Venture capital /
Nigerian fintech Lidya raises $6.9m in Series-A round led by Omidyar Network [Updated]By Staff Reporter on 24 May, 2018
Nigerian fintech startup Lidya has announced that it has raised $6.9-million in a Series A round led by Silicon Valley-based philanthropic investment firm Omidyar Network.

The startup’s platform assists small African businesses to manage their funds as well as access credit. The startup was founded in 2016 by Tunde Kehinde, and Ercin Eksin.

In an announcement in a statement yesterday (23 May) Lidya said the funding will be used to scale operations in Nigeria, as well as to launch in new markets in Africa, in addition to hiring more staff and expanding the company’s loan book.

A total of five investors: Alitheia Capital, Accion Venture Lab, Bamboo Capital Partners, Newid Capital, and Tekton Ventures also participated in the round which saw Omidyar Network investment principal Ameya Upadhyay joining Lidya’s board.

Lidya plans to use the funding to scale in Nigeria, hire more staff, expand its loan book , and launch into new markets in Africa,
“We are excited by the overwhelming support from the investor community, which signals a great confidence in our business model and team,” said Eksin.

Upadhyay said the startup — through its algorithms which analyse data from small businesses to assess creditworthiness — was able to provide flexible and affordable credit, which he said is “at the crux of unlocking growth” for small and medium sized businesses.

“This data-driven approach allows the company to offer loans without the need of hard collateral, a requirement that has scuttled MSME (micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises) financing in Africa,” said Upadhyay.

Since its launch, Lidya claims it has provided over 1500 loans to business operating in retail, farming, tech, hospitality, and logistics.

Last year, the startup — which is a participant of the MasterCard Start Path Programme — raised $1.25-million in a seed round led by Accion Venture Lab.

Editor’s note (30 May 2018): Subsequent to the publication of this article, Ameya Upadhyay, investment principal at Omidyar Network, responded to Ventureburn’s request for comment on the deal, saying it is the funder’s policy not to disclose equity stake or size of individual investments, “as we consider that proprietary information”.

When asked how the deal had come about, Upadhyay said the funder had known Lidya “for more than one and a half years” and have been following the progress of the company since its inception.

“Beyond a solid, experienced team, who has deep knowledge of the local context and challenges, we were also very excited by the traction of the company in the market, even at this early stage,” he added in an email to Ventureburn.

Featured image (left to right): Lidya founders Ercin Eksin and Tunde Kehinde (Supplied)


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Federal Government Scholarship Award 2018/2019 Form is Out

Jun 15, 2018 3:35 AM

Commonwealth Scholarship 2018

The Federal Government Scholarship Award 2018/2019 Form is Out and the application form are available online at and can be completed and printed by prospective candidates for endorsement by their HOD and Registrars of your institutions. Federal Ministry of Education hereby invites applications from qualified Nigerian Students in Nigerian Public tertiary institutions to participate in the 2018/2019 selection interviews for scholarship awards tenable in Nigerian tertiary institutions.

Eligibility Criteria
University Undergraduate:

  • All applicants must be full-time students in their second year of study and above in Federal or State Universities, they must have a minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.0 on a 5.0 point scale or its equivalent in the previous academic year’s examinations.

Higher National Dilploma (HND):

  • All applicants must be full-time students in their second year of study in any of the Federal or State Polytechnics or Monotechnics, they must have a minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 3.5 on a 4 scale or its equivalent in the previous academic year’s examinations.

Nigerian Certificate in Eeducation (NCE):

  • All applicants must be full-time students in their second year of study and above in any Federal or State Colleges of Education and they must have a minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 3.5 on a 4 point scale, or its equivalent in the previous academic year’s examinations.

Postgraduate Scholarship:

  • Applicants must be registered full-time students of Federal or State universities and must have a minimum of second class Honours (Upper Division) in their 1st Degree.

Interview Dates

  • Northern States: (North East, North West & North Central): 19th – 23rd March, 2018
  • Southern States: (South East, South West & South South): 26th – 30th March, 2018

Interview Venue:

  • Federal Unity Colleges in each State Capital including FCT.
  • Where there is no Unity School in the State Capital, candidates should contact: The Secretary, State Scholarship Board in that State.

