Free Laptop for Students in Nigeria

If you currently don’t own a laptop, you could be missing out on digital opportunities that other students are either using to make money on the side or even a career. But is it even possible to get a free laptop in Nigeria? Honestly, it’s typically ‘rare’ in Nigeria for a student to find free laptop opportunities, but it’s also not impossible, and you’ll find out why and ways.

A free laptop will go a long way in helping your education, skill acquisition, and upskilling. It’s true that not many organizations or private people give away free laptops. But there are many legit ways you can get yourself a laptop and not spend money in Nigeria.

Free Laptop for Students in Nigeria & Ways to Get

1. Check with your school or university

If you don’t regularly associate with school programmes, we bet you won’t know that your school may be running PC programs. Sometimes, these programs are sponsored, either by certain faculties to help students cultivate better reading habits or by governmental organizations. So, if you study in Nigeria, you should look out for such free laptop opportunities.

You’ll agree that technology is becoming more and more important in education. Your university knows this and also understands that not many students can afford a PC. In fact, many students are naturally broke. It’s a nature, and it’s understandable. Sometimes, these laptops also come in the form of competitions hosted by the school.

Schools give laptops with the traditional mindset that they will be used for assignments and research. But you can use it to learn digital skills like coding, writing and publishing eBooks, crypto trading, etc. The importance is a whole lot, which is even the reason you should look out for such programs in your school. You’ll typically need your student ID to apply.

2. Look for NGOs or organizations that provide laptops

We have several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other groups in Nigeria that give free laptops to Nigerian students. Usually, this is done directly through universities, colleges, and polytechnics. An example of an NGO that does this is the Digital Bridge Institute. It’s not a very common opportunity, but others like this also offer it. Sometimes, it’s to promote their business by attracting students to eventually purchase some of its services.

All you have to do is a simple local search for such companies using Google. There is also the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative, another group that can help you receive a free laptop and other helpful tech tools. So, keep your ears to the ground, and search Facebook, X, etc. But also be careful because a lot of these offers are fake and not worth your time. A simple tip to help you find legit ones is to check the CAC to know if such a local business is registered in Nigeria. Also, any program that requires you to make any monetary commitment is a scam.

3. Nigerian Government Initiatives

Well, you might think that the government is not so much interested in aspects like education, but they are. In fact, in 2017, the Nigerian government provided 330 laptops for girls in Federal Unity Schools. This was reported by the Premium Times. And in 2021, according to Vanguard, the FG empowered 100 Nigerians with digital tools, including laptops. So, you only have to keep an eye out, especially at the grassroots level. There is always a government agency or ministry giving out digital support to qualified students.

4. Laptop scholarships

First of all, don’t be confused by the use of ‘scholarship’ here. It simply means laptop sponsorship. This term is now used in the scholarship world for offers based on sponsorship. However, this type of scholarship is typically based on merit. You can also get a laptop based on your background. So, let’s say you get into tech but have no personal laptop. This is where such a scholarship applies to you to encourage you in this field.

Here are five laptop scholarships in Nigeria you may be eligible to apply for:

  • The Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative

First, we have the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative. You can access this at microsoft.com/africa/ato. It’s not for every student, and it’s highly competitive! Microsoft did talk about their goal for this program being to ‘help young Africans’ get the skills they need in the 21st century. Students in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are eligible for this free laptop opportunity.

While you know Google to be a search engine, it’s also a useful resource for developers. If you find yourself in this field as a Nigerian student, you might just be able to take advantage and secure yourself a PC. You have to be a computer science and tech-oriented student to enter this competition. The requirement is that you’ll have to work with open-source development. In the end, the best students are given laptops and other prizes.

  • Lenovo Scholar Network

Lenovo has a program called the Lenovo Scholar Network. You can access it via lenovoscholars.com. Yes, Nigerians are eligible to participate, alongside other African students. You should specifically have an interest in STEM areas to be eligible for this program. As part of the prizes, students typically obtain laptops, training, and other tech resources.

This program operates like a grant program and was set up to help Nigerians in the technology industry. So, if you have a degree in any STEM area, you are eligible for this program. Of course, free laptops, training, and other resources are part of the package.

We also have the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network program. As you can tell by the name, it’s a program specific to female students. Dell set up this program to help women in Nigeria and other African countries start their own businesses. Eligible women receive laptops and other tech tools to help digitize their businesses.

