The outbreak of the novel conoravirus in Nigeria and the subsequent lockdown of most human activities, particularly in Abuja, Lagos and Ogun states to curb the spread brought plenty time and opportunities for many Nigerians to upscale their skills.
Writing, project management, baking, make-up, digital engagements and WhatsApp marketing and website designs were some of the paid and unpaid trainings available online during the lockdown to interested Nigerians.
Driven by passion for human capacity development, some young Nigerians offered free online skills acquisition during the lockdown.
Blessing Ezeagu, popularly known online as Adnah Rose, is a 24-year-old emerging social entrepreneur and digital strategist. The graduate of Geosciences, Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO), is the first of eight children and a native of Anambra State. The young lady, who said she was passionate about human capacity development and digital marketing, organised a two-day WhatsApp webinar during the lockdown tagged ‘Five legit ways you can make money online from home.’
Four hundred people from different parts of Nigeria and outside the country participated in the training. Her aim, she said, was to get rid of fear in participants and help them acquire digital knowledge strategies that can help them generate money online even after the COVID-19 pandemic
“Sincerely speaking, I wasn’t expecting the large number of people that participated in the training. Initially, the target was to empower 200 people with digital knowledge but we had to allow more people following the massive interest. Thanks to my team. They made it possible for me to manage two WhatsApp groups for the training.
“I didn’t gain anything financially but I gained new friends and new business gateways. The exercise was an opportunity for me to impact people’s lives. I got amazing feedback from my participants and seeing them happy about the value they got from the free WhatsApp webinar was so fulfilling,” she explained.
Adarighofua Ezekiel, known as OAP Ezekiels de COP, is an indigene of Delta State. The 25-year-old graduate of Mechanical Engineering is the creative director of Showglass Media and convener of the Conclave of Creatives. He currently works as a television and radio presenter at the Osun State Broadcasting Corporation (OSBC) and Woodword Radio.
During the lockdown, he created Conclave Online Hub with his team to empower creative minds. The hub hosted courses for four groups of art and creative people on WhatsApp. They had over 600 participants. Each group had over four training sessions taught by 16 facilitators from within and outside Nigeria during the three-day creative training programme. They taught participants on acting, presenting, cinematography, graphics design, spoken word poetry, filmmaking, voice over/voice acting, song writing and music production, as well as various forms of writing including poetry, news, article, poetry, script and story writing.
Said he: “All these trainings were done for free to enable creative minds take advantage of the excess time engendered by the lockdown as well as to ensure their creating process enjoyed improved learning, networking and found expression in their preferred line of act.
“The programme was originally planned to be a physical event to be held in Osogbo, Osun State. But that was hampered due to the pandemic. The Showglass team decided to test-run it online just to ensure we are doing something already.
“My joy came from seeing the impact on the participants. They shared their testimonies of how they have begun to do what they had never done in the field of creativity and how their craft has improved by reason of the training sessions. It gave my team and I the assurance that we are contributing our quota in using media as a tool to change societal narratives, promote the culture and touch lives.”
One of the outstanding testimonies he recounted was that of one Pelumi Ogunbanjo. He noted that she decided to start a career in story writing after a class she had during the exercise. Her first write-up was an assignment given by the story writing facilitator. She did the assignment and shared it on her social media platforms as instructed. Someone contacted her of his interest to turn it into a short movie.
Adeshola Ogunfowora is the managing director of Desamoye Business Enterprises, which specialises in small business start-up training and consulting services. In her early 30s and from Ogun State, Adeshola is a graduate of Business Administration from University of Abuja. She studied Graphic Designs and other related courses online with Shaw Academy, Dublin. She is a graphic designer by profession with over 15 years experience.
According to her, she has done lots of free online and offline classes since 2010. From January this year, she decided to organise free online courses every month. To this end, she has trained over 1, 000 persons on mini importation business, graphic designs, social media and Instagram business. During the lockdown, she conducted four free online trainings and had over 200 people participate in her two-to-five days classes. She also opened a business channel with 225 subscribers where she writes on how small businesses can cope during COVID-19, working online and other alternatives to earn during and after the lockdown period.
Talking about why she conducted these trainings, she said: “I understand that many youths and graduates in Nigeria are not fully employed. Some need to gain skills to do business that they will survive with, and some youths are computer illiterate. I reasoned that by conducting free trainings, I would be contributing to society by helping some people to gain skills that they can start working with and be self-employed.
“When I train people and they put it to work or give me good feedbacks or thank me in any way, it gives me happiness and satisfaction. It shows me I am not teaching people in vain. One of my students gave a review on the group that said I was a good leader, selfless and show a great deal of hard work and dedication with years of experience and urged people to follow me to learn more. I will say that was outstanding for me. I was very happy to receive such a review”.