OrderPaperToday – Paradigm Initiative has announced that its first Digital Rights and Inclusion Learning Lab (DRILL) will commence in February 2020, from its new headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria.

According to Paradigm Initiative, the mission of DRILL is to host creative learning, practice, and reflection in the digital rights and inclusion space in Africa. The lab will connect stakeholders and create conversations among researchers, social innovators, policymakers and actors, the private sector, as well as civil society.

The programme will include future-facing research; presentations; ecosystem meetings and discussions focused on digital rights and/or inclusion hosted within the ecosystem; and general communication about the lab’s activities.

Gbenga Sesan, executive director of Paradigm Initiative, stated, “There are both enormous challenges and opportunities for realizing the ambitious task of creating an inclusive, healthy, safe and open Internet in the coming decade for all Africans, including marginalised and vulnerable populations such as women and girls, people with lower income levels or living in rural communities, sexual minorities, the elderly and persons with disabilities.

“Connecting the next billion, who mostly live on the African continent, requires not only technological and commercial innovations, but also new models of collaboration among all stakeholders.”

He continued, “The selection process for the DRILL Fellowship will be supported by an external advisory group made up of ecosystem leaders, including Alberto J. Cerda Silva (Ford Foundation), Anriette Esterhuysen (Association for Progressive Communications), John Dada (Fantsuam Foundation), Nnenna Nwakanma (World Wide Web Foundation), and Oreoluwa Somolu Lesi (Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre), who will help shape the programme and work with the PIN team to review Fellowship applications.”

The inaugural fellowship of the Digital Rights and Inclusion Learning Lab will be open for an initial period of three months with the option of a renewal of another three months, depending on planned activities and joint reviews between the fellows and Paradigm Initiative.

“As a mid-career fellowship, potential candidates will be expected to have had a minimum of 5 years’ experience as technology or social innovators, researchers, policy experts, and/or entrepreneurs.

“Paradigm Initiative will cover costs associated with learning activities at the Digital Rights and Inclusion Learning Lab and provide office space, an opportunity to be embedded within our team, access to the ecosystem, and feedback on projects throughout the duration of the Fellowship,” Emmanuel Vitus, Communications Officer at Paradigm Initiative added.

Applications are open via the Paradigm Initiative website, www.paradigmhq.org/drill, until December 20, 2019.

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Damilola Zebulun Adeniran
Damilola is a multiple award-winning Writer, Researcher, and Community/Sustainable Development Practitioner. His interests and experience span across media, academics, human capital development, and strategic planning. Damilola is a Paradigm Initiative Digital Rights and Inclusion Media Fellow. He is the first Nigerian in history to win the blog4dev writing contest organised by the World Bank Group. Also, Damilola's writing on violent extremism and sustainable peace in Nigeria won a PeaceWriteNow prize, presented by the Embassy of Ireland in June, 2018. His works have been published in Nigeria and the United States of America, in English and in French. Damilola has also attended important meetings within and outside the African continent including the 2019 Spring Meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington D.C, USA. He was also a special guest on a panel discussion titled “How creative industry can help to stem fragility,” which was held at the headquarters of the World Bank in Washington, D.C, USA. Furthermore, Damilola was selected as a Champion of Advocacy against extreme poverty and preventable diseases by ONE Campaign in May, 2019. An alumnus of the prestigious Lagos Business School and Federal University of Technology Akure, Damilola Adeniran represents Nigeria in the Youth Transforming Africa Program.

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