5. Crowdfunding

We know that crowdfunding is not really a thing in Nigeria when compared to Western countries. A lot of the time, if you attempt one, people will need really compelling reasons to support with their own token. Many others will immediately tag it as a scam and advise other potential donors not to participate. That’s the unfortunate reality you have to deal with. But if you have a compelling reason, and a couple of social media accounts, that can get you started.

Crowdfunding does work in Nigeria, anyway. There are willing people out there who will love to contribute money to your laptop if you have a good story to tell. It has to be honest and reasonable at the same time. You can’t say you need a laptop because your friends do—nobody will take you seriously. Nigerians will only be interested if you have something revolutionary. It could be that you have learned to code and that you have an objective to build a certain platform or software that solves problems. Nigerians will be willing to support this type of cause. Sometimes, one person or an organization can volunteer to get you a PC for this.

6. Online programs

Not for scams, a lot of online programs often offer laptops to students. In the US and the UK, for example, we have individually sponsored programmes where people are given free laptops to learn. All you have to do is participate in some online training campaign as a way of empowerment. Unfortunately, you won’t find many of these in Nigeria. It’s typically these tech initiatives and some grassroots empowerment programmes. This point might not be relevant to Nigerians but you never know—it’s just something to consider.

7. Donations from individuals or companies

In point number 5, we mentioned crowdfunding. Now, that’s a bit difficult from direct donations from people and companies. Yes, it’s possible to get someone to gift you a free laptop, the same way you can get someone to sponsor your education. So, you could reach out to people or businesses with a unique story about how you intend to utilize this laptop. It could be to learn digital skills or, if you recently acquired one, you explain that you need this laptop to implement what you learned.

The Nigerian economy is not the best currently. So, make sure you do your homework. Try to see if this business or person you are reaching out to is faring well. It can even be an online influencer. You must have the best story to compel the person. Your method of reaching out is also important since you don’t want to be seen as spam or too disturbing.

Do you work with people whose jobs require them to own laptops? Then, you could receive a free laptop in Nigeria from them. Sometimes, companies upgrade their laptops at regular intervals after selling them cheaply. If you know such a person, you could actually get one for free. So, this method is the easiest way for you to receive a laptop gift since these people would be okay with giving out their old laptops to those in need.

8. Libraries and cybercafés

How about your local libraries and cybercafes? This method won’t afford you a laptop, but you’ll gain short-term access. Libraries will typically be free or less expensive compared to cafes. If you reside in the urban part of your state, there should be libraries set up with computer labs with computer and internet access. Some may have a time limit since there are typically not enough laptops for everyone.

As for cybercafés, you may be charged a fee. See if you can find cheaper ones and buy some time to engage in your digital stuff.

9. Refurbished Laptops

Our number 9 point is really interesting! But it comes with risks. A refurbished laptop is one that has had one problem or another in the past but has been restored, typically by the manufacturer. Sometimes, the defect is still there. The advantage here is that you won’t pay the regular price. Most refurbished laptops come with a guarantee if you buy from an authoritative vendor or directly from the manufacturer. Apple and Microsoft, for example, have refurbished PC offers. Check out Mac offers at apple.com/shop/refurbished/mac or Microsoft at microsoft.com/en-us/store/collections/certifiedrefurbished.  Amazon also has refurbished PC offers from many different brands, so check that out too.

We also have some local e-commerce websites in Nigeria, like Jiji, where you can get these offers. Unfortunately, you cannot really trust them.

10. Renting a laptop

How about you rent a laptop? Perhaps this isn’t really a thing in Nigeria, but some schools do rent out PCs to students on the condition that the students must obviously return them without damage. The disadvantage is that you’re typically not allowed to install or uninstall any software. So, you’re restricted to the pre-installed software only. Reach out to your school’s tech administrator about this possibility. Many private schools in Nigeria support PC rental programmes. If you are in a public university, you may not find such offers. But there is no harm in asking around.

Conclusion

There you go with all the different ways you can get a free laptop for your studies in Nigeria. Don’t have high expectations, though, because you’re typically going to be given a moderate laptop, not something very high-end. If you need a laptop for gaming, that isn’t reasonable, and nobody will be willing to dip hands in their pockets and buy one for you. Be realistic. Get involved in something techy, and you’ll secure yourself a free laptop.

Read also: Canadian scholarships for Nigerians

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