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Deprecated: Assigning the return value of new by reference is deprecated in /home/wteconli/public_html/nfsblog/wp-includes/theme.php on line 576 The Networking for Success Project: A W.TEC project, teaching Nigerian women to use Web 2.0 tools and other ICTs effectively to develop and advance their work.
A good booK I like to refer to says better is the end of a thing than its beginning. So, I’d start this by saying congratulations to everyone who has been involved in the NFS project since inception till today (last day). Also, kudos to W.TEC who are facilitating this platform bringing us all together.
Meanwhile, I’ve kept thinking about the subject matter for this week and read various posts by us all. Can I ask a question: What would you do if you get to achieve greatness and fulfill your dreams but its only widely recognised after your death (pls see a brief on Rosalind Franklin for an example).
As I thought over this and various issues, one thread in my mind says our biggest challenges to ICTs and life in general lies within us. Can we surmount the seemingly big obstacles on our way? Can we view our dreams/goals as possible and attainable by us and the larger community?
This is one challenge we must resolve in our minds. Why do we do what we do?
Onto another thread, its true Nigeria has made a lot of progress over the years with regards to ICTs. However, I find too much pessimitic views shared time and time again. Yes, Nigeria as a country should be further down the road of development than she is today and true, time and time again, we’ve not resolved quite a number of matters but fortune favours the brave. The issue before us today is not whether Nigeria should be this or that rather, can we see the opportunities available in the challenges that we face as a society, people and individuals? Can we proffer solutions to them?
Dr. Joseph Adelegan is doing such. He’s resolving issues in a 3rd world country using ICTs and the skills he has acquired over the years. People, I made a choice long ago. I belong to the “company” of men & women who will change their world for good.
People, all we’ve learnt over the past couple of days, weeks & months as well as the relationships/connections we have made will amount to gross underutilisation if we fail to build upon them and ensure their use from now and always in our earthly sojourn.
In closing, can I do a pre-announcement. Sunday July 27 is the birthday of our good friend and brother, ‘Gbenga Sesan. Can we send him cards, gifts, messages et al online and offline wishing him the very best!!!
Hmm, where do i start this from? Perhaps, I should begin with an apology since my assignment with this project as mentor was meant to begin on Sunday July 20, 2008.
However, several factors have combined to mean I’m just doing this today. So, lets begin!
Since we’re dealing with Progress & Challenges as per using ICTs in Nigeria, i think my current status fits. You see, I don’t have 24/7 Internet Access hence I have periods of offline sabbaticals where I do nothing online whatsoever.
Anyway, since the NFS project began, I’ve come over to the blog to read posts from participants and mentors who share of their diverse experience with ICTs.
Let me use myself as an example. I remember my first use of the PC back in Ife. I had always seen pcs around but didnt have one of my own then came time to write my BSc project and I had to put to further practice some of the things I’d learnt just a couple of months during another ASUU-induced break in 1999.
Suffice to say, it began a relationship that markedly changed my professional inclination and opened new vistas to me in my desire to change the world.
Today, since 2001, I’ve spent 90% of my professional experience working on what I’d call social ICTs which has given me an opportunity to do mostly things I feel very strongly about.
Personally, I’ve made significant progress using ICTs to proffer solutions. One example of this is the ability to work and communicate with people all over irrespective of what one is physically.
Within the last two hours, I’ve sent and received certain documents that I’d need to use tomorrow and although this might sound trivial, its not. Have you ever had to get something done perhaps, a research topic with a deadline; submit a registration and poor Internet connection meant you didn’t get to do so within accepted time frame. what about receiving an email or sending one with an attachment that seems to be taking eternity to download/upload.
The truth is ICTs give us a tremendous platform to do much more than we ever dreamed possible. Yes, its possible to misuse or rather fail to rightly use the resources we have.
Agreed, access can be better and surely, this can affect our pockets in more friendly ways too but, even what we have today, how do we use it? What are we doing online habitually that is adding value to us as individuals and enhancing our ability to add to our local & global society in generally.
Can we do a quick rating of how much time we spend online per day, week or month and outline what we do online? What percentage of our activities in cyberspace is spent doing something positive that benefits someone external to us?
