Category: Africa

AfricaKIDS IN AFRICA

Empowering Rural Schools: Emerging Communities Africa’s Digirural Makes a Difference at The Young Disciples Academy

At Emerging Communities Africa (ECA), we’re passionate about empowering communities and fostering a brighter future, especially in rural areas. That’s why we launched the Digirural initiative, focused on equipping schools with the resources they need to thrive.

Recently, our Digirural program had the pleasure of visiting The Young Disciples Academy in Idanre, Awokajola. We were welcomed with open arms by the enthusiastic students and dedicated faculty.

Equipping for Success

To enhance the learning environment at The Young Disciples Academy, ECA donated six whiteboards, markers, and a variety of other essential writing materials. These resources will not only improve the classrooms but also provide teachers with the tools they need to deliver engaging and effective lessons.

Beyond Donations: Inspiring Young Minds

Our visit wasn’t just about handing over supplies. Several ECA volunteers took the opportunity to interact with the students. They spoke about the importance of education, emphasizing how it unlocks a world of possibilities and empowers individuals to reach their full potential. The volunteers encouraged the students to be studious, asking questions, and embracing the joy of learning.

The smiles on the students’ faces and their eagerness to participate in the discussions were truly heartwarming. We hope our visit, along with the donated materials, will serve as a small spark that ignites a lifelong love of learning in these young minds.

Digirural: Building a Brighter Future

The Digirural initiative is just one of the many ways ECA strives to make a positive impact in rural communities. By providing educational resources and fostering a culture of learning, we hope to equip future generations with the knowledge and skills they need to build a brighter future for themselves and their communities.

Join Us in Making a Difference

Do you share our passion for empowering rural communities? If so, we encourage you to get involved with ECA’s initiatives. Whether through volunteering your time, donating resources, or simply spreading the word, you can help make a difference. Together, we can create a world where every child has the opportunity to succeed, regardless of their background.

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Bridging the Digital Divide: Emerging Communities Africa’s Digirural Initiative

In today’s world, digital literacy is no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity. Emerging Communities Africa (ECA) understands this, and that’s why we launched the Digirural Initiative, an ambitious program aimed at empowering children in rural communities across Africa starting with Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria with the skills they need to thrive in the digital age.

The digital divide is a harsh reality, with many rural areas lacking access to technology and the know-how to use it effectively. This leaves children at a significant disadvantage, hindering their educational opportunities and future prospects.

Digirural seeks to dismantle this barrier. Through a series of engaging outreach programs, we’ve been visiting schools in remote locations, bringing technology directly to the students. Our team of passionate volunteers conducts interactive workshops, introducing children to the basics of computers, the internet, and essential digital tools.

These workshops aren’t just about technical skills. We emphasize the importance of online safety, responsible digital citizenship, and how technology can be harnessed for learning and exploration. We want to spark a love for lifelong learning and equip these young minds with the confidence to navigate the digital world.

The impact of Digirural has been truly inspiring. We’ve witnessed firsthand the excitement and eagerness of children as they discover the potential of technology. Seeing their faces light up as they learn to create presentations, research online, or connect with others virtually fills us with immense satisfaction.

Digirural is not a one-time fix. We are committed to building sustainable change. We partner with local schools to ensure continued access to technology and resources.  We also train teachers on basic digital literacy skills, empowering them to integrate technology into their lesson plans.

Our journey has just begun. There are countless rural communities across Africa; Ondo state, Nigeria precisely where the digital divide persists. But with each outreach trip, with every child we empower, we inch closer to a future where every child has the opportunity to excel in the digital age.

Join us in bridging the digital divide!

Emerging Communities Africa is always looking for passionate volunteers and donors to support the Digirural Initiative. If you’d like to get involved, visit our website  to learn more. Together, let’s ensure that every child has the chance to unlock their full potential in a digital world.

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How media representations of gender can reinforce harmful stereotypes 

As the global 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence comes to an end, it’s crucial to examine the pivotal role the media plays in shaping our perceptions of gender. From movies and advertisements to news reports and social media, the media landscape significantly influences how we perceive masculinity, femininity, and the roles assigned to different genders. However, the impact of these representations is not neutral; rather, it often perpetuates harmful stereotypes that often reflects and reinforces harmful narratives that have real-world consequences.