Interview Schedule

Zone: North East – Date: 19th – 23rd March, 2018


  • Universities – Monday/Tuesday
  • Polytechnics – Wednesday
  • Colleges of Education – Thursday
  • Collation – Friday
  • Departure – Saturday

Venue: Federal Government College in each State capital

Zone: North West – Date: 19th – 23rd March, 2018


  • Universities – Monday/Tuesday
  • Polytechnics – Wednesday
  • Colleges of Education – Thursday
  • Collation – Friday
  • Departure – Saturday

Venue: Federal Government College in each State capital

Zone: North Central – Date: 19th – 23rd March, 2018


  • Universities – Monday/Tuesday
  • Polytechnics – Wednesday
  • Colleges of Education – Thursday
  • Collation – Friday
  • Departure – Saturday

Venue: Federal Government College in each State capital

Zone: South East – Date: 26th – 30th March, 2018


  • Universities – Monday/Tuesday
  • Polytechnics – Wednesday
  • Colleges of Education – Thursday
  • Collation – Friday
  • Departure – Saturday

Venue: Federal Government College in each State capital

Zone: South South – Date: 26th – 30th March, 2018


  • Universities – Monday/Tuesday
  • Polytechnics – Wednesday
  • Colleges of Education – Thursday
  • Collation – Friday
  • Departure – Saturday

Venue: Federal Government College in each State capital

Zone: South West – Date: 26th – 30th March, 2018


  • Universities – Monday/Tuesday
  • Polytechnics – Wednesday
  • Colleges of Education – Thursday
  • Collation – Friday
  • Departure – Saturday

Venue: Federal Government College in each State capital
How to Apply
Interested and qualified candidates should
to Start Application Online.

Application Closing Date
18th March, 2018.

Application Instruction
Completed Application Forms should be printed (for endorsement by their HOD and Registrars of their institutions.) and submitted at the various interview centers alongside the following photocopies below:

  • Letter of admission to the institution
  • Current Course Registration Form
  • Student Identity Card
  • Last sessional CGPA result
  • Letter of identification from State/Local Government of origin
  • Two passport-size photographs with name fully written at the back


  • All qualified candidates who have completed their prescribed application forms for the Nigerian Awards scholarship should attend selection interviews as scheduled
  • Application forms that are incorrect, incompletely filled or without the necessary documents will not be processed;
  • All Application forms must be duly signed and stamped by their HOD and Registrar

Candidates must attend interviews with the following:

  • Writing materials such as pen, HB pencil and eraser.
  • Originals of certificates for screening
  • Interview starts by 8.00a.m. Daily.
  • Candidates are advised to adhere strictly to the interview schedule.

All Correspondences should be addressed to:
The Director/Secretary,
Federal Scholarship Board
FME Annex, Opp. Arewa Suites
Central Business District


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Teach with Passion, Learn with Imagination
July 4, 2017 Observatory of Educational Innovation
See this content in the original post

Photo: Shane Wenzlick

By Carmelo Cattafi Bambaci

We often compare the different generations of students and wonder whether, as teachers, we can truly innovate to keep up with those born in the year 2000, whose lives revolve around technology.

Based on this premise, a group of professors created an educational innovation model that helps teachers to facilitate student learning through the development of creativity in how, when and where learning is generated, integrating challenging, interactive experiences by means of activities included in their teaching practice.

Teachers can discover and drive student’s talents, cultivate their artistic sensibility and intuition, using art as the trigger in the flexibilization of creative thinking.
The aim of the project “Teach with Passion, Learn with Imagination” is for teachers to achieve personal change through self-knowledge, artistic sensitization and balance between the brain hemispheres, in order to strengthen their creative thinking and impact their academic work. This allows teachers to discover and drive their talents, cultivate artistic sensibility and intuition, using art as the trigger in the flexibilization of creative thinking.

