Over 600 Students in Lagos Empowered with Artificial Intelligence Skills by SiidAfrica and Coappt Solutions

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SiidAfrica and Coappt Solutions envisioned a revolutionary project aimed at bridging the AI knowledge gap among Nigerian youth. Driven by a commitment to empower the next generation, they launched the AI Revolution Youth Project with the ambitious goal of equipping young Nigerians with the skills and knowledge to harness AI for societal good.

The pilot activities of the ‘AI Revolution Youth Project’ was launched through a ‘Students Program’ across prominent higher institutions in Lagos, Nigeria. The students program aims at bridging the AI knowledge gap and ignite a passion for this transformative technology in students across higher institutions.

The AI Revolution Students Program, a groundbreaking initiative led by SiidAfrica Initiatives for Youth Development with support from Coappt Solutions, with the pilot phase implemented in Lagos in partnership with American Corner Ikeja, Tech4Dev, Ayisat Ajoke Afolabi Foundation, and Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), has set a new benchmark in AI education and youth empowerment in Nigeria.

Over the past few months, this transformative program has captured the hearts and minds of students across six prominent higher institutions in Lagos, igniting a fervor for artificial intelligence and its potential to reshape the future.

The program engaged students in different activities like;
– 3-hours workshop in each of the institutions
– 3 days intensive AI training bootcamp
– Mentorship community with professionals
– Networking events for sustainable engagements

The program gained rapid traction as applications for the AI Revolution Student Program opened, attracting over 1,000 responses within the first week while interest in the program soared, with 3,430 students in total expressing their eagerness to participate from the six selected institutions:
– Lagos State University of Science and Technology (LASUSTECH)
– University of Lagos (Unilag)
– Yaba College of Technology (YabaTech)
– Lagos State University (LASU) – Lagos State University of Education (LASUED), and
– Federal College of Education (FCE), Akoka.

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A fast growing virtual community with over 2,000 members was also established for the students.

Highlights from the workshops
3-hour workshops were successfully conducted at four of the six institutions (LASUSTECH, YabaTech, Unilag, and LASU). The workshops saw an overwhelming turnout of over 600 students, marking the beginning of an inspiring journey.

Highlights from the 3 days Bootcamp
The highlight of the program was a 3-day intensive AI Bootcamp at American Corner Ikeja, where 70 students received hands-on training, culminating in the graduation of 62 participants.
The AI Revolution Students Program bootcamp was meticulously designed to introduce students to the core concepts and practical applications of AI.

Key topics covered included:
– Introduction to AI: Fundamentals, key concepts, and current trends, led by Samuel Odusanya, Co-Founder & COO of Coappt Solutions.
– Generative AI: Advanced applications, modeling, and regulatory compliance, presented by Shalom Favour Bulus, a Cyber Defense Analyst.
– Machine Learning: Supervised and unsupervised learning, algorithms, and industry use cases, taught by Stephen Adikwu, Machine Learning/AI Agent Developer.
– Practical Demos: Including OpenAI Playground, GPT API and AI Chatbot development, facilitated by Samuel Odusanya and Stephen Adikwu.
– Cybersecurity: Understanding cyber threats and the impact of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, explained by Shalom Favour Bulus.
– Prompt Engineering: Practical demos on various AI platforms, conducted by G.O. Lawal, Co-Founder & CEO of Coappt Solutions.
– Sustainability: Environmental sustainability, sustainability accounting, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), discussed by Shalom Favour Bulus.

Participants were divided into seven groups to develop solutions addressing the SDGs, resulting in innovative projects spanning human rights, environment, security, health, and education.

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The graduation marked the beginning of a new chapter, as members of the seven groups advanced to the Coappt Incubation Program. Over six months, they will receive further training to bring their solutions to life, culminating in presentations at the Social Impact Tech Week in December 2024.

Graduation and Future Prospects
The graduation ceremony, a significant milestone for the program, featured esteemed guests including:
– Dr. Abiola Akiyode Afolabi: Founder of Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC) and Director of the University of Lagos Human Rights Centre, who delivered a keynote address on “The Future of Social Impact in a Tech-Paced World.”
– Mr. Akeem Aponmade (Esq): President of the United States Government Exchange Alumni Association (USGEAA), Lagos.
– Mrs. Foluke Ademokun: Executive Coordinator of Ayisat Ajoke Afolabi Foundation.
– Amb. Mark Idiahi: Convener of the Future Leadership Conference.

Their inspiring messages emphasized the program’s impact in fostering AI awareness and engagement among young Nigerians.

Engaging Discussions and Looking Forward
An engaging panel discussion, featuring Stephen Adikwu and Samuel Odusanya, and moderated by G.O. Lawal, focused on the future of AI in Nigeria. Topics included the country’s readiness for the AI revolution, preserving African culture in the AI era, and bridging the generational knowledge gap.

In his closing remarks, G.O. Lawal expressed gratitude to all partners, student leaders, school authorities, and the dedicated program team. He outlined ambitious plans to expand the AI Revolution Youth Project to all local governments in Lagos, leveraging the pilot’s success for broader implementation in other states, starting with Southwest Nigeria.

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Acknowledgments
SiidAfrica Initiatives for Youth Development and Coappt Solutions extend heartfelt thanks to all partners, including American Corner Ikeja, Tech4Dev, Ayisat Ajoke Afolabi Foundation, and WARDC, for their invaluable support. Special recognition goes to the dedicated program team: Ibrahim Temitope Khadijat, Programs Manager; Abimbola Lawal, Operations Manager; Bolu Oladele, Content Strategist; Muiz Bada, Program and IT Associate; and Mba Heritage for their commitment to the program’s success.

Conclusion
The AI Revolution Students Program has laid a robust foundation for AI education and youth empowerment in Nigeria. By equipping young Nigerians with essential skills and knowledge, the program has sparked a passion for AI, positioning them as active participants in the global AI landscape. This initiative marks a significant step towards a future where Nigerian youth can leverage AI to solve pressing societal challenges, contributing to national development and global innovation.

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