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Francis Ollivier

IT Mentor and CIO, Fonkoze, Haiti

Learn more about NetHope Academy Haiti

September 2011. Francis Ollivier, CIO at Fonkoze a Haitian microfinance organization, has already been an IT mentor to five NetHope Academy interns.  The experience was all around positive for Francis, the host organizations and for the interns. Two new interns just started their internship adventure with Francis at Fonkoze.  Francis encourages other IT managers to become IT mentors:

“My goal was to find someone to replace me.

Francis Ollivier (center) with interns John Wolf and Emmanuel Charles

As an expat working for an NGO, I knew my assignments were temporary and I wanted them as such for a better sustainability – so I was always looking for local resources with the right skills to take my place. In the last three years, the first time I’ve been successful in finding that person was when working with interns from the NetHope Academy Intern Program.  The program provides internships, training, and job opportunities for unemployed youth in the IT sector.

I’ve been an IT Mentor to five interns so far – three at the Canadian Red Cross and two at the IRC in Haiti.

My advice to other organizations that are thinking about sponsoring an intern is this:  Interns are not just extra workers.  They’re not just a cheap resource.   If you share your knowledge and invest in your interns, you can get much more out of the arrangement.

But you need an IT Mentor to make it work.

My advice to future IT Mentors is that sharing is a two-way street.  Be open and humble – be willing to share what you know with your interns, and be willing to learn from them as well.   Being willing to teach your interns management and organization skills will maximize their productivity.  These qualities are just as important as their technical skills development—and sometimes even more important.

I was happy not only with my intern’s technical skills, but also their dedication.  We had to kick some of them out of the office every night at 7:00pm. Some were spontaneously planning work on days off to avoid disturbing the users.  They were very dedicated, really committed.

Last year, all of my interns received job offers, with one of them replacing me as the local IT manager at CRC.  Based on the positive experiences I’ve had, we are bringing on two interns at Fonkonze, which is a Haitian microfinance organization. I’m looking forward to another successful experience this year.  And who knows, my next replacement may just walk through that door!”

Learn more about NetHope Academy Haiti