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Digital Skills Enable 370 Women in Kano to Take Businesses Global

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Munira Umar, a Kano-based mother of three and accounting graduate, started a catering business a few years ago but saw little patronage until she learned how to make her products attractive online.

She gained an understanding of building and boosting her business, writing captions, building confidence, and interacting with customers.

Another resident of the ancient city, JamilaTukur Mai Gari, a cosmetics entrepreneur who makes ointments and soaps from herbs and spices, now distributes to the world, courtesy of her new digital skills.

She learned marketing, leadership, and the management of her workers.

MaimunaShehuRufa, the owner of Sweet Home Collection, used to sell crunchy groundnut cakes (kuli-kuli) within her vicinity with attendant low revenue.

Her exposure to online packaging and promotions is significantly boosting her sales globally.

Nigeria’s target of 95 percent digital literacy by 2030 is hanging in the balance if priority attention is not given to the digital gap between women in northern Nigeria and their southern counterparts.

The digital economy currently contributes 17.8 percent to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to the minister of communications and digital economy, Professor Isa Ali Pantami.

But the World Bank reports that more than half of Nigeria’s 200m population does not have digital skills, while the adult illiteracy rate in the country stands at 56.9 percent.

The Blue Sapphire Hub Women Empowerment Initiative tagged “Women on Wednesday” is the game changer for this trio of women and hundreds of other business owners in the pyramid city.

The founder of the program, Maryam Lawan Gwadabe, says it is aimed at confidence-building through the use of technology to improve women’s businesses and training on social and emotional skills.

One hundred and fifty women were trained in 2022 with the support of the United States Embassy in Nigeria.

Many beneficiaries of “Women on Wednesday” have been able to get loans or grants.

CITAD Trains 220 Women

The Center for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), another non-governmental organization is also training women in Kano in digital skills.

Halima TijaniIsah, who is into writing business plans, logo designing, and printing invitation cards, got into the organization’s digital training program.

CITAD’s Training Officer, Kamilu Isa Ahmad, confirms that Halima is among the 220 women trained free of charge on digital inclusion in 2022.

He says the trainees are now self-reliant and now versed in film and video editing, emotional 3D picture editing, flyer designs and production, and social media marketing.

NITDA Plans to Bridge Tech Gap Between North and South

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is a federal government agency established to develop, regulate, and advise on information technology through regulating standards, guidelines, and policies.

Its North West zonal chief, Nurul-Amin Mustapha, says the agency partners with different information and communications technology centers to improve access to technology and the deepening IT penetration in the region.

It aims to bridge the wide gap between women in technology in southern Nigeria and those in the north.

The beneficiaries of the various tech-focused programs in Kano and northern Nigeria may have become digitally savvy and are transforming their respective businesses as a result; but still face challenges with inadequate capital, a poor network, difficulty in accessing loans, high-interest on credit, and inadequate support from the Kano State government.

This story was produced with support from Nigeria Health Watch through the Solutions Journalism Network. It is a part of the Solutions Journalism Africa Initiative.

Visit: solutionjournalism.org for more.


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