One of the most concerning aspects of media representations are simplistic and often inaccurate portrayals of gender. Women are frequently portrayed as passive,  weak, and dependent, while men are depicted as strong, dominant, and entitled. These portrayals not only limit individual expression but also create unrealistic standards, leading to the normalisation of power imbalances and become justifications for discrimination, harassment, toxic behaviours within relationships  and even violence.

The hypersexualization of women and the objectification of their bodies  in the media is another troubling trend. Advertisements and entertainment often reduce women to mere objects of desire, emphasising physical appearance over intellect or character. This objectification not only dehumanises women but also normalises the idea that their worth is solely based on their looks, fostering a culture that enables harassment, assault, and discrimination.

The perpetuation of these stereotypes and biassed representations in media contributes to a culture that trivialises gender-based violence. When violence against women is normalised in movies, TV shows, or news reports, it desensitises audiences and minimises the severity of such acts. This can lead to victim-blaming mentalities or an attitude that downplays the seriousness of abusive behaviours.

However, the media isn’t solely a negative force. It can be a powerful tool for positive change. By promoting diverse and empowering representations of gender, media can challenge stereotypes, raise awareness, and inspire societal transformation. When media platforms showcase strong, independent women, supportive and emotionally intelligent men, and diverse gender identities, they contribute to a more inclusive and equitable society.

As consumers of media, we hold the power to demand change. By critically engaging with media content, supporting diverse representations, and holding media outlets accountable for their portrayal of gender, we can create a society where harmful stereotypes are shattered, and all individuals are valued and respected, regardless of their gender identity.

This is a call to action for media creators, consumers, and activists alike. Let us acknowledge the influence of the media on shaping societal attitudes and take proactive steps to challenge harmful stereotypes. By advocating for accurate, diverse, and respectful representations of all genders in media, we pave the way for a world free from gender-based violence and discrimination. Together, let’s amplify our voices and strive for a future where everyone, regardless of gender, can live free from fear and oppression.

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Volunteering as a Career Boost: How Giving Back Can Enhance Your Professional Development

Volunteering is an act of an individual or group freely giving time and labour, often for the benefit of others.  With busy lives, it can be hard to find time to volunteer. However, the benefits of volunteering can be enormous. Volunteering offers vital help to people in need, worthwhile causes, and the community, but the benefits can be even greater for you, the volunteer. The right match can help you to find friends, connect with the community, learn new skills, and even advance your career.

As we celebrate International Volunteers Day, let’s explore how volunteering can serve as a catalyst for enhancing your career through Tobi, Miriam and Basco’s story .

Professional Workplace Etiquettes and Skills Development

Volunteering offers a unique setting to cultivate and hone essential workplace skills. From communication and teamwork to leadership and problem-solving, volunteers often find themselves immersed in situations that require these skills. For instance, working in a team on a volunteer project can mirror dynamics found in professional settings, providing valuable experience in collaboration and conflict resolution.

Tobi’s Story: Tobi, an undergraduate, decided to volunteer at Akure Tech Hub, a Digital Innovation Hub  focused on social innovation and grassroots development. Through his volunteer work, he was entrusted with managing the subscribers at the co-working space. This experience allowed Tobi to refine his communication  and presentation skills, and develop a deeper understanding of community engagement and customer relationship —a journey that significantly bolstered his resume.

Networking with Industry Leaders

Volunteering can serve as a powerful avenue for networking with prominent figures in your industry. Whether it’s through industry-specific events, conferences, or community projects, volunteers often find themselves in close proximity to established professionals and industry leaders. 

Miriam’s Story: Miriam, a front-end engineer, volunteered at a series of tech communities to host conferences and events for the community. Her proactive involvement allowed her to engage directly with influential industry leaders who were speakers or sponsors at these events. Through volunteering, Miriam not only contributed to the success of these events but also established meaningful connections with industry experts, leading to mentorship opportunities and valuable insights that guided her developer  journey.

Gateway to Full-Time Roles and Networking Opportunities

Volunteering often serves as a bridge to full-time employment. Many organisations use volunteer programs as a talent pool, offering paid roles to dedicated and passionate volunteers. Moreover, volunteering presents excellent networking opportunities, allowing individuals to connect with professionals and expand their circle.

