| June 3, 2021

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On the 20th of May, Tech4Dev, in alliance with the Olu Kosoko Foundation (OK Foundation), declared the Badagry Digital Center open at 40th Birthday Ceremony of Prince Olu Kosoko of Iworo Kingdom, Badagry. This partnership was birthed due to the alarming rate of low involvement of Nigerian youths in the acquisition of digital skills.

Speaking on this, Blessing Ashi, the Programs Lead at Tech4Dev representing Diwura Oladepo, the Co-Founder & Executive Director of Tech4Dev, said, “The use of Technology as a tool for development is advancing, and today the world we live in is mostly shaped by digital interactions. This is why both developed and developing countries must embrace digital literacy. However, in Nigeria, there is research that shows a rapid increase in out-of-school children. The figure recently rose from 10.5 million to 13.2 million out-of-school children in the last two years. This is alarming, without mentioning the school students who are presently in school but don’t have access to digital education. Even more alarming is, it is estimated that 46% of Nigeria’s population are aged 15 and below.”

The initiative birthed by this partnership is called Olu Kosoko Digital Education, and Academy program (OKDEA). OKDEA proposes to improve the employability of the youths, potential for career advancement, increased productivity and performance, enhance analytical reasoning and critical thinking skills, wider knowledge base and give a greater sense of perspective. The initiative is set to increase talent and skill retention in grassroot communities, create room for new skills to address local problems in these communities, facilitate urban development, and also attract foreign and local investors and business to the communities.

The program will equip 528 individuals between the ages of 16-50 annually for a 2-year period in Badagry, Lagos State. OKDEA aligns with the sustainable development goals 1, 4 & 10 (No Poverty, Quality Education & Reduced Inequalities respectively).

By investing in digital literacy for OKDEA, this program will contribute to reducing the poverty index by increasing the employability of beneficiaries and closing the gap of access to digital skills needed in the digital economy. Speaking on the OKDEA partnership and why it is important to Tech4Dev, Blessing said, “At Tech4Dev, we believe in the efficacy of digital skill literacy as a tool for youth empowerment and development and as an organization, we use digital skills to create opportunities for a vulnerable group of people in society: women, girls, persons with disabilities, and every other vulnerable group."

Driven by the clarity of purpose and impact, this collaboration focuses on facilitating digital training and providing support to drive this change. This support would include, a digital academy to train youths on computer literacy, digital workshops, and webinar sessions, and summits. The Digital academy aims to train and empower 528 individuals between the ages of 16 to 50 years at Iworo Badagry in the first year. Each Cohort would will consist of 2 groups of 44 beneficiaries who will be trained over an 8-week period. There would also be a weekly online digital talk series, and digital competitions and contests (Online and Physical) with Monthly Recognition of Digital Champions in the Community.

Excited about the launching of the Digital Centers, The Prince of Iworo Kingdom Badagry said “At Olu Kosoko, we are very intentional. Everything is strategic. Education, empowerment, environment, and entrepreneurship are our focus. We believe with these areas; we can make a change.” In attendance was the Oniworo of Iworo Kingdom, HRM Oba Oladele Kosoko, the Olori, other members of the Iworo kingdom, stakeholders from other organizations and members of the media.

“For me, I believe collaboration is the new currency of our future,” Prince Olu Kosoko said as he brought the event to a close. The Digital center was officially declared open by HRM Oba Oladele Kosoko in the presence of other special guests.