NetHope Academy Haiti – Graduate of the Internship program 2010/2011 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
January 2012. I’ve been at Cooperative Housing Foundation (CHF) in Haiti for about 9 months – 6 months as an intern and 3 months as an IT Officer. CHF is helping remove debris and rebuild the country. My job as an IT Officer is to help troubleshoot our computers and network so that CHF workers can do their jobs. I also help implement new technologies, for example Windows Server with Active Directory and Google Docs.
I really feel technology can help rebuild Haiti. When information is easier to access, it is easier to work together. Only technology can help you to do this type of thing. When NetHope came here, it was like hope for the NGOs. NetHope linked the NGOs here and gave them access to the internet. When the NGOs said that they didn’t have IT people, that’s how the NetHope Intern Academy began.
The NetHope Intern Academy taught me many things. I learned almost as much in six months with NetHope as I did in five years of college. I learned a lot in college, but Nethope gave me the practical skills to fix specific problems. You can know something theoretically, but when you have the problem in real life, you have to struggle to fix it.
I also learned about responsibility and working with other people. When you are an IT person, you are in contact with people every day. You need to know how to deal with those people. You need to smile and be helpful. If you offend people, they are not going to ask for your help. This was important for me to learn about responsibility and behavior.
I also had the opportunity to earn professional certifications. I have my MCDST (Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician), and will be taking the MCTS (Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist) in two months.
NetHope also helped me improve my English. I had to speak English during the training and my internship. In the field, we work with expats, so we had to speak English. Right now I am preparing to pass my TOEFL test.
I also learned a lot from my mistakes. My first month at CHF I made a big mistake. A BIG, BIG MISTAKE. I lost all of the data on someone’s computer. I reformatted it without saving the data. I thought I was going to be fired. I stayed until 7 o’clock that night searching the internet for a solution and finally found it. The next morning, I was happy to tell my boss that I recovered the data. They recognized how much effort I put into finding and recovering the data.
I was chatting with Frank Schott from NetHope, and I told him how thankful I am for the skills I learned from NetHope. He said, ‘You don’t have to thank me. You only have to teach other people what you learned from NetHope.’ I was very happy for this advice. Now when I meet someone who has a problem, I try to help them with my knowledge.
Now that I am working, I also have had the opportunity to help others in my community. I have been able to help out boys and girls who need money for something. I was also able to pay for a friend to attend a seminar on web design. I am very proud that I can help my community, my family, and myself. In the future I want to have my own business and create jobs for Haiti.
NetHope taught me all the professional things I need to know for my career. My professional life really started with NetHope.
January 2011. Jude’s life was rocked by the destructive earthquake that racked his city on January 12, 2010. Jude was lucky to be in a building that did not collapse, but his cousin had her leg severed. He also lost many friends and some of his teachers from his school, Ecole Superior Informatique d’Haiti (ESIH). Prior to the earthquake, Jude had distinguished himself as a bright computer science student at ESIH but struggled to find his first job in the IT field due to a lack of work experience.
As Jude struggled to find full-time employment, in other parts of Port-au-Prince and surrounding regions, it was becoming very clear to NGOs that there was also a significant lack of qualified IT professionals in the country. The IT shortage had been a problem prior to the earthquake and was only exacerbated after the devastating quake. To address this problem, NetHope – a collaboration of 32 NGOs working in more than 150 countries – launched the NetHope Academy training initiative in September in partnership with Haitian organizations, other humanitarian groups and large tech companies including Microsoft, Cisco, Accenture and Voila.
The NetHope Academy provides IT skills training and on the job work experience to unemployed Haitians, like Jude, to build in-country technical expertise. NetHope Academy interns spend three weeks in intensive boot camp-style classroom trainings, and then they’re placed within IT teams of NGOs working to rebuild devastated areas of Haiti.
Back to Jude, who heard about the NetHope Academy last summer. After competing against 300 applicants for 36 coveted spots, Jude earned a spot in the program. He was assigned as a part time intern to CHF International, one of the largest humanitarian organizations in Haiti and a NetHope member. Jude’s first weeks on the job were good for Jude and even better for CHF. Jude worked hard, often staying several hours past the time that his part time shift was supposed to conclude. That hard work paid off when CHF International asked Jude to move to a full-time position where he will be paid for the long hours he is putting in.
Jude is only one story. The NetHope Academy has 36 interns working at 14 large NGOs, with a goal of providing full-time employment for every intern upon completion of the program in March. Thanks to great partners like Microsoft and other organizations, Jude and others like him are getting a chance.
Written by Frank Schott, Global Program Director, NetHope – 1/10/2011
Watch a video about the program and Jude’s experience:
Learn more about NetHope Academy Haiti