processor designed by the chip-maker's main competitor, AMD.

But since the feud, the two groups have united, although there is still little evidence of it in on the ground in Nigeria.

Mr Ibhawoh does not deny that there is a commercial element to the programme and that the firm will make money from the scheme but, he said, it was primarily about social responsibility.

"Who decides to train 150,000 teachers in one country, who decides to design a digital curriculum for kids around a country, who pays for that?," he said.

"Our goal is to connect the next one billion."

"For us it's not about who gets the market share - it's about how many people we are able to empower, how many people are able to bridge the digital divide."