Latest figures released by NCC in June 2008 show Nigeria has almost 50million subscribers from a base of less than 500,000 back in 2001 that has brought big drops in set-up and maintenance costs for us as subscribers. Yet, there are other success stories of fellow Nigerians who are engaging and using ICTs to meet needs in their environment.
This in my opinion, shows huge openings and opportunities for us as individuals and a people to leverage on ICTs and contribute solutions which show our words in action rather than words, ideas and desires we express waiting for someone to act upon them.
Can I implore everyone reading this from anywhere in the world, you have something good our world needs to see and we can only see it when we each release that within us.
Meanwhile, I’m also an avid football lover and it was with great sadness I was reading of the con-agent story on the BBC website earlier last week. The gist is young boys are being tricked into paying for ability to access opportunities to train and sign up with major european clubs. Unfortunately, the persons promising all this to the young people have absolutely no genuine link and only seek to profit from the youngsters.
Why have I mentioned all this? Because, in a world where we live that is increasingly complex and highly competitive, we must reserve the right to properly analyse what’s before us else we find people willing to take advantage of us and our desires.
I look forward to questions & feedback as i hope to write more this week.
Thank you all for the unique opportunity to share these few days with you. Thank you W.TEC for the chance to give back to the next generation.
ICTs is an abbrevatn for Information and Communication Technologies(thanks to W.TEC). that is communicating information thru technologies. nigeria of a truth has really developed when it comes to tech, atleast comparing it to 10 - 15 yrs ago. we can now reach pple it would have taken us days ro reach in few seconds. but then, we still have a long way to go. i see a nigeria where a very good percentage of pple living in the rural comm( mind you, a rural comm is a comm with less than 20000 pple living within a geographical area..) are computer literate, have asses to the internet and can also affprd a fone. whether we like it or not, a greater percentage of pple live in the rural comm. therefore, improvement in tech is not complete until it gets to the ruralites. i think something should be done fast. God bless u
I agree that there is an improvement in the use of ICTS in Nigeria. The users awareness is increasing but could the service providers do something about the bandwidth? We can’t be the giant of Africa and have countries like Kenya with a larger bandwidth/broadband than Nigeria.
Thanks Meaghan and Shannon. Shannon, I read your comment in my mailbox. Our eyes are now wide open thats why we’re learning and building up gradually(We can’t do all that with our eyes closed). Change is not automatic. We’re starting with ourselves first before the community et al.
I logged in to Twitter. Looks interesting.
Ore, I read the articles in guardian.co.uk. That about the canoe man and his wife, Ann Darwin was really interesting. What human beings can do when they’re in need of cash. Concerning citizen journalism, I can try my writing skills and be an amateur journalist. Nice concept.
I read Gbenga’s post and cannot but agree that Nigeria has come a long way in the use of ICTs. If nobody believes that, I do. For someone like me to be using ICTs at all is a long way for Nigeria! Yeah, I know I am exaggerating a little- only a little.
I remember what should have been my first contact with the internet. I was taking a postgraduate course in computer studies in 2002/2003, and we were given an assignment to go on the net, visit a website and print out a page just to show that we were able to navigate our way to a particular site. My God! It was so bad (I am ashamed to admit it), we were paying people to help us out! When I remember now, I feel like laughing out loud!
Little by little, I was able to progress to this stage and a big thanks to W-tec, I now have a blog (http://faddyshow.blogspot.comfor those who might be interested) !
I know we still have a long way to go especially with the state of our infrastructure, but we must acknowledge the fact that we are making progress. With what W-tec is doing, the growth of the use of ICTs in Nigeria is assured. I know some other institutions are doing similar things too, but you know, when a woman is empowered, a families are empowered. When families are empowered, sooner or later, the whole community is!
