Ajegunle. Located in in the southwestern part of Nigeria, specifically in Lagos State, the commercial hub of Africa’s most populous country.
Admittedly, far away from the many high rise and corporate floors that accomodate local, regional and global conglomerates, further from the polished floors, plush lifts and conference rooms from which the high and mighty interact.
There in Ajegunle, a famed Lagos slum, there is a conscious effort to grow some of the people who will occupy the plush offices and corporate chambers in upscale parts of Lagos and the world.
The mission is a program named LIFE, targeting under-served communities like Ajegunle. Leveraging on digital inclusion and youth development; hundreds have gone through the LIFE program run by social enterprise group, Paradigm Initiative, PIN.
So what is the LIFE program about?
According to PIN’s website, the L. I. F. E. program is an acronym for:
L – Life skills
I – Information and Communication Technology
F – Financial literacy
E – Entrepreneurship
“The program focuses on youth who do not have the financial capacity to acquire relevant ICT, entrepreneurial and life skills that can make them compete in the workplace” the site adds.
So for all the young people, usually aged between 12 – 28 years who are pooled from these underserved communities to receive training, the package is set out in broad terms before they begin the course – which lasts between eight to 10 weeks on average.
“The LIFE center serves as a knowledge hub where youth from the community can be empowered for the world of work. It also serves as a center for the advancement of work place preparedness for the program beneficiaries,” the website adds.
According to PIN’s communication director, Emmanuel Vitus, the entire process from application through orientation, training, examination, graduation and evaluation is robust and structured.
It in fact extends beyond the graduation with the evaluation stage involving the tracking of progress made by beneficiaries and also continued support to their strides where need be.