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Monday, 6 December 2021

Udacity/Access Bank Advance Africa Scholarship Program 2021/2022 (Cohort 2) For Young Africans

Keeping It Real (KIR) Foundation


Udacity is collaborating with Access Bank, a multinational commercial bank, to empower people in Africa who are interested in learning tech-forward skills to kick-start careers in the banking industry in 2021-2022.


Udacity is proud to provide hands-on learning opportunities in fields such as Business Analytics, Programming, Data Science, Product Management and Digital Marketing. Scholarship recipients will complete a portfolio of real-world projects that demonstrate mastery of highly sought-after tech skills.

The Solution

Udacity and Access Bank are committed to closing the divide between the number of tech jobs available and the number of Africans working in tech by providing opportunities to those who would not otherwise have them. That starts with ensuring a robust pipeline of trained, talented tech professionals. Together, they are offering:

  • 2,000 Nanodegree program scholarships for Africans to build practical, in-demand, cutting-edge tech skills.
  • Engagement with classmates in a robust, actively managed student community.
  • Subject matter experts and on-demand tutors.

The scholarship will create upskilling opportunities for individuals and give them the skills needed in the digital world. In fact, the tech industry comprises some of the highest growth, most in-demand careers today.

Programs to choose from:

Take a look at some of the Nanodegree Programs, designed to be the fastest, most flexible way to get employable, practitioner-level skills.


Scholarship timeline:

Cohort 2 applications for the Advance Africa Scholarship Program are open!

  • Applications Accepted: December 1, 2021 - December 29, 2021
  • Challenge Winners Announced: January 7, 2022
  • Challenge Course: January 11, 2022 - February 16, 2022
  • Scholarship Winners Announced: February 25, 2022
  • Scholarship: March 1, 2022 - April 30, 2022

For more information, please visit


Thursday, 2 December 2021

Keeping It Real (KIR) Foundation

 See Me, Not My Disability


It was my 19th birthday and I had gone out for lunch with friends. During our meal, a sudden uproar with people cheering, phone cameras clicking and the song “Happy Birthday to you” filled the air. I felt indifferent and a little confused because I had heard the Happy Birthday song so many times that day and the singing was coming from unfamiliar voices, so other than their proximity, there was no telling if the singing was actually for me. Then, someone took my hand and directed it to a plate with elevated dots made out of what I presumed was candy or some sort of hard chocolate. And gliding my fingers across the plate, I read the phrase “Happy Birthday Enita, from the Chef and Waiters”, written in Braille and within seconds, this had become my best birthday yet. If you haven’t figured it out already, I am visually impaired and this little gesture from the staff at the restaurant had transformed me from a distant spectator at my birthday to being actively involved in the celebration.

Luckily for me, I come from a comfortable family and the majority of challenges I have as a person with disabilities (PWD) are those relating to my comfort and pleasure. However, not every PWD is this privileged and many of them are faced with the uncertainty of food, shelter or even just survival. An accident could occur at any moment in time, and then you realize that buildings are wheelchair-inaccessible, doctors cannot sign language and every gadget is dependent on your ability to see.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that approximately 25 million people in Nigeria are living with one form of disability or the other and with such an alarmingly high number, I often wonder why I hardly come across these 25 million people other than those begging on the streets. This is because our society has neglected a large number of them so greatly that they are now segregated from the world, spending the majority of their lives in Centres for PWDs or at home dependent on their families to cater for their every need.

I understand that there are various degrees to disabilities and some people do need all-around care but, a lot of PWDs are restricted by our communities as opposed to their disabilities. Though achieving goals may be more challenging for PWDs, this does not equate to them being liabilitiesThey tend to advance in other capabilities, and this has been scientifically proven. 

Thus, as a means of evolution and adaptation, defects in one aspect of our bodies increases efficiency in other areas to ensure the survival of the individual. Think about it, how many people with both hands functioning can fry an egg with their feet? But I know at least two amputees (without hands) who can! PWDS provided they are in a nurturing environment, have the propensity to thrive, to do well not just for themselves, but for the society at large.

Several policies relating to PWDs have been put in place in Nigeria, including The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 10 (2015), The Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018 and The National Policy on Inclusive Education (1977), but with the current state of things, there is still so much more to be done. Discrimination against PWDs is prevalent in Nigeria and can be in form of limited employment, lack of access to education, restricted use of public spaces, stigmatization, absence in political offices, underrepresentation in the media, and even unsolicited sympathy to name a few. The first step towards empowering PWDs is to identify the causes of these disabilities to bridge the gap between them and the general population. 

