Sep 21, 2016 | By Alec

3D printers are increasingly finding their way to schools all over the world, as education boards have started to recognize the immense added value that 3D printing and 3D modeling courses bring to a child’s future career. Importantly, early exposure to 3D printing can increase the likelihood of kids opting for STEM education in the future. But 3D printer adoption rates differ from school to school, depending where you live. As a result, many people won’t be surprised to learn that schools in Nigeria (with a 34.1 percent poverty rate) do not have access to 3D printing. But that is about to change, as the Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF) has just revealed plans to bring courses in 3D printing and digital skills to 6,000 Nigerian girls.

If successful, this would be a huge opportunity for so many girls who would otherwise not have the opportunity to pursue a technological career. In fact, educational 3D printing is mostly limited to a handful of schools in several western and Asian countries. Just a few months ago, a British government report called for 3D printers in all schools across Britain, while Hungarian 3D printing specialists are working hard to bring 3D printers to every school in in the country.

Yet few people would’ve guessed that Nigeria could find its own place on the 3D printing map. The country is rich in oil and gas, and yet is home to one of the worst levels of income inequality in the world. A third of the population is living in poverty, and the Youth for Technology Foundation knows it well. The foundation was actually founded in the Niger Delta region in 2000, the most undeveloped part of Nigeria that is ironically home to the largest national deposits of gas and oil as well. Unemployment, pollution a chaotic local economy is absolutely normal there, leading to youth unrest, HIV/AIDS epidemics and a total lack of governance and social services. Due to high mortality levels, 62 percent of the population there is aged thirty or younger.

Especially young women are virtually unemployable in the region, in part due to terrible education. Since its foundation, the YTF has been working hard to improve living conditions and services in the region, and has since exported their educational programs to comparable regions all over the world. “Economic empowerment increases women’s access to resources and opportunities, including jobs, financial services, property and other productive assets, skills development, and market information. Investing in women and girls has a multiplier effect on productivity, efficiency and sustained economic growth,” they say of their services.

Learning valuable skills is an important aspect of economic empowerment, and YTF will therefore start offering 3D printing training courses at YTF digital hubs in Nigeria. The courses will be taught by YTF master trainers, female stem professionals and industry experts. Also involved will be grassroots organizations that provide education on sexual and reproductive health rights. Apprenticeships at local companies will also be provided.

What’s more, the girls will learn other employment-ready digital, business and entrepreneurial skills as well, and receive education on basic literacy, math, and finances if necessary. All courses will be relying on human-centered and problem-solving education principles. The girls will also be awarded certifications they can use in later life.

Education, YTF argues, is key in lifting up impoverished girls and break the endless cycle of poverty. Especially the STEM fields holds plenty of opportunities, says YTF president and CEO Njideka Harry. “Every day, we see first-hand that technology levels the playing field for girls,” the CEO said. “Technology provides equal access to in-demand 21st century jobs. Our commitment includes training in 3D printing, an industry forecasted to grow as much as $30 billion by 2025. We believe this is a powerful catalyst for girls to create their own online businesses to market their digital skills or products, access employment globally, escape poverty and experience true financial freedom.”

This ambitious plan will be presented at the 2016 Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting, and is scheduled to launch in the first half of 2017.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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Tunji wrote at 9/23/2016 1:32:27 PM:

This is a good initiative. Perhaps you can partner with Akinwole from Stampar3D who is already offering 3D Printing courses and workshops to individuals. Not sure but I think to schools as well. Anything that increases awareness of this will surely be beneficial to everyone! Well done!

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