30 students graduate from Digital Skills for Life’s programme

Huawei Technologies in partnership with the ICT Authority and eMentoring Africa has graduated the first cohort of students from a development programme that provides technology skills to enable disadvantaged youth to improve their employment opportunities.

The Digital Skills for Life programme is designed to equip underprivileged but deserving youth with various skills that will be relevant in the Kenyan ICT sector, widely considered as the emerging engine of growth for the country’s economy. The programme supports the government’s Ajira Digital initiative that aims to introduce young people in Kenya to online work and provide the tools, training and mentorship needed for young people to work and earn an income through online work.

(TOP: Chinese Ambassador to Kenya, Dr Liu Xianfa; CS, Ministry of ICT, Joe Mucheru and Huawei CEO Dean Yu with Digital Skills For Life graduands Fred Munene and Susan Awino moments after presiding over the Huawei Digital Skills For Life Program Graduation).

Speaking during the Digital Skills for Life’s graduation ceremony of the first 30 students to complete the program, Joe Mucheru, CS, Ministry of ICT emphasized the importance of such collaborative efforts towards securing the country’s future.  “Our ultimate goal is to directly support 2 million young Kenyans across the country to find and complete work online by end of this year. In collaboration with Kenya Private Sector Alliance and Rockfeller Foundation, we are already in the process of training thousands of young people on online work and through these pioneer trainees, we will mentor and train many more through a well cascaded programme in a relatively shorter period. We look forward to expand our reach and create more demand for online work in the local marketplace as well as work with stakeholders such as Huawei to position Kenya as a destination of choice for skilled online workers with good work ethic and a strong track record of delivering quality work on time,” said Mucheru.

With the support of eMentoring Africa, the first 30 students have been provided with various personal and professional skills as well as technical skills and a mentor. eMentoring Africa provided soft skills that range from career guidance to confidence building skills as part of a deliberate mentorship programme whilst IIHT provided technical training on assembly and disassembly of computers, developing professional presentations, documents and spreadsheets, as well as internet and networking skills. The partners as well as other companies are now helping the youth find jobs as trained ICT professionals.

Beneficiary testimonials:

“I want to thank Huawei and ICT Authority for giving me the opportunity to attend Connected 2017 Diani. I was so excited with the chance…. Scanning the badges and handing gifts for delegates was so awesome, including meeting different Sponsors, Speakers and Innovators. I was happy to talk to different people and telling them about the Digital Skills for Life program and to my shock most of them were so interested to know more about it. The experience at Kwale Girls School was so good since I managed to use the skills I learnt at the ICT training. The students were so curious to know more about ICT and Computers that were brought into their school” – Susan Japheth Awino, Class President.

“My name is Sharon Njoki Wanjiku a beneficiary of the Digital Skills for Life program. Born and raised in a humble background by a single mom. Due to financial constraints I could not manage to go to campus, but I did not lose hope I chose to be optimistic. I got to learn about the Digital Skills for Life program through social media and applied. I got lucky and I was given the opportunity. Through the program I got to learn advanced computer skills, good communication skills, entrepreneurship skills and life skills through that I can work in any organization comfortably. Thanks to our sponsors Huawei Technologies, ICT Authority Kenya and eMentoring Africa for making it possible and giving us the platform to better our lives. We are a group of 30 young skilled youths represented by the 3 of us. I want to be the next Amina Mohammed you too can be the Robert Mugo (acting CEO of ICT Authority). If we dared to dream and actually achieve it? Why not you? Thank you.” – Sharon Njoki Wanjiku. 

Dr. Liu Xianfa, the Chinese Ambassador to Kenya, spoke highly of the cooperation between Kenya and China. “The cooperation between Kenya and China is developing very fast with mutual trust and pragmatic cooperation. China has now become Kenya’s largest foreign investor. The exchange between the two countries, especially on the training of technical talents, is gaining momentum with China providing hundreds of scholarships to Kenyan students annually. The Digital Skills for Life program is another example of the close cooperation between China and Kenya. Huawei is a leading global ICT solutions provider and it is making outstanding contribution to bridge the digital divide in Kenya in line with the country’s Vision 2030.”

“ICT is a key driver of Kenya’s economic and social development. But to really deliver on its potential as Africa’s Silicon Savannah, Kenya will need to rapidly build a skilled workforce of ICT professionals including graduates and those who were unable to attend higher education. We are therefore delighted to partner with the Government of Kenya in yet another initiative that plays a part in developing the country’s youthful and promising population, contributing to tackling youth unemployment and providing new opportunities for the disadvantaged. At Huawei, we appreciate the fact that we are living in a digital era that many are unable to take advantage of, and we recognize the importance of giving back to the community.” said Dean Yu, Huawei’s CEO for Kenya.

According to the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs, amongst the 80 per cent of the unemployed youth in Kenya, 90 per cent of them lack vocational training. Private public partnerships have emerged as pivotal models of collaboratively raising the standards in youth empowerment programmes.  

Huawei is also an important partner in the ongoing Presidential Digital Talent Programme which takes fresh and qualified ICT graduates through an internship programme designed to build their ICT capabilities, ready for the ICT market. Huawei also collaborates with the ICT Authority in The Seeds for the Future program which provides university students with advanced ICT skills training in China, as well as exposure to Chinese culture and society.