We produced an interdisciplinary workshop (thought and word, mind and body, music, visual arts) in which teachers, through practical and experiential activities, activate their imagination, recognize their creative and innovative thinking talents, and develop resources that they will subsequently transfer to their teaching practice. They design of challenging learning experiences that encourage students to use their creativity to solve tasks and projects.

The use of traditional methods has overburdened, exhausted and put pressure on teachers. Therefore, the contribution of this project focuses on teachers so they can embrace their innovative, creative work, and view themselves as transforming leaders in their teaching practice, establishing new teaching-learning spaces. Implementing learning activities through our imagination and measuring the impact on students of the use of creative activities allows us to improve what we are doing right now.

Implementing learning activities through our imagination and measuring the impact on students of the use of creative activities allows us to improve what we are doing right now.
To fulfill this objective, a meeting was organized for eight teachers from different areas, but with a common goal, convinced that creativity improves the performance of teachers who redesign their activities to enable students to learn in a more dynamic manner. The aim was to improve the performance of students who were introduced to the subjects through didactic methods that had been modified by the teacher according to the passions observed outside the classroom. Activities were designed to stimulate creativity through the senses, linking the course content to the discovery or affirmation of each student’s talent.

One professor developed the activity “learn through poetry” in which students had to interpret a poem in light of the curricular content of the course. At the end of the activity, students found it much easier to understand international relations by analyzing them from diverse facets. Another activity consisted of interpreting a topic from the course curriculum by creating a poem, song, story, educational video or picture. On completing the activity, students showed that they had assimilated concepts that they often find difficult and, more importantly, they did so delighting in their talent.

From the perspective of some professors, the project’s limitations could lie in the resistance to change. Several hours of training are required and sometimes teachers simply don’t have that much spare time. A fear of criticism exists because some activities are far removed from traditional classes. Nevertheless, students seem to learn more through an activity that links the content with a poem or a song. Moreover, measuring the impact on teachers and students has not been easy since the teacher evaluation instrument has changed over the past few years, making it difficult to find a cause-effect relationship between student performance and the implementation of the activity, since there are different groups every semester.

Can students learn more dynamically? Can their grades improve and can they attend class with more enthusiasm, motivated by a teacher who uses emotions to awaken their interest in the course?

The development of the artistic dimension is being taken into account so educators can discover, within their area of specialization, their talent for creating new ways of teaching students to resolve tasks and projects through the design of challenging experiences.

This project helps educators to generate diverse innovative and creative learning environments to motivate students. If, like me, you are a teacher who wants to have an impact on your students, I would like to invite you to imagine and design new classroom activities to create significant, experiential learning.

Participate in our workshops. We will develop the best practices to implement innovative activities in the classroom using painting, poetry, music, dance, meditation, sculpture, photography or applied drama. Thanks to artistic sensitization and creativity, teachers will transform their work.

About the author:
Carmelo Cattafi Bambaci is an Associate Research Professor and Director of the Political Science and International Relations Degree Programs of Tecnológico de Monterrey, Campus Monterrey. He is also a facilitator of the Local Technical Secretariat of the State of Nuevo León.

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Why Microsoft Bought GitHub for $7.5 Billion
June 5, 2018 | by ndubuisi ekekwe |

In the age of SMAC, if you are not leading on Social Media, Mobile, Analytics or Cloud, the best option is to acquire a company, especially when the incumbent leaders are tenuously supreme and category-kings. Microsoft has few other options if it wants to break into #1 position in any of those four areas. On Monday, it picked a developer ecosystem, GitHub, for $7.5 billion in an all-stock deal.

Microsoft Corp. on Monday announced it has reached an agreement to acquire GitHub, the world’s leading software development platform where more than 28 million developers learn, share and collaborate to create the future. Together, the two companies will empower developers to achieve more at every stage of the development lifecycle, accelerate enterprise use of GitHub, and bring Microsoft’s developer tools and services to new audiences.