Keep up the good work W-tec, and Thanks for your post Gbenga Sesan.
i read shanon’s post and i must agree with her having a web where you can share almost anything helps you get comfortable with using the internet and also you build a culture. asking questions is also very important.i have visited the twitter and i think it is quiet intersting. olubunmi
I should start by thanking (and congratulating) W.TEC on the successful completion of this awesome experience. I started writing online (it wasn’t called blogging at the time) in 1999 because I was told that Africa had about 0.01% content on the internet. Though we’ve come a long way since then (thanks to FaceBook and Blogger), I believe that efforts like this exercise by W.TEC help make more (true) information about Nigeria in cyberspace. Maybe if we keep writing, less people will think that Africa is a country (in which case Nigeria would be a state/province) and that pregnant women climb banana trees in Africa
In 2006, I completed an assignment with a similar topic (”Technology for Development: A Case Study on e-advocacy and Technology Use by Civil Society in Nigeria”) and permit me to start by sharing some relevant thoughts from the 8th chapter (”Status of Technology Use by Civil Society in Nigeria”) of that voluminous report:
“Some civil society organizations in Nigeria are increasingly taking advantage of the opportunities provided by Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). It has enhanced productivity and increased efficiency – and majority of these civil society organizations are exposing themselves to better appreciation, acquisition and use of ICT tools. The research exercise for this case study revealed certain trends that are of interest concerning the use of ICT tools by civil society in Nigeria. All of the fifty-one organizations that responded to the questionnaire use mobile phones in their day to day operations, including those who are situated in very remote areas of the country…. 98% of respondents have eMail addresses but only 88% use eMail in their work; 58% of the organizations have websites…. The interviewed civil society organisations that have websites put these websites to various uses, including publicity, information sharing on advocacy issues, research, online interaction, and information dissemination on the organization’s activities. Even though 70% use mailing lists, only 39% of the civil society organizations have blogs, only 40% have internet access in their offices and only 40% use mobile applications (such as Short Message Service) available through their mobile phones for advocacy. 40% of the organizations have dedicated Information Technology (IT) staff and their annual budgets dedicate varying amounts to IT….”
It was obvious, at the time, that much of the progress and challenges were very much related to the policy environment. See the following: “71% of respondents believe that Nigeria has a favourable atmosphere for the application of Information and Communication Technologies towards development, and an equal 71% believe that the nation’s IT and telecommunications policies have impacted positively on their work – even though only 40% know about the nation’s IT Policy, only 40% know about the Telecommunications Act, only 30% are actually aware of the IT Policy’s provision and an equal 30% are aware of the provisions of the Telecommunications Act. However, 60% of respondents know the agency responsible for IT (National Information Technology Development Agency) and 90% know about the work of the Nigerian Communications Commission, the telecommunications regulator.”
From the research exercise, I came face to face with the fact that actual ICT use in Nigeria far exceeds the impression that many reports give. We have made a lot of progress, and today’s young Nigerian even has more unique opportunities. A quick look at FaceBook reveals the huge number of people who list Nigeria as their primary network. That means we have a lot more than one may assume (noting that many people prefer to list their present location or place of work), and that is another pointer to the volume of ICT use among young Nigerians. I see many people online even at odd hours of the day: updating their profiles, announcing events, posting notes, blogging, and more! There are even people who have become celebrities thanks to online social networks. There are also Nigerian-run online social networks (e.g. Legwork.com.ng) which show a great trend. Other ICT tools — such as mobile phones — need no special mention before everyone stops to acknowledge the high rate of ICT use across the country.
Yet, there are challenges. Some are policy issues while others come with usage — such as cybercrime (one ICT’s of the most popular abuse issues). A key challenge that the telecommunication industry regulator (NCC) has taken up is the lack of identification of mobile phone users, which made it easy to date for many scammers to make calls from off-the-street SIMs. Meanwhile, I also believe that these challenges offer us the unique opportunity of growing the Nigerian ICT space better. In August, I will be sharing comprehensive thoughts about how to address the cybercrime menace at the National Conference on Cybersecurity in Abuja and I hope to post the full text on my blog since it relates directly with the issue of addressing the challenges that come with ICT usage.
All said and done, it is the responsibility of each young Nigerians to make sure that they take advantage of the many opportunities that ICTs provide so they can compete favourably in the New Economy. I should probably close this with a modification of my advice in a published article titled “Workplace 2.0: An Early Warning for Nigerian Corporations”: By the time the history of Workplace 2.0 is being written, there will be only two kinds of [young Nigerians] – those who were prepared and were able to ride the tides, and those who will be on the died-while-trying-to-survive category list. It is instructive for [young] Nigerians to note that … there is an urgent need to transform [themselves] into New Economy Intrapreneurs [through the appropriate use of ICT tools].”