SWITZERLAND, JULY 28 – Facial recognition, CCTV cameras, fingerprints, and trackers; these were some of the suggestions Nigerian children put forward to solve the country’s lingering and now worsening security challenges in the 2021 SystemSpecs Children’s Day Essay competition. Whilst discerning adult minds know that Nigerian security challenges will also need political and social solutions beyond the deployment of technology, it is refreshing to know that thousands, and perhaps, millions of children across Nigeria still have hope in the country and are creative enough to put their innocent minds to work on proffering technological solutions that will contribute to making the country safer.
Organised by one of the biggest and oldest African technology firms, the SystemSpecs Children’s Day Essay Competition is aimed at developing indigenous IT capacity for national prosperity. In the 2021 edition themed “Building a more secure Nigeria using technology”, students wrote about how the country can overcome its present security challenges through the deployment of technology.
Over 2000 entries were received from students between ages 9 and 16 from secondary schools in all the states of the country, including Borno State, the epicentre of Boko Haram’s deadly insurgency. In the end, 12-year-old Chetachi Best Mbalu of Lagooz College, Iyana Ipaja, Lagos emerged winner in the junior category, whilst 15-year-old Uchenna Rita Ohiaeri of Queensland Academy, Okota, Lagos emerged winner in the senior category.
In spite of its huge success, the annual Children’s Day Essay Competition is just one in a series of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives by SystemSpecs as the firm contributes to increasing ICT proficiency, developing local communities, improving work-life balance, empowering females, and fostering quality education in Nigeria.
In recent times, SystemSpecs has deepened its CSR activities, giving back to its host communities and developing technology capacity via these various initiatives, and more.
One of the other major initiatives in SystemSpecs’ drive to increase local capacity is its continuous support for the Devcamp, and annual intensive software development bootcamp for the next generation of tech talents. Founded by the UK-Nigeria Tech hub and implemented by Wootlab, Devcamp usually culminates in the exhibition of innovative technological solutions developed by participants. Some of the innovative solutions showcased in the last Devcamp include Agrotech, an app that simplifies the communication between investors and farmers, and Medicreen, an AI-powered chatbot that helps to create a medical diagnosis report.
In its drive to develop indigenous IT capacity, SystemSpecs has also organised summer coding classes for young people. The Remita summer coding camp is an annual bootcamp where secondary school students come together to learn and practice their coding and other relevant ICT skills. Through the coding camp, children are being taught about ICT-related topics in order to broaden their horizons and expose them to ICT knowledge early. The two-week programme set in Lagos and Abuja is aimed at building the capacity of the students to become globally competitive via coding and other technology programmes, which in many ways will provide solutions to Nigeria’s perennial challenges.
Another annual initiative deeply supported by SystemSpecs is the Girl-in-ICT Day, organised by the E-business Life magazine. It is an annual event geared at sensitising young girls to take up career paths that are related to ICT. SystemSpecs’ support for the campaign is stemmed on its belief in global competitiveness through manpower development.
SystemSpecs has also partnered with the Lagos State government and other partners to execute some other CSR initiatives targeted at improving local IT capacity and empowering Nigerian youths. These include Code Lagos, ReadySetWork, Educate Lagos and the several hackatons.
According to SystemSpecs’ Executive Director, Deremi Atanda, the tech firm’s CSR has been largely focused on advancing technology capacity for national prosperity. This has informed many of its past initiatives such as the annual summer coding camp for secondary school students, hackathon for university undergrads, advocacy that encourages the involvement of girls in ICT, internship placements for home and Diaspora-based Nigerians, building and equipping of libraries, donation of books to other libraries and constructing blocks of classrooms.
In addition to building great innovators and technology experts, SystemSpecs also wants them to have a balanced work culture. The company’s CSR policy also supports a drive for the promotion of work-life balance in Nigeria’s corporate space. This has led to the organisation of the annual Remita Corporate Champions Cup (RC3) for employees of corporate organisations in Nigeria. The tournament presents staff and management of participating companies a show that helps to lessen the intensity of corporate life, give them an avenue to blow out steam from the workplace and something to cheer about. Moreover, the tournament fosters the spirit of cooperation across brands.
SystemSpecs is a leading provider of financial technology and human resource Management solutions and services, with remarkable products like Remita, HumanManager and Paylink that are helping individuals, businesses, financial institution and governments to solve various problems. Yet, it believes there is more to be done for society via CSR. Through these laudable initiatives, and many more, this pioneering firm continues to make its positive contributions to national development.