The Rockefeller Foundation has announced a grant of $500,000 to Gbenga Sesan’s Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN) for the expansion of PIN’s Ajegunle.org Project.
Since 2007, the project has worked from Ajegunle, an underserved community in Lagos State, to connect Nigerian youth with Information and Communications Technology (ICT) enabled opportunities. It employs a ‘train-the-trainer’ capacity building model that uses a positive peer pressure concept to transform Ajegunle as a model for intervention in other underserved communities across Nigeria.
The Rockefeller Foundation grant will enable PIN to design and launch an awareness campaign to inform high potential but disadvantaged Nigerian youth about online work and provide training to help these youth access online jobs.
Online work provides a low-barrier-to-entry opportunity for young jobseekers to earn an income, while building their skills and digital work experience. Through this support, PIN will also expand their successful training program beyond Ajegunle to cover other locations across Nigeria, beginning with the South-East and North-East regions.
“Unemployment is a major challenge in Nigeria. Each year, tens of thousands of students graduate from tertiary institutions but only 10% of them are gainfully employed two years after graduation. Disadvantaged communities account for a majority of these unemployed youth. The digital jobs campaign presents an opportunity for Nigerian youth to generate income and build their digital skills, while preparing themselves for future work in the digital economy,” said PIN Executive Director Gbenga Sesan.
The online work sector is estimated to grow to become a $5 billion global industry by 2018. The Nigerian government has identified the potential to create online employment at scale for the country’s youth and launched an initiative in May 2013 that resulted in an additional 10,000 Nigerians registering on online work platforms.
The partnership between Paradigm Initiative Nigeria and the Rockefeller Foundation will build on this momentum by developing an awareness raising campaign and tools that will help connect thousands of Nigerian youth to online work.
“Nigeria has the second highest number of online workers in sub-Saharan Africa, and the major international online work platforms see potential for significant growth in the country. A lack of awareness about online work has been identified as one of the most significant barriers to the growing of this opportunity. We anticipate a significant change in this with PIN’s undertaking to increase awareness and build skills for youth to connect to online work, and consequently earn an income to improve their lives,” said Mamadou Biteye, Managing Director, the Rockefeller Foundation Africa Regional Office.
This grant comes under the Foundation’s Digital Jobs Africa initiative which seeks to impact the lives of 1 million people in six countries in Africa by catalyzing sustainable Information and Communications Technology-enabled employment opportunities for African youth who would not otherwise have an opportunity for sustainable employment. Launched in 2013, Digital Jobs Africa is being carried out in six countries: Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, and South Africa.