Today, every company is becoming a software company and developers are at the center of digital transformation; they drive business processes and functions across organizations from customer service and HR to marketing and IT. And the choices these developers make will increasingly determine value creation and growth across every industry. GitHub is home for modern developers and the world’s most popular destination for open source projects and software innovation. The platform hosts a growing network of developers in nearly every country representing more than 1.5 million companies across healthcare, manufacturing, technology, financial services, retail and more.

This deal is significant and the basis is evident when you look at the players involved. Within the consumer framework, the top two leaders of each of the SMAC components are as follows:

Social Media: Facebook and Twitter

Mobile Ecosystems: iOS and Android

Analytics: Alexa (Amazon) and Assistant (Google)

Cloud: AWS (Amazon) and Microsoft (Azure).

I have biased this within the consumer framework even though the distinctions between consumer and enterprise systems are now blurred. Doing so removes the challenge of comparing Amazon Alexa and IBM Watson; the latter, is my opinion, remains largely enterprise-focused. Also, while IBM may have cloud offerings, for most consumer facing entrepreneurs, working with Amazon and Microsoft (followed by Google) remains the options before IBM. So, it is irrelevant what the positions of enterprise-focused firms like Oracle and IBM are in these four areas.

Simple, Microsoft does not have any solution as #1 in these new areas [certainly Microsoft Windows remains a platform king on desktop, but the global mobile shift is weakening the business]. For Microsoft, the closest is #2 on Cloud with Google coming behind ferociously. Cortana, its equivalent of Alexa, continues to lag: Alexa and Assistant are extending their leads across many metrics. So, generally, if Microsoft has to remain relevant in these areas, it has to do something radical. It cannot just rely on in-house capabilities to overcome these other companies. So, it has to acquire.

This acquisition of GitHub mirrors the purchase of Nokia, a Hail Mary to see if Microsoft could boost Windows Mobile, a mobile version of Windows, designed for smartphones and tablets.

Depending on how it integrates this business into its solutions, Microsoft could use GitHub to deepen its cloud offering, making it more appealing to developers since they are the people that make decisions on cloud solutions to build upon. Amazon’s primitives remain one of the key selling points for AWS; having these code sharing capabilities that GitHub brings could help Microsoft Azure battle ahead. Besides, Microsoft has Windows and could get developers to take harder look to build for Cortana in other to deepen the scale of Cortana as it takes on Alexa and Assistant.

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Ndubuisi Ekekwe, Chairman of FASMICRO Group, writes regularly in the Harvard Business Review. Among others, we provide Advisory Services at Board/Executive Management level

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The events kicked off at about 11.00 am with more than 200 students from 10 grades 1-6 schools who honoured the invitation out of 22 or so schools invited with scores of teachers ,school owners and important dignitaries of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at and 3 Hufaz Muslims(memorizers of the entire Qur’an) with recitation from the glorious Qur’an followed by opening prayer. The first event was the Quiz followed by the Qur’an Reciters taking to the podium all given good account of themselves and their respective Nursery and Primary Schools. After Three captivating hours, students ( 2) from Mahmud N/P Schools came tops,while a female reciter of Viceroy’s came first. A striking features was the repeat of the same feat exhibited by these two great schools. After the award of prizes to deserved winners and open ended reciters who also displayed their knowledge of Qur’an recitation, questions and comments were made by organizer and invited guests notable of mention were,Mr. Alawode Saheed (Quiz Master),

