NetHope IT Program Successfully Scales to Africa, Graduates Intern Classes in Kenya and Rwanda
A year ago, our NetHope team was just beginning our field assessments in Africa to see where we should launch the first NetHope Academy Internship Programs on the continent. We were excited to expand our program and to begin offering African youth the opportunity to jumpstart their IT careers as we had done in Haiti, but there was a large amount of work ahead of us. In short order, we formed partnerships with implementing partners in Kenya (African Center for Women, Information and Communications Technology), Rwanda (Rwanda Development Board) and South Africa (Foundation for Professional Development).
It was so amazing to kick off the first program in Kenya, and look at how far we have come since 2010 – picturing the smiling faces of our first-ever interns we interviewed in Haiti. It is incredible to see how the efforts from so many different supporters have come together to design and execute a program that has had such a profound effect on young people around the globe. In March 2012, 36 students began their NetHope Academy journey in Nairobi with two weeks of intensive classroom and online training, where they developed the most current and relevant IT skills. That same month in Kigali, Rwanda, the NetHope Academy program started for 39 other students – who were selected out of a pool of 700 applicants that had applied for the 80 or so coveted spots between the two programs.
After going through an extensive skills boot camp and hands-on internship, Academy interns graduate fully competent and highly employable to meet the demands of the current IT. Historically, more than 80 percent of NetHope Academy graduates secure full-time IT positions within three months of completing the program. NetHope Academy provides skills training, learning resources and access to communities of like-minded people to develop skilled youth as well as help fill humanitarian organizations’ needs for a proficient and productive workforce.
In the past month, we’ve seen our first classes in Kenya and Rwanda graduate, and we are excited about the prospects for NetHope Academy in South Africa. Half the interns from Rwanda and 2/3 from Kenya were women – something the program is particularly proud of given the challenges faced by women IT professionals in Africa. Generally, IT professionals are in high demand across the African continent. Employment opportunities, however, are often limited to those who have work experience. NetHope Academy provides training and certification in the most relevant technical skills, supplemented with practical on-the-job work experience and daily mentoring and guidance.
We are so excited for our next program in South Africa, and continuing to grow the NetHope Academy program on a global scale.
About NetHope Academy
NetHope Academy is an initiative of NetHope, an information technology collaboration of more than 30 leading international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) serving millions of beneficiaries in more than 180 countries. Through member collaboration and by facilitating public-private partnerships with major technology companies, foundations, and individuals, NetHope helps members use their technology investments to better serve people in the most remote areas of the world. The objective of NetHope Academy is to advance the formal education of underemployed graduates through training in technical skills and advanced IT courses. Upon graduating from the Academy, interns will have gained invaluable technology expertise making them highly competitive candidates for jobs in the IT sector.
The NetHope Academy is made possible through the generous contributions of Accenture Foundation and Accenture’s US Corporate Citizenship group. In addition, Microsoft, Cisco and a dozen or so other public and private institutions have supported the NetHope Academy.