Haiti, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, India, Egypt, Liberia, Ghana
May 2010 - Present
Total: $1.5 mill Personnel: $750,000 Technology: $500,000 Other: $250,000
The NetHope Academy Internship Program was initiated in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. The primary need at the time was to provide talented IT resources to NetHope member NGOs who were working in the region and had a dire need for additional technical support in the aftermath of this crisis. NetHope provided technical training, soft skills training, and on-the-job training via internships at host organizations. While many of the host organizations have been NetHope members, many are not. Banks, Internet Service Providers, Mobile Network Operators, other large companies, consulting firms, technology vendors, and various government programs have hosted interns and, in turn, offered them full-time positions.
After the initial success in Haiti, NetHope was awarded funding from the Accenture Foundation to scale the program in sub-Saharan Africa and successively launched programs in Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Ghana, India, Egypt, and Liberia.
The goal is for graduates to find employment (including entrepreneurship) within 90 days of completing the NetHope Academy Internship Program and for employers to have access to entry level IT professionals who have received that extra bit of polish between their formal education and their first job.
Note: For comprehensive, detailed information about this program, please reference “The NetHope Academy Internship Program Playbook” in the Supplemental Documents section.
The NetHope Academy Internship Program has trained over 1,300 students to date with an over 80 percent job placement rate. Approximately 40 percent of program participants have been young women. Most students have also earned a technical certification, with many of them earning more than one.
We quickly learned how different the existing IT ecosystem and landscape were in each geography, which caused slight variations in the above statistics in each region. What remained the same, however, was the feedback from the employers that the current academic institutions weren’t producing the “job-ready” graduates they were seeking. Because of this, there continues to be a demand for this high-touch, high-impact program. It requires significant effort to secure internships and full-time jobs. Often, the employment market is challenging, and we have seen the program slow in areas where it was once thriving (i.e., Haiti) due to local economic factors beyond our control.
Given the existing set of assets and current availability of in-kind donations and funding, the NetHope Academy Internship Program is best suited for the following:
The global population boom has created unprecedented challenges for educated youth in developing countries to effectively engage in the workforce. At the same time, a serious shortage of qualified IT professionals in these regions is limiting local companies, governments, and NGOs from expanding and functioning at their highest potential in the world economy. This deficit becomes even more pronounced during and after a crisis such as the West Africa Ebola outbreak. IT skills are in high demand, generating opportunities for youth to participate in core aspects of the economy — if they can acquire real-world vocational skills and the relevant work experience to make them employable.
The NetHope Academy Internship Program bridges the gap between unemployed, educated youth and the market-driven IT needs and opportunities in developing regions. The program is built on best practices developed from capacity-building efforts in Africa, India, and Haiti.
In its approach to program design, NetHope conducted an extensive landscape analysis, interviewing experts in the local focus countries, representing academic institutions, employers, tech sector leaders, students, NetHope’s own tech sector partners, Accenture Development Partnerships, and NetHope members.
The specific approach was selected for the following attributes:
Working in partnership with local organizations and educational institutions, the NetHope Academy Internship Program connects young, computer-literate, near and recent University or technical college graduates with opportunities to gain professional job skills and experience through internships at local NGOs and corporations. In addition to technical and soft skills training, interns receive daily mentoring, ongoing evaluation, job placement assistance, and outplacement support.
Building local capacity is a foundational principle of NetHope field programs. Working with local implementing partners is key to the NetHope Academy Internship Program operating model. In some locations, we were very hands-on and in others, the local implementing partner did not need as much support given their deep experience and relationships with the local ecosystem. A NetHope representative went on the initial fact-finding and implementing partner recruiting trips in each geography and conducted the detailed follow-up work to ensure the partnership was forged and was successful. Our local implementing partners included:
Local Implementing Partners – includes in-country Program Directors, Leadership, and Support Staff who run the day-to-day aspects of the program, from recruitment to training to placement to M&E
NetHope Academy Internship Program Manager – manages the overall program and partnerships, facilitates the onboarding of new partners and countries, trains in-country team, works with in-country government, employers and technology partners to build local program, coordinates partnerships with tech partners, manages internal NetHope Academy Internship Program team, manages donor communications/reporting
NetHope Senior Leadership – provides program oversight, participates in initial visits to secure implementing partners
Trainers – locally based experts are responsible for technical and soft skills training sessions
Mentors at Host Employer Organizations – advise interns throughout the internship period; every young employee (and intern) needs a “coach” in the organization who will take an active interest in their professional development
Accenture Development Partnerships Team – used during inception and initial scale of program to Africa
Please reference the detailed timelines and project plans in the “NetHope Academy Internship Program Playbook.” Note: phases and milestones varied slightly for each country; and thanks to experience and a fully developed suite of assets ready for use, NetHope has been able to accelerate the launch speed for the NetHope Academy Internship Program. For example, launching the most recent program in Liberia, only took about 4-5 months as compared to one year in earlier launches.
The process is faster when NetHope is working with an institution that already has similar programs and/or relationships with employers in place. It can take several weeks/months longer if this is not the case or if the implementing partner is encumbered by a full workload with other programs, has gaps in staff, or confronts other competing priorities.
High-level, generic timeline shows one program/country example that is representative.
A sample budget for a program with an established local implementing partner might look something like this estimate:
Personnel (staff, trainers, etc.) – Global Program Management 10 percent and In-Country Program Management and Training 40 percent
Travel – 5 percent
Program admin – 15 percent
Educational materials – LMS licenses, course content, certification exam vouchers – 30 percent
Key measurements for the success of the NetHope Academy Internship Program were tied to actual outcomes, including:
A comprehensive, detailed list of lessons learned can be found in “The NetHope Academy Internship Program Playbook” in the Supplemental Documents section.
Key critical success factors include:
NetHope is positioned to run various iterations of the NetHope Academy Internship Program based on our existing assets and partner relationships. Given the changing landscape, our focus in recent years has been in locations where our NGO partners need IT resources to respond to emergencies (i.e., the West Africa Ebola crisis). The Academy continues to sustain operations in Rwanda, Haiti, and India, whereas partnerships in Kenya, Egypt, and South Africa have ramped down due to various reasons. Correspondingly, our program and educational content is evolving with the market.