A FIVE-DAY training program to facilitate innovative, technology-driven economic growth, through the use of ICT among people living with disabilities (PLWDs) has commenced in Enugu.
The program, held at the Enugu State Technology Hub and Youth Innovation Centre, was facilitated by National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
Director Genral of NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, who was represented by NITDA’s Director, Corporate Planning and Strategy, Dr Collins Agu, while giving his remarks, said that the aim of empowering the special needs persons with ICT skills, digital literacy and its applications was to prop up their relationship with people and the world at large.
He said that the primary purpose of the training programme was geared towards empowering PLWD’s through investments in ICT infrastructure, policies and solutions with the aim of enabling them live productive lives, and to give them a sense of inclusion in the IT ecosystem.
“The objective of the training is to build capacities of people living with disabilities, make them employable and self-reliant in order to have effective economic independence in pursing their livelihoods.”
According to him, the programme is in line with the vision of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, aimed at ensuring that the entire citizenry are empowered with information technologies through the development of a critical mass of IT proficient and globally competitive manpower.
He disclosed that NITDA has trained over 175 persons throughout the country and has created over 1000 jobs because the programme, which is a ‘train the trainer’ has an exponential ripple effect, which necessitated the need for the agency to bring the event to Enugu State with the purpose of using ICT to improve the entrepreneurship skills of persons living with disability in the region.
He stated that studies have shown that people with disabilities experience high level of discrimination in the society which consequently have effects on their social and economic dispositions, adding that the training programme will potentially make significant improvements in their lives. “It will, no doubt, give them opportunities to enhance their social, cultural, political and economic integration in the society while at the same time, expanding the scope of opportunities available to them.
Executive Governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who was represented by the Commissioner for Science and Technology, Obi Kama, expressed his delight to be part of the training and thanked the agency for implementing the training of PLWD.
He said that massive unemployment, due to the post COVID-19 pandemic, had prompted the state government in taking proactive steps in ensuring that youths of the state leverage on the new entrepreneurial and economic opportunities associated with digital economy which led to the establishment of the Enugu State Technology Hub and Youth Innovation Centre.
“It was therefore necessary to empower the PLWD’s in the ‘New Normal’ situation through capacity building programmes on ICT which will accelerate their opportunities in tapping into the endless possibilities unlocked by digitalization.
“I appreciate the inclusive nature of this training organised by NITDA in bridging the digital divide among PLWD’S in the South-East, especially Enugu State. The state government is willing to partner with NITDA by making available an office space for the agency to set up her South-East Zonal office” he said.