Why SAFE Academy is prioritizing girls

The 2020 pandemic further emphasized the significance of technology in our day-to-day lives and how we have become more reliant on our devices for work, school, etc. Yet, developing countries like Nigeria are still lagging in innovative technology. Public schools and some private schools in Nigeria lack the curriculum necessary to expose children to digital skills, information literacy and global opportunities. 

According to UNICEF, 60% of out-of-school children are female. The participation of females in STEM remains on average in Africa. Despite representing half of the world’s population, women and girls remain deeply underrepresented in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Less than 30% of researchers employed in research and development globally are women, and women in tech constitute only 30% of professionals in sub-Saharan Africa.

Based on the study of Onyenekewa, 2010, 36.8% of male student participants can process Microsoft word. Only 8.8% of female participants can process Microsoft word. Thus, confirming the gender gap in digital literacy in Nigeria. Also, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, only 22% on the average of graduates students of Engineering and Technology in Nigeria Universities are female.  The Statistics also show that a fifth of all workers in the information and technology sectors are women. Meanwhile, females constitute over 50% of the population. Subsequently, affirming the need for more mobilization of the younger female generation into the technology space. 

We conducted a preliminary survey in fifteen secondary schools (ten public schools and five private schools) in Ibadan, Nigeria. Our finding shows that only 7% of the schools are equipped for digital learning.  Also, 20% of the schools include entrepreneurship in their curriculum, and less than 15% teach leadership in their school. 

During the survey, we met a female student named Shade. Shade is a fourteen years old student in senior secondary school 1. She is the fifth child of eight children in her family and has six sisters. She is an exceptionally brilliant girl and wants to be an engineer when she grows up. When our researcher asked her what specialty, she said computer engineering. Shade has never used a computer before. But she became fascinated with computer engineering when a young teacher brought a laptop into her class—stories such as shade’s story birth the need for leadership and entrepreneurship training that incorporates digital literacy.

Furthermore, our decision to focus on young girls stems from the inequality against girls in Nigeria. For example, in the northern part of Nigeria, where they still practise child marriage, only 17% of primary and secondary school students are female (Adeyemi 2004). Such disheartening statistics inspire more focus on female education.  The Girls digital literacy program aims to provide the essential technical skills to girls from low-income backgrounds and instill them with skills to become global citizens.

Building Value-based Relationships

Building value-based relationships mean building a relationship with someone not only because you like them but also because they have something that you need and you also have something to offer them. To build a powerful value-based relationship, one must have the orientation of a giver, i.e. giving creative gifts and offering oneself as a resource. There are so many advantages to being a giver.

For example; With a gift or act of kindness or service, you invest in the person’s emotional bank account, creating a sense of loyalty. Any support or favour you seek within the person’s capacity will only be seen as deserved. This is not bribery; you should create a culture of sending gifts long before you’ll ever need to ask for anything. Thoughtful gifts have been seen as one of the most effective strategies for networking. Your gifts will always make ways for you. For example, if you have been looking at asking someone to mentor you or give you an internship opportunity, the easiest way to establish such a relationship is by consistently offering yourself a resource and giving them creative gifts long before you ever need to ask for any favours.

Networking is the art of raising social capital. Social capital is the currency that you need to be socially relevant. Money gives influence because you can easily buy resources, but if you know how to raise social capital, you can compete with someone who has the money or even better. People are more valuable than money. Even fundraising starts from friend-raising. We hope you focus on raising friends. People whose primary focus is raising funds may end up committing social bankruptcy. 

Social bankruptcy is when there are limited people you can ask for a favour because you don’t have enough relationship/influence with the people around you or have asked all of them for one favour or the other before. You can not ask them for one another. When you seek favour, and people tell you they don’t have; it’s often not that they don’t have at all. It is that they don’t think that the value that you offer is deserving of their resources.

Here are some steps to follow in building value-based relationships:

Understand that perception is reality. People often don’t have the luxury of time to understand your reality. They tend to stick with perceptions. The way you look, the way you dress, what is on your social media page, how correct and accurate your message appears all have a part to play in this. Let everything about you speak excellence and value from afar. Let them the price you as expensive from afar so that when you get close and offer yourself as a resource, they don’t price you less.

Always be ready to meet people. As a development enthusiast or practitioner, you must have a personal elevator pitch. – this is how you unforgettably introduce yourself in 30 secs. It should project a clear area of focus, what you have done and what you need. Try not to introduce yourself first. Always get the second mover advantage by asking people to introduce themselves first. This way, you get the advantage of projecting your area of interest that aligns most with theirs. And not make the mistake of sharing what is not relevant to the person. Divide everyone you meet every day into these 3 major categories that we will later discuss. Knowing the place of people in your life gives you the advantage of maximizing your relationship with them.

What do you think? Please share your views with us!

Balancing the use of Quantitative and Qualitative Insights in the development sector

The statement “Correlation is not always causation” has been used to summarize the misleading tendency of using quantitative analysis to find solutions or predict the future. The statement draws our attention to the fact that two situations that vary together, may not have any significant effect on each other, and the observed association may not be a good predictor of what might happen in the future. To ensure accuracy and prevent biases while examining for causal relationships, quantitative researchers have invented several methodologies, such as RCT, Instrumental variables and regression discontinuity, to randomize sample selection, remove potential biases and control for confounding factors. Yet, these methods have their limitations. Algorithms and predictive analysis have been seen to be misleading, and sole dependence on such results may lead to creating wrong solutions. However, it is important to note that quantitative analysis has yielded unparalleled success in helping to determine if a hypothesis (that two specific events are associated) is wrong or right.

Qualitative analysis, on the other hand, does not give this exact sense of measurement but helps to observe situations more closely and in more detail. It tells the story of how a certain situation leads to the other and the ways it may differ in diverse individuals and scenarios. The advantage of this approach is its ability to create a wider view of the situation and helps to pinpoint the specific factors involved in individual cases. Since qualitative analysis involves the people, it helps them to share their stories and participate in the pursuit of solutions.

How qualitative and quantitative research compliments each other

  1. Qualitative research validates and provides explanations for the results observed through quantitative analysis by narrating actual experiences.
  2. Hypotheses can be generated from qualitative analysis to be tested using quantitative methods.
  3. Both research methods can be used for triangulation of the results generated from the other type of research. This means that one research method can be used to verify, validate or reject the results generated from the other.
  4. Quantitative researches can be used to examine the magnitude and significance of the observations made in qualitative researches.
  5. Qualitative research helps to obtain more information on some variables not obtained through quantitative data collection.

Benefits of combining qualitative and quantitative research methods:

A major benefit of combining qualitative and quantitative methods is the use of both broadens and deepens the understanding of the subject matter. Quantitative analysis reveals the magnitude and significance of the effect of one variable on the other, while qualitative analysis allows the readers or users of the result to understand how the findings and conclusions were reached. It provides an understanding of how local contextual factors explain the quantitative results seen.

More so, using both methods help to ensure buy-in from both quantitative and qualitative scholars and also aid acceptance of the result within the population being studied.

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