Girls smiling in a classroom (Courtesy of Youth for Technology Foundation)
The digital training these girls receive will prepare them for jobs or to start their own businesses. (Courtesy of Youth for Technology Foundation)

Some 6,000 Nigerian girls will receive training in digital skills in early 2017 from an international foundation that uses technology to empower underprivileged youth and women in the developing world.

“Our mission is really to create a rich learning community where the appropriate use of technology affords opportunities for youth and women living in developing economies,” said Youth for Technology Foundation President and CEO Njideka Harry in an interview.

Njideka founded the foundation at age 25 while working for Microsoft. The group works in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and, more recently, in Latin America in Colombia.

The latest digital training initiative targets out-of-school Nigerian girls who have survived human trafficking or are at risk of falling prey to traffickers.

Female students crowding around a 3-D printer (Courtesy of Youth for Technology Foundation)
Nigerian students learn about 3-D printing in a class offered by the Youth for Technology Foundation. (Courtesy of Youth for Technology Foundation)

Aided by professional mentors and partnerships with local businesses, the foundation’s Nigeria hubs will teach literacy, numeracy, business and financial inclusion, in addition to 3-D printing and other skills. When training is done, the girls will receive certification that will help them find apprenticeships or jobs, or start their own businesses.

With the explosive growth of mobile technology in parts of the world like Africa, Harry said it is important that young people learn not just to become consumers, but also to create mobile apps that would be useful to their communities.

Women spend about 70 percent of discretionary consumer spending in the global economy, so “they are a huge piece of the global economy itself,” she said. “Investing in women is not just an afterthought, it’s really an economic imperative.”

The foundation has trained 1.6 million women and youths and helped start and expand 12,000 businesses.

Add to that another 6,000 eager Nigerian girls.