Utiva, a Nigerian tech education platform, announced the launch of the Wunming Scholarship – an initiative to empower 500 disabled persons.

The inspiration behind the Wunming Scholarship is Utiva's social media manager, Omowunmi Samson, who has a mobility impairment. The name of the scholarship is a play on her name and the word "winning". Her mobility impairment is caused by a spinal cord compression - a condition she has lived with for 14 years.

The condition means that she has to rely on walking aid to go about her every day business, but that hasn't stopped her. Wunmi leads Utiva's communications and team strategy, coordinating an ecosystem of over 5000 talents.

Omowunmi Samson (R) pictured next to Utiva CEO, Eyitayo Ogunmola (L)

Utiva has been active since 2017, developing professionals in Africa and North America for the future of work. The organization boasts an ecosystem of over 5000 trained talents and 200+ faculty members. Using their remote learning platform, they have trained and helped professionals from over 300 companies.

The Wunming initiative is a welcome one considering the difficulties that people with disabilities face in Nigeria. Per a 2005 study, the unemployment rate among the differently-abled in Nigeria stood at 61%. Given the ongoing pandemic and climbing unemployment all around the country, it is safe to assume those numbers have gotten worse in recent times.

Disabilities cause inequalities that breed poverty, which often worsens the plight of the people living with them. They suffer economic disadvantages and fewer employment opportunities due to the lack of appropriate education.

The goal of the project is to help people with disabilities gain skills that help them become valuable and aid workplace inclusion. Its target is to train 500 people with top digital skills that employers are hiring for. Some of the skills on offer in the Wunming training include:

  • Data Science
  • Product Design
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Product Management
  • Digital Marketing

Speaking on the project, Utiva CEO, Eyitayo Ogunmola was quoted as saying, "When we hired Wunmi, we certainly had doubts.' But what we have realized over time is that her mind is super active, and she beats our imagination with the quality of the work she does. Technology education is the best form of education you can give to a man- it connects the human mind to the digital economy.'"

Over 80 differently-abled people have registered for the training, and the first batch of classes has already started. One of the early participants, David Adesina, remarked that he was grateful to Utiva for the opportunity to learn premium tech skills and develop the capacity to thrive.

At the end of the training, the people will be transitioned into Utiva's Virtual Internship Programs for three months, which will create a path to new roles and jobs. Interested participants can apply for the Wunming Scholarship here.