Basco’s Story: Basco, a designer, dedicated his free time to volunteer at a non-profit as a graphics designer, handling their social media and marketing designs. His commitment and expertise caught the attention of stakeholders within the organisation, leading to discussions about potential job openings. Basco’s volunteer experience not only secured him a full-time design role but also provided a network of industry contacts that proved invaluable throughout his career. Today, Basco works as the lead designer at the non-profit.

Asides from the career benefits listed above, here are some ways volunteering can also benefit you, the volunteer.

Provides a sense of community: Volunteering can help you feel connected to those you are helping in the community. This experience may make you want to get involved with other aspects of your community, such as local politics or advocating for programs you believe are important.

Helps you meet new friends: Volunteering is a great way to meet new friends as well as strengthen existing connections with friends, family or coworkers. As a volunteer, you’ll typically interact with people from diverse backgrounds, which allows you to learn other perspectives.

Improve  your social skills: Volunteering gives you a chance to talk to new people and sharpen your social skills  like active listening and relationship management.

Improves self-esteem: When you do something you feel is worthwhile and valuable for your community, it gives you a sense of accomplishment that may help you feel more fulfilled about your life and any future goals.

Teaches you valuable skills: The training and hands-on experience you gain while volunteering can help you learn new skills as well as build upon ones you already have. 

Gets you out of your comfort zone: Through volunteer work, you may overcome the personal challenges of leaving your comfort zone and doing something new with people you may not know.

AfricaCommunitiesDigital Innovation

The Technology Transfer Process

Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) are at the forefront of technological advancement in today’s fast-paced world. As such, they play a crucial role in facilitating the transfer of technology from lab to the market. However, technology transfer is not without its challenges. That is why a workshop  was organized by Emerging Communities Africa (ECA) as part of the AfriConEU Networking Academy activities to help DIHs explore the concept of technology transfer, its benefits, and the legal framework in place to protect it. This workshop aimed to equip participants with the necessary knowledge and tools to navigate the complex world of technology transfer successfully. With the right approach, technology transfer can be a valuable tool for promoting innovation, economic growth, and development. In this article, we will delve deeper into the key takeaways from the workshop and explore the importance of technology transfer in today’s digital landscape.

The hybrid workshop took place on Friday, March 31st 2023 at Akure Tech Hub, Ondo State and featured and group discussion between participants and 2 keynote sessions taken by Olumbe Akinkugbe, Chairman of Ondo State Information and Technology Agency (SITA) and Kitan David, Founder of Future Academy Africa respectively. 

Olumbe Akinkugbe explained how technology transfer  is a critical component of innovation and economic development, as it allows organizations to leverage existing knowledge and expertise to create new products and services.  He also stated that technology transfer can take many forms, including licensing agreements, joint ventures, and research collaborations. The  goal of technology transfer is to take innovative ideas and turn them into tangible products and services that can benefit society.

He further went on to state 2 primary  drivers of technology transfer 

  1. The need for innovation. 
  2. The need for economic growth. 

In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, innovation is key to staying competitive. Organizations that fail to innovate risk falling behind their competitors and losing market share. By transferring technology, organizations can leverage existing knowledge and expertise to create new products and services that meet the needs of their customers.

Technology transfer can help create new businesses, jobs, and industries, which can contribute to economic growth and development. By transferring technology, organizations can create new products and services that generate revenue and create employment opportunities.

He rounded up the session by stating that technology transfer is a complex process that requires careful consideration of legal and regulatory issues. There are several legal frameworks in place to protect technology transfer, including intellectual property laws, export control regulations, and licensing agreements.

After his session participants gathered in 3 groups to discuss “the motivations and benefits of technology transfer” after the group discussion,  representatives from each group presented insights from their respective groups. Adedapo from group A stated that Improved standard of living through technology has helped make life easier. Esther from group B gave some benefits of technology transfer which includes Collaboration; Using the strength of a sector to build another, Commercialization and Industrialization, Knowledge dissemination, Innovation. Peace from group C said ”the importance of licensing cannot be overemphasized, if you have an idea, you must protect it in transferring such technology and the sustainability of the idea or product that is being involved in the process of technology transfer”.

To wrap up the workshop, Kitan David gave the final session on technology transfer mechanisms.  He focused on the impact of Artificial Intelligence(AI) in technology transfer and how organizations and individuals have to stay on the trend as it’s rapidly causing technology transfer waves in various industries. He also made mention of the need for documentation as documenting processes is key to recognizing room for technology transfer.

