Developing IT Pros of the Future in Rwanda
May 10, 2012 – Microsoft Corporate Citizenship Blog
By Peter Njagi, Microsoft Certified Trainer
I have worked as a Microsoft Certified Trainer since 2004. In March 2012, I heard about a program called the NetHope Academy that was going to be launched in Rwanda. After doing some research, I learned that the NetHope Academy provides internships and training to promising youth in the developing world. The idea is to provide them with the opportunities they need so that they can begin their careers as IT professionals.
I contacted NetHope and was invited to lead their first Academy “Boot Camp” in Rwanda. So many of these young people just can’t bridge the gap between their studies in University and the demands of the work place. I was very happy to help.
I gratefully anticipated meeting the NetHope Academy interns and information technology (IT) mentors at the campus of Integrated Polytechnic Regional Center (IPRC) in Kicukiro, formerly known as ETO Kicukiro. During those first days, the interns showed a lot of willingness to learn despite being a bit shy. After laying some ground rules (and a little dancing to break the ice), I saw how eager the interns were to learn, especially since this training was a different approach than what they were used to in their past institutions. The course would be more focused on practical application rather than theory, which would be a good thing for them. As we got to know each other, we realized we are all resourceful and we just need to utilize our time well.
As Rwanda focuses its attention to the attainment of the goals as outlined in the Rwanda Vision 2020, I sincerely thank the NetHope team for considering the country in its pioneer program in Africa. It will go a long way in helping us achieve the much-needed IT skills to push the vision forward and make Rwanda the ICT hub for the region. The NetHope Academy internship program comes with a very workable course structure and with mentors who are very willing to support the interns. I am sure over the next six months we will begin to see the effect of the NetHope Academy in the Rwandan IT sector. With the knowledge of how to administer a Microsoft Windows Server 2008, the interns really will stand out in the job market. Kudos to them!
So, thank you NetHope, its sponsors and all those who made this assignment possible. There is “program design excellence” that comes from a multidisciplinary approach, and it really shines in NetHope Academy. This program reflects a complete, sustainable and healthy transformation in the participants. The opposite of a quick fix, this process looks very promising for other areas of international development.
The energy, enthusiasm, and love felt during the NetHope Academy training continues to inspire me each day and I look forward to seeing each one of the interns being on his or her feet professionally. The dedication and drive of the interns speaks highly of the NetHope selection process. The program is very well operated and managed. I could clearly see that the IT mentors – intern supervisors who addressed the class – were highly impressed with the quality of professionalism and communication shown by the interns.
I would specifically like to mention the friendly attitude and unmatched planning and organization skills of Lisa Obradovich and Kevine Bajeneza of NetHope. Accenture’s Krista Tracy did an amazing job as well. They took care of everything and everyone with a big heart. I’d also like to thank the interns in my class for making every day a good day and one worth living, even if it meant waking up very early in the morning and getting home very late in the evening. I knew you were giving your best and I wanted to do the same for you good people. I felt inspired by your energy and enthusiasm. Long live NetHope’s spirit of “Connect, Collaborate, Innovate!”
When asked to give their impressions of NetHope Academy Boot Camp and Peter, interns and program directors said:
“Because of what I learned I was able to pass the Microsoft Technical Associate certification. Now I am studying to earn my MCTS while working at my internship.” – Peruth Mukanshimiye
“I learned a lot in Boot Camp and it has made a difference for me at my internship. One thing that Peter taught us is how to work through problems and contribute to solutions. This is something we never learned in school.” – Samuel Yesashimwe
“This program is good for our country and for me in general because it’s helping me get my first IT job.” – Aimable Habimana
“Peter was outstanding. He truly understands the practical skill gap and job market challenges that youth in Rwanda face. He showed amazing dedication and inspiration every day. He is so genuine and his smile lit up the room in Kigali. I would bring him back to teach every Boot Camp if we could.” – Lisa Obradovich, NetHope Program Director