A Tech Revolution on The Horizon? A Look at The Facebook Developer Circles in Maiduguri

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The last decade has been quite a challenging time for the people of North east Nigeria. Insurgency, poverty and unemployment have been making the headlines from this region; ask anyone what he thinks of the region and you get a blunt negative feedback. However, in reality that’s not the case, there is lot of amazing and positive things happening in the northeast, one of which is a rising tech engagement and adoption. Borno State in particular has been the most vibrant in in this regard. With the advent of tech community, Facebook Developer Circles Maiduguri, the state is setting the pace in the northeast.

The community is led by Ahmed Idris, a tech evangelist and community builder in the north. Since its launch in September 2017, Developer Circles Maiduguri has held a number of meetups and events tailored to empower its members with tech skills that will enable them to tackle local challenges and also earn a living. Its first event for the year 2018 was a three day web development masterclass to teach its new and non-technical members how to develop and design beautiful websites. Starting from the January 19th to 21st, 2018; it held an intensive 9 hours of code session which saw about 50 people in attendance, out of which nine were women.

Developer Circles Maiduguri in order to encourage diversity and inclusion of women in media and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) held a Women In Tech Meetup also on January 21st,2018. The objective of the meetup was to bring professional and experienced women in the fields of media and STEM so as to rub minds with a new crop of women in order to encourage them to choose careers in those fields. The President Association of Professional Women Engineers in Nigeria in person of Engr. Hauwa Sadique, represented by Engr. Aisha Mustafa Umara was present at the event. Others speakers include Fatima Yakaru, a lecturer at the department of Computer Engineering in the University of Maiduguri, they both gave a talk on career development.

Ane Itodo, the female co-lead for Facebook Developer Circles Bauchi was also present to give a presentation on creative technology. She emphasized on the need for younger women to take the wheel when it comes to applying their creative abilities to tech. There was also a speech on leadership by the co-lead of Developer Circles Maiduguri, Fatimah Dawud. She discussed why key leadership roles and responsibilities must be taken by women, as this will encourage more participation of women in media and STEM.

One cannot deny that the narrative is beginning to change in the northeast and Borno State is set on a course to reclaim its past glory days. There are other local tech communities like Borno Tech Forum under the amiable stewardship of Abubakar Gambo, a seasoned software developer, mentor and innovator. The forum has been an avenue for tech savvy individuals and enthusiasts to meet and forge ahead the future while leveraging on technology. Its members have over the years created and developed amazing software and tech solutions for the consumption of the immediate community. Recently, one of its members launched a mobile application (Kin Reunifier) that reunifies lost kin members and families affected by insurgency. The app is been tested at the IDP camps situated in Maiduguri, the capital city of Borno.

No doubt these developments wouldn’t become an overnight success but a gradual process that will consume the whole community in its entity with a lot of disruptive and innovative changes. We hope to see a better Borno and the northeast in the nearest future.

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