Muallim Hafiz Abdul Hakim Obaditan of Ife district(Moderator of the Qur’an competition), Maulvi Mubarak, spiritual head OSUN State of Ahmadiyya, Mr.Salawu Kareem,President Ahmadiyya OSOGBO district as well as Hafiz Kamaldeen Muhammad, coordinator of Mahmud Qur’an Academy, Ilobu; my team was privilege to have a short but revealing interview with the organization youth leader- Mr. Nurudeen Abdul-Lateef. Below is the excerpt of the interview, please read on: The School Podium (TSP): May we know you please? Nurudeen Abdul-Lateef (NAL): My name is Nurudeen Abdul-Lateef ,the youth leader of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at,OSOGBO district TSP: Please, can you briefly tell us about the objective of organising this event NAL: Yes,we observed that learning of Qur’an and Islamic based education is gradually fading in our schools and we felt there is need to reverse this ugly trend necessitating the organise the competition as a form of encouragement to schools owner especially in this Holy Month of Ramadan wherein the Qur’an was revealed. TSP:I am aware that this is not the first edition of this competition? Besides, how many schools were in attendance? NAL: This is the Fourth edition after the maiden edition in 2016.Last year, we had 12 schools but today only 10 schools attended out of 22 invited perhaps this is due to the bad economy. TSP: What are the challenges faced from the last editions? NAL: Of course,there are challenges. The apathy of the populaces toward religious based events is one. Secondly, finance or capital has adversely affected in the planning and gifts items. Besides, some of the schools invited have complained about shortage of transportation funds. TSP: Do you have any plan in place for the future development of this annual competition? NAL: Just like the moderators, panel of judges have advised, we are planning to use more better open spaces, get more sponsors and better organising committee. We also hope to invite more schools. TSP: What advice do you have for the students who have attended this year event. NAL: I really wish to commend the coordinators from the various schools and also the students as we want to see more improvements next year. We want schools to engage competent Islamic educators especially Qur’an memorization which also improves IQ and cognitive abilities in other school based subjects. TSP: Finally Sir,for the benefit of our readers, what does MKAN represents? NAL: MKAN is an acronym for Majlis Khuddam Ahmadiyya Nigeria otherwise called Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Organization NIGERIA. The logo of the youth wing is that the nation can’t be reformed with out the reformation of the youth. Our main purpose is to ensure societal peace and only true knowledge of Allah can ensure lasting peace. TSP: We would like to conclude this interview by appreciating the time, resources that you and your team have put in to ensure successful conclusion of this year’s event. We hope and pray you grow in leaps and bound. On behalf of The School Podium Inc,of which I am the Co-founder and Author we thank you for granting us this interview despite your tight schedule. Thank you Mr. Nurudeen Abdul-Lateef.

Najimudeen Salaudeen

Author and Co- founder, The School Podium Inc


Echoing Sustainability in MENA
Food Waste and the Spirit of Ramadan
Posted by Salman Zafar
In recent years, enormous generation of food waste during the holy month of Ramadan has been a matter of big debate in Muslim countries and elsewhere. As per conservative estimates, around one-fifth of the food purchased or prepared during Ramadan finds its way to garbage bins or landfills. This translates into thousands of tons of precious food which could have been used for feeding tens of millions of hungry people in impoverished countries of Asia, Africa and elsewhere. The staggering amount of food waste generation during Ramadan urgently demands a strong strategy for its minimization, sustainable utilization and eco-friendly disposal.

Gravity of the Situation

Middle East nations are acknowledged as being the world’s top food wasters, and during Ramadan the situation takes a turn for the worse. The holy city of Makkah witnessed the generation of 5,000 tons of food residuals during the first three days of Ramadan in 2014. Around 500 tons of food is wasted in the United Arab Emirates during the holy month of Ramadan. In Bahrain, food waste generation in Bahrain exceeds 400 tons per day during the holy month. Same is the case with Qatar where almost half of the food prepared during Ramadan finds its way into garbage bins. The scenario in less-affluent Muslim countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Egypt and Pakistan is not different. According to Malaysia’s government agency Solid Waste And Public Cleansing Management Corporation, more than 270,000 tons of food in thrown into garbage bins during Ramadan.

Needless to say, the amount of food waste generated in Ramadan is significantly higher than other months, as much as 25%. There is a chronic inclination of Muslims towards over-indulgence and lavishness in the holy month, even though the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) asked Muslims to adopt moderation in all walks of life. Socio-cultural attitudes and lavish lifestyles also play a major role in more food waste generation in Ramadan in almost all Muslim countries. High-income groups usually generate more food waste per capita when compared to less-affluent groups. In Muslim countries, hotels and restaurants are a big contributor of food wastes during Ramadan due to super-lavish buffets and extravagant Iftar parties.

