By Muhammad Aminu
Experts have advised women and young girls, particularly in northern Nigeria to make judicious use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to better their lots and change society for the better.
The experts gave the advice at a roundtable discussion on the Challenges of Seeding and Nurturing Creativity and Innovation Among Young Women Organised by the Center for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) in Kano.
Aliyu Aliyu, an Independent Consultant, decried that socioeconomic and cultural barriers as well as inadequate role models to emulate are stifling women and young girls from actualising their full potentials in Nigeria.
Aliyu contended that women and girls are creative and problem solvers and that all they need are inspiration and mentorship to leverage digital technology to unleash their potential for their success and societal development.
“Young women need to use their time in a way that will better their lives, use social media in an effective and rewarding way, set their priorities and know how to achieve them, he added.
According to Dr Sana Muaz of the Department of Software Engineering, Bayero University, Kano, there are challenges for young women but with passion and zeal to excel, they can create a niche for themselves in society.
She advised girls to always understand a business idea well before venturing into it so that they can not just start a business but can build a sustainable brand in business against all odds.
She called on the participants to always remember their important position as women that other girls would look up to as role models.
In her contribution, Malama Aisha Bako, Chief Executive Officer, Onyx Investment Advisory Limited, challenged the participants to penetrate the ICT sector to make their contribution to society instead of wasting their resources on fruitless activities on social media.
“Platforms like TikTok and Instagram are paying huge amounts of money to those that know how to use them well,” she added.
The Chairman of the discussion, Prof. Asabe Mohammed while commended CITAD for the Initiative called on the participants to make the best use of the “unique opportunity” to improve their lives and society.
Earlier, CITAD’s head of Digital Creativity and Innovation for Girls (DICIG), Kamaluddeen Umar, said the programme is aimed at empowering girls to have access to digital skills in order to address the gender digital divide in Northern Nigeria.
He said: “The aim is to provide digital skills training for 200 girls (100 per year), to produce 80 digital entrepreneurs (40 per year) and create 160 new digital jobs for girls (80 per year).
“Selected participants were: girls between the ages of 18-30 who have a minimum secondary school education and are from Bauchi, Gombe and Kano States in addition to having an interest in building and running their business.”
According to Umar, the participants will undergo five phases of training basic, advanced, business ideation, business development support services market transition which some participants will be selected on the merit of their performance and business idea for awards.