US Unveils $25,000 Digital Hub for Persons with Disabilities


Bennett Oghifo
Acting United States Consul General, Darcy Zotter, on Tuesday unveiled a Disability-Friendly Digital Hub, established by a Nigerian civic organisation, Project Enable, with the support of the US Government Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund of $25,000.

The US Consulate General in Lagos also provided additional funding of $4,401 to keep this digital hub running, hosted at the Lagos office of the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD).

Speaking at the formal opening of the digital hub, Zotter explained that promoting disability rights is an integral part of promotion of human rights.
She added that discrimination against people with disabilities is not only unjust but hinders economic development and limits democracy and social cohesion.

“We are happy to identify with this initiative which seeks to promote the empowerment and social inclusion of persons living with disabilities in Nigeria. Through this technology and entrepreneurship hub, over 250 people with disabilities will have free access to inclusive technology.

“An additional 20 young persons with disabilities will be trained and mentored in various technology-based skills at the hub,” Zotter said at the event attended by civil society leaders and senior government officials working on disability issues.

The technology and entrepreneurship hub seeks to promote the empowerment and social inclusion of persons with disabilities. It will provide volunteer opportunities to young people with disabilities while serving as a center for their continuous development in entrepreneurship.

Project Enable is led by Mr. Olusola Owonikoko, a 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow and 2014 Fellow of the Carrington Youth Fellowship Initiative (CYFI).
Through the Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund, 68 grants of up to $25,000 each were awarded in 2017 to US government exchange alumni teams worldwide including Project Enable, to support their public service projects, said a statement by the US information office.

“The US Department of State created the Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) in 2011 to support alumni initiatives that promote shared values and innovative solutions to global challenges.

“Since its inception, the AEIF has supported more than 300 alumni-led initiatives around the world, and reached millions of people through trainings, awareness campaigns, leadership and empowerment initiatives.”