The Way Forward

The foremost steps to reduce food wastage in Ramadan are behavioral change, increased public awareness, strong legislations, creation of food banks and community participation. Effective laws and mass sensitization campaigns are required to persuade the people to adopt waste minimization practices and implement sustainable lifestyles. Establishment of food banks in residential as well as commercial areas can be a very good way to utilize surplus food in a humane and ethical manner. Infact, food banks in countries like Egypt, India and Pakistan have been operating successfully, however there is a real need to have such initiatives on a mass-scale to tackle the menace of food waste.

Dubai has laid down new guidelines to cut food wastage and streamline the donation of excess food prepared at banquets and buffets. The “Heafz Al Na’amah” is a notable initiative to ensure that surplus food from hotels, Iftar parties and households is not wasted and reach the needy in safe and hygienic conditions.

Super-lavish buffets and extravagant Iftar parties are big contributors of food waste in Ramadan

During Ramadan 2015, Dubai Municipality launched an initiative called ‘Smart Homes,’ which will continue this year. The initiative encourages Dubai residents to reduce waste during the holy month. Smart Homes is a waste gathering technique in electronic containers that measures the amount of waste produced by each home. The initiative mainly targets residential areas dominated by Emirati residents due to their large family gatherings,” he said. Homes that produce the least amount of waste during the holy month are rewarded with cash prizes and certificates that encourage them to reduce waste.

In addition to such initiatives, religious scholars and prayer-leaders can play a vital role in motivating Muslims to follow Islamic principles of sustainability, as mentioned in the Holy Quran and Hadith. The best way to reduce food waste during Ramadan is to feel solidarity towards millions and millions of people around the world who face enormous hardships in having a single meal each day.

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Food Waste, Ramadan and the Middle East
With the holy month of Ramadan only a few days away, huge food wastage in the Middle East is again hogging limelight. It is a widely acccepted fact that almost half of the municipal solid waste stream in the Middle East is comprised of food wastes and associated matter. The increasing amount…

April 5, 2018

In “Environment”

Food Waste in Ramadan: Trends and Counter-Measures
With the holy month of Ramadan starting, preparations are in full swing to make all necessary arrangements by the government, traders and commercial establishments to provide all utilities, goods and food that are required during Ramadan. Muslims countries, Arab nations in particular, generate huge quantities of food waste which increases…

May 3, 2017

In “EcoIslam”

Food Waste in Ramadan: An Infographic
June 4, 2017

In “EcoIslam”

August 3, 20173 Replies
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Ted Johnson on June 4, 2016 at 9:43 pm
Very good article here. Concerning food waste, it id practical to accept food waste separately from producers, pay them for their amounts as an incentive,, and produce compost,fertilizers, feed supplements, and energy for a community or the other outputs for their own use,, especially where fertilizer, compost, and feed supplements come from neighboring countries. Rather than digestion into a gas, humidity reduction is is more efficient for distribution and energy production..

Luzita Ball on June 7, 2016 at 7:12 pm
Yes very glad you highlighted this problem and some of the solutions. One is composting more of the unsharable food waste in the Gulf – please see my article on this subject:

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IT skills for Nigerian youth here now free of charge


ACN&WCC LTD in collaboration with SKY-7, India, is organizing a total free ICT training across the nation.

The program will cover the following courses and certificates will be awarded by the international company involved.

Scholarship to study Advanced Technologies in India will be awarded to 100 students nationwide, based on merit.

*Available course of training are:*
* Computer Networking and Cyber Security.
*Website Design and Mobile App Development
*Basics of Computer and Advanced Graphics Design
* Computer Engineering and System Administration.

Training will be conducted in 3 places within a state. And will commence immediately we have a total of 300 applicants within a state.

For more details,registration and to apply as instructor, Call/Whatsapp *09098477993,07064411689,08116930001, +919908243786*

Office: Suite B5, Nymex Plaza NNPC Kubwa Abuja.

Or, Simply text your name, mobile number, course of interest and the state you wish to receive training to any of the lines above.

We will contact you immediately.