Although a majority of those in Nigeria is a product of violence and warfare, they also frequently occur due to poor medical care, as well as laxity in road safety regulations, fire prevention termination protocol and abject poverty.

The goal is to create a level playing field by equipping PWDs in every way possible to reach their highest potentials in a world that is inherently rigged against them. Some of the ways to achieve these are;

  •  Routine screening: hospitals should enforce routine screening protocol for prevalent disabilities in newborns and infants. When identified early, some of these diseases can be corrected and the irreversible ones can be managed to stop them from progressing. For example, a birth defect like clubfoot can be corrected within the first year of life (as babies have softer bones), yet it is still a common cause of paralysis in Nigeria (About 9,000 of Nigeria's seven million yearly newborns have clubfoot. That is 4.5 per cent of the global 200,000 annual incidences). Screening should also include visual and hearing acuity tests
  • Prioritizing Fire Safety: This can be achieved by requiring mandatory fire extinguishers, fire drills and fire exits in public buildings. Additionally, adequate funding of the Firefighters Brigade is essential to increase efficiency.
  • Prioritizing Road safety: may include additional training requirements for professional drivers (e.g., truck drivers) and regular inspection of their vehicles to ensure that they are up to standard. Also, strict adherence to seatbelt and traffic laws with appropriate fining of defaulters is necessary
  • Training Doctors, Nurses especially midwives who are in charge of births on how to handle emergencies like when an unborn baby is in a distress situation. Some disabilities like cerebral palsy(sometimes caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain during labour and delivery) can be prevented if medical personnel at delivery are competent and efficient. 


  • Improvement of Health Care - For years, Nigeria's health care network has been rated among the worst in the world: a 2018 study in The Lancet of global health care access and quality ranked Nigeria 142nd out of 195 countries. Thus, a lot of Nigerians resort to self-medication which sometimes results in one form of disability. Sometimes, people are medicated with expired drugs or are given an overdose, or are wrongly diagnosed.
  • Educating Healthcare Professionals; courses should be made available for healthcare professionals to increase their sensitivity to PWDs and to equip them in meeting their specific needs.
  • Disability Awareness Day: creating awareness will help to curb the stigmatization of PWDs. In 2021, it is inexcusable that some of us still view PWDs as accursed or the condition as contagious. Educating the population on disabilities will increase tolerance and understanding.
  • Grants and Financial Aids; the government can provide financial assistance for caretakers and institutions that cater for PWDs and through this, improve their quality of life. Also, the release of grants to provide wheelchairs, ramps, Braille books, Newscasters that Sign and anything that equips PWDs to interact with the world will be impactful.
  • Review of current policies regarding PWDs and making adjustments where necessary

In case you are wondering whether you have the financial resources to implement any of the above, not to worry, there are multiple ways you can get involved in making a difference. You could volunteer at a school for the blind, you could also register for Sign Language classes in KIR Foundation, or start advocating for the rights of PWDs online and promote disability inclusion in all your activities. It is truly about ‘Empathy’ because there is a thin line between ability and disability, chances are that you know someone with a disability who was not born that way. So, remember, small gestures of love can go a long way to supporting and encouraging the PWDs in your network. , empowering the largest majority of a marginalized and underserved group of people that make up approximately 15% of the Nigerian population will undoubtedly result not only in socio-economic advancement but more importantly, enable PWDs to reach their potentials. Can you put a price on that?

Please to learn more about how to relate with PWDs, kindly download, KIR Foundation’s Explanatory Guide to The Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018.

Written by Dr Ese Praise Chovwen 

2nd December 2021

KIR Foundation Volunteer


Thursday, 18 November 2021

KIR Foundation celebrates children's day with reading sessions around Nigeria

Keeping It Real (KIR) Foundation

World Children's Day, also known as Universal Children's Day, was first celebrated on 20th November 1954, with the goal of promoting international cooperation, raising awareness among children around the world and improving children's welfare.

The UN General Assembly approved the Declaration of the Rights of the Child on 20th November 1959, which is a significant occasion. The UN General Assembly also adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the same day in 1989.

Since 1990, World Children's Day has been celebrated with different themes adopted to commemorate the event.

The theme for World Children's Day 2021 is "Investing in Our Future Means Investing in Our Children".

Over 262 million children in the world are out of school due to an increase in poverty, natural disasters etc. Children from developing countries tend to be withdrawn from education due to problems related to health and the economy.

