Nothing has been as fulfilling as this project to train some women and girls with disabilities in rural and developing communities in Nigeria. It has been an elucidative journey every step of the way.
The project, rightly tagged DIGITAL INCLUSION PROJECT FOR WOMEN AND GIRLS WITH DISABILITIES had us visiting several small communities and villages to identify our participants. It was enormous task we took on but we were able to deliver.
We did not only enrol our beneficiaries in ICT Training Centres that were accessible, we also paid to have them transported to these centres every day and provided learning materials including flash drives. In addition, we also trained the staff and drivers on how to treat these women with respect and dignity.
The primary goal of this project was to ensure beneficiaries gain full appreciation, understanding and use of Microsoft office tools including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, leveraging social media to sell products, build brands, send official emails and respond to product or service inquiries. Beneficiaries also learned basic ICT skills like printing, scanning and photocopying documents.
At the end of the training, they were issued certificates and I was there to witness it. Some other beneficiaries were also issued mobility aids (wheelchairs) to ensure independence.
This took place in Benue State, Nigeria. During the closing ceremony, the ladies in Otukpo local government presented me with gifts. They even went ahead to dress me up in the Idoma attire. I wasn’t expecting anything and so was deeply touched by this act of kindness. We love them so much and look forward to working with them on other projects.
Interacting with our beneficiaries has helped us to understand even better the gruelling experience of growing up with a disability in a rural community and with little support. Some of them were locked up at home and we had to convince their guardians to allow them leave the house and participate. Participation in the society either in educational, economic, political and recreational activities is a transformational tool for change especially for vulnerable groups and should be encouraged.
We are deeply grateful to We Are Family Foundation for sponsoring this intervention to drive inclusion and to all the governmental and non-governmental organisations we worked with during this time.
We are looking forward to making this a continuous work, not just a one off project, as there are many more who would benefit from this.
Thank you all.