Since 2017, Kitan David has led training for over 7000 kids across 8 geographical locations in Africa as chairman of SeedDEV (a not-for-profit). We had a chat with him on the development so far and the next plans for the organization.
Can we meet you?
My name is Aboluwarin Olaoluwa David popularly known as Kitan David. I am the co-founder/Global Talent Lead of PlanetNEST (An incubation hub for both software engineers working remotely with European companies) and Chairman Information Technology Seed Development Initiative (SeedDEV). I am a graduate of Computer Science from the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA) by grade and a Technology Business Development Manager and Sales Executive by Trade.
For us at SeedDev, the plan is to reach out to the unreached children and teenagers with technology education with the hope to spark interest and curiosity in the kids from tender age. We hope to also be a part of their skill development journey. The goal is to reach and train a million kids by 2020, visiting these children in their geographical areas.
Did your tech background affect your drive to lead this revolution?
I grew up in a community of few schools and with a scarce number of them having a computer not to talk of a computer lab. However, having worked as a Nokia Research Center ambassador for West Africa with over 15 national and international awards, I think the idea of democratizing this opportunity to people in all areas has affected my drive. Also, studying computer science based on my interest as a child sparked the thought that I could go back and give these kids an opportunity.
In the same vein, it is line my deep seated passion about building a better Africa by driving innovation and digital literacy across-board and the monthly capacity building/mind enlargement program for young people in career building and entrepreneurship called Growth Academy With KitanDavid (GAWK)
How do you plan to achieve training a million kids by 2020?
We work in partnership with other relevant stakeholders to reach out to the kids in different areas, mostly rural; sensitize, train and plant a SeedBox (A SeedBox is a solar powered, internet enabled, Air conditioned computer facility) in areas visited. With more support from relevant partners and organizations, we would be able to reach more people and execute more impact-focused digital programs.
How can we get more kids to participate in the digital revolution?
Firstly, you cannot become what you do not know. I have had a number of things that I wanted to do growing up, but all of them were things that I had related with, that I knew about from reading and observation. In the same vein, what we do at SeedDev is igniting a fire in the minds of the kids to show them the possibilities and endless opportunities from gaining digital skills. Hence, our well trained curators across the continent expose the kids to the basics of computer literacy and plant the necessary seeds for a future technology careers to blossom.
What has the experience been like reaching the underserved kids in rural areas?
The experience has been interesting. In one of the visits to some riverine rural areas in Ondo State, I met with kids who had never gotten to touch the computer before not to talk of operate it. They came in from different areas of the village to see the people who wanted to teach them how to use the computer, there was an added advantage of drinks and food, so apart from the excitement of learning the basics of computer, there was a bonus of getting something to eat.
So, I would say the experience has been inspiring. The rare privilege of leading the apostles taking the digital gospel to the unreached kids, who could one day lead the technological revolution on the continent starting from Nigeria. However, for every unreached child we meet, there is a feeling that we can do more.
With increased advocacy to have more women in Technology, what role is SeedDev playing in achieving this?
In 2 years, SeedDEV has trained over 400 girls in a 2 week residential bootcamp during the summer in partnership with the BeMORE Girls—an initiative of the First Lady of Ondo State, Chief (Mrs) Betty Akeredolu. We understand that, to get more ladies into the tech space, the best hack to the process is exposing more young girls to technology at an early stage. When this is done well, the curiosity is sparked and then they know the endless opportunities that they can explore in the digital revolution. We want to do more and we will be exploring various partnerships to ensure that African girls get the needed inspiration to take their seat on the tables driving innovation on the continent.
We have done so much in the past year across the geo-political zones in Nigeria. We have scheduled outreach programs in Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana and Mauritius in 2019. At the end, when the conversation starts about building a skilled Africa, we want to have played our part in reaching out to the underserved kids.