In conclusion, technology transfer is a critical component of innovation, economic growth, and development. It allows organizations to leverage existing knowledge and expertise to create new products and services that meet the needs of their customers. However, technology transfer is not without its challenges, and organizations must carefully consider legal, regulatory, and business issues when transferring technology. By doing so, organizations can successfully navigate the complex world of technology transfer and reap the benefits of this valuable tool. By the end of the workshop, participants had a comprehensive overview of the technology transfer process and were able to identify legal frameworks like NDAs, IP laws, Licensing agreements etc.  to protect technology transfer.

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Bridging the Gender Gap: How Women are Transforming the African Entrepreneurial Landscape

The startup ecosystem in Africa is currently thriving and poised for significant growth and success in the coming years. In the last half-decade, the ecosystem has achieved several significant milestones, including an increase in the number of female-led startups, business expansion to different regions, multi-million-dollar acquisitions and exits,etc. 

Despite the significance of these accomplishments in Africa’s startup ecosystem, there remains a lack of diversity in funding, particularly concerning female-owned startups, whose funding from domestic and international investors remains notably lower compared to male entrepreneurs. According to this piece from the big deal, female-led startups only received 4% of the total $4.8 billion invested in African startups in 2022. This amount  is 25 times less, compared to the funding that female-led startups received in 2021.

This article aims to acknowledge the accomplishments of female founders in different sectors in Africa and to explore the difficulties they encounter.

Let’s look at some female founders and their impact.

 

Ifedayo Durosinmi-Etti: 'Self-doubt is the biggest quencher of creativity' | The Guardian Nigeria News - Nigeria and World News — Guardian Woman — The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News

Ife Durosimi-Etti, CEO Herconomy 

Herconomy is more than a mobile savings app, it’s the largest community designed to give women access to the resources they need to thrive, switch up their money game and build the life they want. Herconomy currently has over 60,000 women savers who have saved over $100,000 in total and has plans to onboard unbanked women (those without bank verification numbers) to her community.

 

Using AI to fight cancer: an interview with Shamim Nabuuma Kaliisa, Founder and Executive Director, Chil Artificial Intelligence Lab | Business Insider Africa

Shamim Nabuuma Kaliisa, Founder CHIL AI Lab

CHIL  AI Lab is battling cancer with a range of impressive products and services, including non-invasive self-testing kits that utilise machine learning and AI to diagnose cervical and breast cancer and its AI-powered mobile app named Keti, that allows women consult with oncology experts, have samples collected and sent to laboratories,  have their test results interpreted and advised on what next steps to take. CHIL AI Lab self-testing kits are currently in use across 25 countries.

 

Tao Laine Boyle - Co-Founder - FoondaMate | LinkedIn

Tao Laine Boyle, co-founder FoondaMate

FoondaMate is an edtech startup that enables access to online learning for students via WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. FoondaMate currently has over 1 million users across the world and has helped thousands of students pass their exams through their AI powered bot.

 

Nicole Galletta | YourStory

Nicole Galletta, co-founder iProcure

iProcure is the largest agricultural supply chain platform in rural Africa connecting agricultural manufacturers and distributors to local retailers (agro-dealers), through its unique distribution infrastructure that interlinks agricultural supply chains.  It also provides business intelligence and data-driven stock management across the supply chains. It currently connects more than 5,000 agro-dealers to different manufacturers.

Although female entrepreneurs  in Africa have made progress, they still face several challenges when starting out.  Female entrepreneurs often struggle to secure funding for their businesses, with many investors preferring to invest in male-led startups and this limits their ability to scale their businesses. Cultural biases and stereotypes can make it difficult for women to succeed in traditionally male-dominated industries. Female entrepreneurs also find it difficult to get qualified personnel due gender bias. Additionally, female entrepreneurs often lack support networks and mentors, which can make it difficult for them to navigate the challenges of starting and growing a business.

However, the future of female entrepreneurs in Africa looks promising, as more and more successful female entrepreneurs are emerging and bringing new perspectives and approaches to traditionally male-dominated industries. To ensure the economy thrives, it is essential to support female entrepreneurs by helping them start their ventures, providing mentorship, access to finance, creating supportive environments, and promoting gender diversity and inclusion in all sectors of the economy. With the right support from government, non-government, and private sectors, female entrepreneurs have the potential to drive economic growth and create a brighter future for Africa.