Innovative Practice 2021 on Inclusive Employment and ICT

Providing vocational skills and career development to young adults with disabilities

Special Needs Initiative for Growth is an NGO based in Lagos supporting people with disabilities. Starting in 2017, ING has worked with civil society and business partners to offer vocational and technical training. It runs workshops and trainings covering digital, vocational, and career development skills, and it builds the capacity of special educators to teach these skills. It also offers mentorship, internships, and business grants. From 2017 to 2020, some 1,300 persons have been trained.

“The career development programme opened my mind, and now I am a digital and media advocate.”

About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:TVET for Special Needs Young Adults in Low-Middle Income Countries
Organisation:Special Needs Initiative for Growth (also known as Initiative for National Growth Africa)
of Implementation
Nigeria – Lagos
Start Year2017
Sub-CategoryA project of Civil Society


  • Special Needs Initiative for Growth has facilitated 153 internship placements between 2018 and 2020
  • 570 special educators have been trained (2020: 219; 2019: 194; 2018: 112)


Vocational training for people with disabilities in Nigeria often lacks appropriate materials, skilled educators, and career development support.


Special Needs Initiative for Growth offers accessible vocational training and career skills development workshops and bootcamps, with topics ranging from ICT entrepreneurship, robotics, and digital marketing to disability rights, journalism, and public speaking. These are often run in partnership with other NGOs, such as a two-year robotics and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) training programme partnership with Down Syndrome Foundation Nigeria. The project also aims to build the capacity of special educators to teach these skills and has trained 570 educators since 2017.

After completing programmes, trainees’ progress is monitored and evaluated to see what follow-up support is appropriate, such as mentoring, links to internship placements, or small grants for the trainee or his/her family to start a business.

From 2018 to 2020, 153 persons with disabilities accessed internship placements in roles such as data management, logistics, and journalism offered by local partner organizations, including a radio station, libraries, and a transport company.

A man in a blue T-shirt with a laptop in front of him explains something to four other men who are all seated and listening to him.

Abiodun Emmanuel Oyeniran uses ‘text to speech’ technology to teach Google Digital Marketing skills to trainees.


The practice is grant-funded from a group of corporate and non-profit partners that have contributed US$8,700.

Since March 2020, Special Needs Initiative for Growth has started to move its training online due to COVID-19. It will continue working with partners to support access to training and jobs, and is also calling for the adoption of the African Disability Rights Protocol in Nigeria. In 2021 it plans to explore how ‘big data’ could identify needs for employment of people with disabilities and to use this information to scale its practice across Africa.


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