When children are denied education, they are likely to experience life-altering challenges like violence, trafficking, forced labour and even malnutrition. An educated child will however gain self-esteem, better career prospect, and Improved mental health.

It is the duty of everyone; mothers and fathers, teachers, uncles and aunts, government leaders, religious and community elders, young people, and children themselves to help make World Children's Day relevant to their communities, societies and nations.

This is why, on Friday the 19th of November, the Keeping It Real Foundation, in collaboration with our implementing partners and volunteers, will hold a special reading session in 30 schools throughout 22 states and Abuja to commemorate World Children's Day 2021.

This is what we do to inspire change through reading.

Monday, 15 November 2021

Commonwealth Shared Scholarship 2022/2023 for full-time Master's study in the United Kingdom

Keeping It Real (KIR) Foundation


Commonwealth Shared Scholarships are offered in partnership with select UK universities.

Purpose: Funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)  Commonwealth Shared Scholarships enable talented and motivated individuals to gain the knowledge and skills required for sustainable development, and are aimed at those who could not otherwise afford to study in the UK.

Intended beneficiaries: Commonwealth Shared Scholarships are for candidates from least developed and lower middle income Commonwealth countries, to undertake full-time Master’s study on selected courses at a UK university.

These scholarships are offered under six development themes.

How to apply

You must apply for your scholarship to be tenable at one of the following approved courses at a participating UK university.

You can apply for more than one course and to more than one university through the Commonwealth Shared Scholarships Scheme, but you may only accept one offer of a Shared Scholarship. Note these awards are only for Master’s courses and not for undergraduate or PhD study.

You must also secure admission to your course in addition to applying for a Shared Scholarship. Please check with your chosen university for their specific advice on when to apply, admission requirements and rules for applying.

You must make your application using the CSC’s online application system, in addition to any other application that you are required to complete by your nominating body. The CSC will not accept any applications that are not submitted via the online application system.

Applications for Commonwealth Shared Scholarships for the academic year 2022/2023 are now open.

Click here to apply

Applications will close at 16:00 (GMT) on 20 December 2021.

You are advised to complete and submit your application as soon as possible, as the online application system will be very busy in the days leading up to the application deadline.

Supporting documentation

Your application must include the following supporting documentation by the closing date to be eligible for consideration:

  • Proof that you are a citizen or have refugee status of an eligible Commonwealth country: a copy of your valid passport (or national ID card) showing your photograph, date of birth, and country of citizenship uploaded to the online application system
  • Full transcripts detailing all your higher education qualifications including to-date transcripts for any qualifications you are currently studying (with certified translations if not in English) – uploaded to the online application system

The CSC will not accept supporting documentation submitted outside the online application system.

You must also provide the names and contact details three referees who will be contacted in advance of the placement stage, should your application be under consideration for a scholarship.

Please note that the CSC does not charge candidates to apply for any of its scholarships or fellowships through its online application system, and it does not charge organisations to nominate candidates.

Scholar eligibility

To apply for these scholarships, you must:

  • Be a citizen of or have been granted refugee status by an eligible Commonwealth country, or be a British Protected Person
  • Be permanently resident in an eligible Commonwealth country
  • Be available to start your academic studies in the UK by the start of the UK academic year in September 2022
  • By September 2022, hold a first degree of at least upper second-class (2:1) honours standard, or a lower second-class degree (2:2) and a relevant postgraduate qualification (usually a Master’s degree).
  • Not have studied or worked for one (academic) year or more in a high-income country
  • Be unable to afford to study at a UK university without this scholarship
  • Have provided all supporting documentation in the required format

The CSC aims to identify talented individuals who have the potential to make change. We are committed to a policy of equal opportunity and non-discrimination and encourage applications from a diverse range of candidates. For further information on the support available to candidates with a disability, see the CSC disability support statement.

The CSC is committed to administering and managing its scholarships and fellowships in a fair and transparent manner. For further information, see the CSC anti-fraud policy and the guidance on reporting fraud.

The CSC is committed proactively to safeguard and promote the welfare of our beneficiaries, and to protect its staff, Commissioners, beneficiaries and all those with whom the CSC comes into contact. The CSC requires staff, members of the Commission, applicants for and recipients of CSC awards and suppliers to act consistently with its requirements for safeguarding. Applicants should note the CSC’s Safeguarding Policy which sets out the obligation for staff, members of the Commission, applicants for and recipients of CSC awards and suppliers to act consistently with its requirements for safeguarding. Any safeguarding concerns should be reported to the Commission at:

For more information click here: