When two, talented women with a love of technology and entrepreneurship came together to create a program that would inspire young Nigerian women to further their education and develop entrepreneurial skills, they had no idea how many lives they would positively impact. The Girls Creativity Hub initiative, an iStarter Hub program, was created by Modupe Darabidan along with co-leader Ayooluwa Ebire. The program was designed to be an intensive Creative Designing, Entrepreneurship and Leadership skills acquisition program that teaches out-of-school girls and other young women between the ages of 16 and 25 the skills needed to become young entrepreneurs.
Modupe, Founder and Managing Director for iStarter Hub, a social enterprise that empowers young women and girls through training, peer-to-peer networking and mentorship in the areas of technology, creative designing and entrepreneurship, is deeply passionate about women and youth empowerment and technology. Together with Ayooluwa, Founder of “Girls to Queens”, a nonprofit that empowers young girls with life skills, they wanted to develop a program that would invite women to create value in their lives and in society by growing their skillset.
At the beginning 2020, the 3-month-long preparatory program was teaching creative designing and entrepreneurship skills through its Technology and Entrepreneurship workshop training. The creative designing workshop, which included graphic designing, Tambour beading and printing, was aimed at elevating the creativity of young women. However, toward the completion of their training, the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Lacking access to an in-person training space, the program had to be put on hold. Despite the setback, Modupe and Ayooluwa remained dedicated to seeing these women complete their classes and projects.
With a grant from The Pollination Project, the Girls Creativity Hub Initiative Intervention was put in place as they moved to a virtual environment. To achieve engaging training sessions with participants, they set up a WhatsApp group for weekly meetings with a Dropbox where tutorial videos could be accessed as well as links to YouTube videos. In moving the training online, new participants joined so that a total of 41 young women were able to learn and remain productive during a time when many were losing their jobs.
“The TPP grant helped us migrate part of our project to the virtual space, and this is now a major part of our program. The grant helped us to support young women in our community to keep being productively engaged over the course of the pandemic outbreak and kept the channels of learning opened via WhatsApp, Dropbox and training videos. It also helped us reach a larger audience outside of our immediate community, as the onsite training workshop was only opened to participants from the community,” Modupe shared.
This program continues to be effective at helping more out-of-school girls acquire relevant designing, entrepreneurial and leadership skills for their personal growth and in some cases, their pursuits of admission to tertiary institutions. Now, each year at least 100 women learn to put their creative minds into creating jobs in the Graphics Designing and Printing Technology Space and go on to start their own businesses by applying the skills they have acquired. The Girls Creativity Hub Initiative is an exceptional program that’s changing the lives of women in Nigeria in profound ways.