Building the digital knowledge of community leaders with Fantsuam

Through this project, community leaders in the Kaduna State in Nigeria receive trainings to increase their digital knowledge.

Project status: Closed

Country: Nigeria

Partner: Fantsuam Foundation

Impact goal: 50 people

About the project

The offline population in Kaduna State is disproportionately poor, rural, uneducated, elderly, and female. The rural communities where Fantsuam Foundation works, typically have no access to the grid and have poor road networks. Adult literacy rate in Kaduna State is 47%. For these groups, the lack of necessary knowledge and skills to use available connectivity is a big obstacle. Toghether with Fantsuam, we will increase the basic digital literacy and digital knowledge and skills of the 11 chiefs (Hakimai) of Jema’a Local Government.

Results of the project 

The original aim of the project was to build the digital knowledge and skills of in total 50 male and female community leaders in Kaduna State. The target for the training was 50 community leaders comprising 15 females and 35 males. Requests received to participate for the project were 120. The project resulted in the training of 17 female leaders and 33 male leaders. 

The project attracted 120 participants (47 females, and 73 males), out of which we could only enrol 50 (17 females and 33 males) for the training. The selection process was difficult because of the enthusiasm expressed by the applicants. It was the participants’ first introduction to digital literacy and none of them has ever owned a smartphone. The training enabled them to explore how to operate and maintain their smartphones. One of them said “Now I have a better understanding of why I should support and promote the establishment of the eLibrary”.

Changes and unforeseen challenges during the project 

A change that could have adversely affected the project was the sudden devaluation of the national currency. This led to severe price hikes on almost all items and made the cost of living very high. Fortunately, the timely disbursement of funds and the immediate purchase of the smartphones, made it possible to be able to have these phones at the price stated in the original funding agreement. 

The project implementation phase coincided with two national events, one of which was anticipated, while the other was not. We had expected to have a national election and that took place fairly peacefully. However, this was preceded by a sudden introduction of a new cashless policy and currency redesign. This adversely affected our rural constituency where most people are unbanked, and they operate mostly in the informal economy. The timing of the new policy had a severe negative impact on many whose livelihoods depended on the informal economy.

The new policy revealed how vulnerable the rural, unbanked folks can be when policy decisions are taken without adequate public awareness-raising.

Future plans

Fantsuam Foundation was able to identify three new services which can reduce the impact of such policies on the rural informal economy. This project provided a unique opportunity of having the community leaders within a learning environment. This project was therefore leveraged to provide the following additional training along with the digital literacy:

  1. Community Network 
  2. Rural Electricity Users Cooperative Society. 
  3. Village Savings and Loans Association (this has potential of developing into rural mobile banking) 

This project therefore facilitated the beginning of three important services which Fantsuam Foundation will be integrating into its programs. Each of these services will lead to higher levels of digital literacy. 

About the partner

Fantsuam Foundation a female led organization on a mission to eliminate poverty and disadvantage among women and youths through integrated development programs in the Kaduna State in Nigeria.

Visit their website here to learn more about them.