The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has commenced a specialized ICT Training for Persons Living With Disabilities (PLWDs), as part of its mandate to develop and regulate Information Technology (IT) in Nigeria. Digital Inclusion ensures that disadvantaged groups are given access and skills required to enjoy the benefits of the information age.
According to the World Bank, 1 Billion people globally live with one form of disability or another. The World Report on Disability (WRD), jointly published by the World Health Organization and the World Bank in 2011, narrowed that figure to 25 Million as the number of Nigerians living with at least one form of disability. This number constitutes a significant proportion of the Nigerian population and it is critical to improve their aptitude for and access to ICT for the benefit of the economy. The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, places a premium on investment in people and emphasizes the need for social inclusion. As such, it is important that our digital inclusion efforts should include PLWDs.
NITDA has been organising an annual ICT training for PLWDs as a means of building their capacity to make them self-reliant. The training takes place in the different geopolitical zones of the country. This year’s edition is taking place in the North East. Gombe State was selected as the venue of the event due to its proximity to all the States of the Zone. During a courtesy call, the Governor of Gombe State Dr Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo commends the effort of the current management of NITDA for transforming a sleeping Agency to a very active and productive one.
Over 350 participants applied for the training and the participants were selected by a team of experts. These experts were drawn from the academia, civil society, representative associations of the PLWDs and the NITDA team. The participants were drawn from all the 6 States in the North East Zone. Each of the clusters for PLWDs was represented in the selection. The 3 clusters are the Physically Challenged, those with Hearing Impairment and those with Visual Impairment.
During the training, the participants with be taught topics like Computer Essentials, Online Collaboration, Digital Literacy and Entrepreneurship, amongst others. The curriculum will also include cluster-specific topics. Each of the participants will be provided with a Specialized Laptop with Custom Software installed to meet the distinct training needs of the participants in each of the three clusters. We believe that the laptops, training and post-event mentorship will empower the PLWDs and enable them to establish their own business. We also believe that it will enable them to serve as trainers and mentors to other PLWDs.
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is an Agency of the Federal Government. The Agency was created in April 2001 to implement the Nigerian Information Technology Policy and coordinate general IT development and regulation in the country. Specifically, Section 6(a & k) of the Act mandates NITDA to create a framework for the planning, research, development, standardization, application, coordination, monitoring, evaluation and regulation of Information Technology practices, activities and systems in Nigeria; and determine critical areas in information technology requiring research intervention and facilitate research and development in those areas.