Comprehensive ICT skills empowerment programme for disadvantaged women and girls in sub-Saharan Africa
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“A world with zero barriers is attainable when women and girls with disabilities are empowered without discrimination.” Marvella Odili, Founder/CEO, Save Our Needy Organization
Save Our Needy Organization (SON) is a national NGO based in Lagos, supporting underprivileged girls and women. SON has launched a project empowering women and girls living in extreme poverty, with disabilities, and/or with HIV as well as survivors of gender-based violence. Participants receive free training in various skills centred around digital, entrepreneurship, and leadership skills, and they are mentored by professionals and leaders. In 2023 the project expanded to reach more than 2,000 disadvantaged females in six regions of Nigeria.
Many women and girls in Nigeria are confronted with extreme poverty, gender inequality, marginalization, unemployment, and lack of access to technology and education.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
Save Our Needy Organization (SON), a non-profit and NGO founded in 2011, runs a free ICT and digital skills training project targeting impoverished and marginalized women and girls. While the project is offered for free, a token sum is required from participants as a registration fee to ensure their commitment in completing the training sessions. The training sessions take place in mostly well-equipped training centres and online (virtual training) and last for 8–12 weeks: five sessions per week for the women’s programmes and two sessions per week for the girls’ programmes. All training sessions are interactive and participatory. Participants learn graphic design, animation, website design, coding (girls), leadership, personal development, and entrepreneurship skills. The programme also aims to enable financial independence through employment or small business creation. SON recruits skilled and certified trainers through reputable training agencies, some of whom are people with physical disabilities. There are regular tests and evaluations after each course to ascertain the level of understanding and retention of participants. SON has been able to continually increase the number of participating women and girls. Between 2020 and 2022 the overall number rose from 1,250 to 2,270 and the number of persons with disabilities from 786 to 1,378.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
SON supports the financial independence of the women by providing six months of follow-up monitoring and evaluation for each participant who completes the training. SON is mainly financed by grants and donations, but has also other income sources such as the sales of merchandise products or renting out training equipment. By 2028, SON plans to scale the project to empower 10,000 women and girls in Nigeria in disadvantaged communities and urban slums. (Awardee 2024)