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In Conversation with Chidi Joseph Odinanwa, a social entrepreneur and digital skills facilitator from Nigeria!

R:Ed: Could you give us a short introduction to yourself and your work?

My name is Chidi Joseph Odinanwa and a graduate of Cooperative Economics and Management from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. I am a social entrepreneur, digital skills facilitator, and I have a strong and growing passion for human capital development. I advocate for investment in people, inclusive growth, good governance, learning and youth development. I work with MindtheGap and I am the founder of The Africa Talent and Skills Hub – a learning, talent and skills development social enterprise.

R:Ed: What does your work at Mind the Gap entail? What do you do on a day to day basis?

I work as a Digital and Logistics Support at MindtheGap. On a day to day basis, I provide assistance to young people and small and growing business owners by helping them make the most of web – online opportunities, through training and mentorship using digital tools and platforms. I help to ensure that they have the skill set and mindset needed for the digital economy and for the growth of their business and career. Then, I provide logistics support to MindtheGap by facilitating a seamless and hassle-free dispatch of training and materials needed for official purposes.

R:Ed: What does technology literacy mean to you? What is its significance for education and development?

To me, technology literacy means the ability to know how to use digital tools and resources. It underscores how proficient an individual is with the use of computers and other devices. The significance of digital literacy to education and development cannot be argued. Technology improves and enhances how systems and processes function, therefore it plays a key role in matters concerning education and development. Because technology evolves, learners leverage on its evolving potential to gain insight needed to make life better and learning a lifelong experience. Development comes on the heels of technology; technology heralds development. There is no development without the tool of technology.

R:Ed: Mind the Gap operates within Nigeria. Have you encountered any intra-country discrepancies in young people’s and small business owners’ prior knowledge of technology, and if so how do you attempt to resolve those issues?

Of course, not everyone is tech savvy or enthusiastic. Those living in urban areas have more access to opportunities that can transfer digital literacy to them than the rural dwellers. Again, success stories from digital literacy has helped to arouse the interest of most people which is also responsible for the attention that digital literacy is gaining in Nigeria. MindtheGap has digital skills facilitators all over the country who helps to ensure that every youth especially, job seekers are trained and mentored to leverage digital skills to innovate and digitally amplify solutions to businesses and also address issues in their communities.

R:Ed: What do you think is the key way that technology education will evolve in the next ten years in Nigeria or in Africa more broadly?

People quickly embrace and respond to what meets their needs. Hence, the way for technology education to evolve in Nigeria, and in Africa is when it is presented from a solution providing perspective. Sometimes, people don’t want a particular thing except when it is going to meet an existing or perceived need. The knowledge of technology will make sense to most people if they can relate it to a need and how it will make life easier for them. Interestingly, it is already happening and it is evolving. There are many tech startups and innovations springing up in Nigeria, more is coming.

R:Ed: What are your main sources of inspiration in your professional and personal life?

I like this question. My main source of inspiration professionally is to solve social problems and to address challenges confronting human capital development. And, my main source of inspiration personally is to make the voice and life of every child and youth count.

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