As Africa’s first university devoted entirely to national development issues, we believe that learning technology skills can help these young women escape the cycle of violence and inequality that exists in the country, and be advocates for change.
All of the students who attend AUN work with laptops and tablets connected to a WiFi network with 24/7 electricity—rare in this part of the world. They have access to Africa’s largest e-library with more than 210,000 e-books. The Cisco Networking Academy IT Essentials course teaches them computer basics like installing and upgrading hardware and software and troubleshooting systems.
They also take a course in development as it applies to their local communities, which in this part of Nigeria means high poverty and low literacy rates. Jobs are hard to find, infrastructure is poor, and the environment shows signs of the effects of global warming. There’s much to learn and even more to do.
One of the young Chibok students, who wants to become a doctor, said about her village and its burned-out school: “I really want to change the place because of our road, we didn’t have a good road for transport, and it makes it difficult for us to come places.”
Development in Nigeria involves reconciling tribal, ethnic, and religious differences because the northern part of the country is mostly Muslim, while the south is mostly Christian. In response, AUN created API, which takes the university’s development principles and expertise to the surrounding communities, facilitating interfaith dialog and what we call peace through sports, entrepreneurship, literacy, and technology training. This initiative has provided humanitarian relief to over 270,000 people in the region.
In addition to supporting the 21 young women who escaped Boko Haram, our goal is to provide a scholarship to all of the now-captive Chibok girls when they are freed. Soon those who escaped will be completing their first year with us. They are doing well and working hard in a preparatory program that is helping them adjust academically and emotionally before entering our 4-year undergraduate program.