2011 World Telecommunications and Information Society Day (WTISD) Initiatives
Jidaw systems (Jidaw) an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) career and entrepreneurship development firm has participated in and organized several events this year in Nigeria to mark the 2011 World Telecommunications and Information Society Day (WTISD). The programs organized in conjunction with the African Information Security Association (AISA) are based on the original WTISD theme “Better Life and Security with ICTs for Children in rural communities” from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
WTISD is asking questions. Is ICT making sense? Is it improving lives? Beyond the technology craze, Jidaw’s mission is to create awareness and explore avenues for ensuring ICT serves development especially for children, young people, women and the disadvantaged. Jidaw organizes training, career development and entrepreneurship programs in ICT while providing related web content. Jidaw’s Founder, Jide Awe has developed national ICT plans and policies in conjunction with other resource persons. Jidaw coordinated several events in conjunction with the African Information Security Association (AISA), to mark the WTISD in 2009 and 2010. Integral to all Jidaw’s WTISD programs is the concept of “Better Life and Security with ICTs for Children”.
Several schools participated actively in the 2009 WTISD program which had the theme: “Protecting children in cyberspace”. This led to the creation of the African Children Cyber Safety Initiative (ACCSI). Last year, several schools participated in the 2010 WTISD with the theme: “Better city, Better life and Security with ICTs for Young People”. The 2010 WTISD event was hosted by Grace Schools, Gbagada, Lagos, Nigeria.
Free IT Career Seminar Special Session
Based on the 2011 theme of the WTISD, “Better life in rural communities with ICTs”, Jidaw held a special session on May 14, 2011 during its regular Free Information Technology Career seminar. The free IT Career seminar is a Jidaw initiative developed by Jidaw to provide interested individuals with answers to career questions and meeting the needs of those who want to become ICT professionals and entrepreneurs. The seminar looked at specific measures for developing rural communities with ICT to address. Are girls and boys in the African rural communities really living their dreams? How can ICT assist in closing the wide rural urban divide in Africa.
Silverbird Television WTISD program
On May 18, 2011, Jidaw’s Founder, Jide Awe was the Guest on the Silverbird Television TV morning show “Today on STV” during the section on the WTISD. In the vibrant session, he answered questions and discussed with the presenters on topics such as the need for WTISD, the theme on rural communities, issues stalling the growth of Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D), purpose of the African Children Cyber Safety Initiative, ICT4D recommendations for Africa’s rural areas and the African youth.
IT Entrepreneur program for Children
On June 2, 2011, Jidaw held a young IT entrepreneur training program for selected children of Command Day Secondary School in Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria. IT drives innovation, and entrepreneurship plays a major role. ICT consumption is growing in Africa but local content and creativity is lagging behind. In view of the implications for the future, Jidaw provides young IT entrepreneur programs to get children, who are future leaders, exposed at an early age to IT entrepreneurship and related issues.
After the learning sessions, a brainstorming, interactive session was held with students. With students expressing their opinions this exciting part of the program provoked new ideas, cleared misconceptions and included questions, answers and thoughts on ICT in rural areas, practical IT entrepreneur opportunities, challenges, idea generation, etc.
Outcomes have been positive. Awareness and interest has been generated in WTISD, critical ICT4D issues as well as in important growth issues like rural development, ICT for rural communities, the online protection of children and IT entrepreneurship. Children, young people, teachers, school administrators and other important stakeholders have shown interest.
But stakeholders need to move beyond interest to commitment. Beyond the annual events stakeholders have not committed to ongoing educational programs especially safety initiative programmes designed for schools in the use of technology. These programs are required in schools to make Better Life and Security with ICTs for Children a reality. Strong support is required from schools and sponsors in all sectors. Jidaw cannot do it alone.
As a follow up to the 2009 and 2010 events the African Children Cyber Safety Initiative plans to further mark the 2011 WTISD through the “Better Life and Security with ICTs for Children in rural communities” Forum. The forum will highlight the importance of ICT to the rural communities, to children, question children and schools on their level of online protection and provide information on safe access to computers and other resources. Activities will address the provision of better life for children, especially those in the rural communities through ICTs. Children will be equipped with practical tools and several schools represented at the forum are expected to deliver realistic and thought provoking presentations. Despite all the achievement of previous ACCSI forums preparations for the 2011 ACCSI event for children have not been concluded because as earlier mentioned support has been poor.
The future is bright when better life with ICTs is made a priority, especially in matters involving the young. We all need to be involved in preparing children and young people for a better future with ICT and in their protection online.