News@Cisco in Africa

People of Kibera to Get IT Training and Access to Internet Courtesy of Cisco

Cisco opens Networking Academy in Africa’s Largest Slum on June 8th

NAIROBI, Kenya June 8, 2007 – Cisco® has opened an IT training center in Africa’s largest slum. The centre in the Kibera slum outside Nairobi is the latest Academy to join the Cisco® Networking Academy Program® and will provide residents with basic training on information technology and networking skills. Kibera consists of 199 ‘villages’ that surround the Kenyan capital. Just 5km outside of Nairobi and home to more than 1 million people, even the most basic services, such as sanitation, are virtually unknown. Few children regularly go to school, pushing the rate of unemployment and poverty in Kibera above Kenya’s average (40% unemployment and 50% in poverty). One in every three residents is HIV positive.

The new Academy will bring training opportunities to young people in the area and is designed to be a self-supporting center. It will offer the Networking Academy program IT Essentials (ITE) course with 80students in the first class. Within a week or so of starting their studies, students at the Kibera Academy, who may never previously have even seen a PC, will learn to build a computer, install an operating system, work with peripherals and connect a computer to a local area network and the Internet. The center will also be a cyber café, acting as a focal point for the community and providing access to the Internet and other applications, as well as different services, like printing, typing and copying. Kibera inhabitants will be able to learn and benefit from the Internet and use it to enhance their enterprises and economic activities. In the longer term, it could support e-government applications including voting during democratic elections. “We’ve already seen success stories in our other Academies in the region, but Kibera is a landmark Academy for us, due to its unique position in one of the poorest parts of the world,” said Hital Muraj, Area Academy Manager for East Africa. “The Kibera Academy is about improving IT skills and boosting local people’s prospects for the future and aimed at elevating their standard of living. Overcoming the technical and logistical obstacles involved in setting up a functioning IT lab in a place where basic electricity cannot be taken for granted, has been difficult but extraordinarily rewarding.” Cisco has 234 Academies throughout Africa, which have seen more than 37,000 students pass through their doors since the program’s inception in 1997. The program already has 20 established Academies in Kenya. The all-women Loreto College, Msongari, established in 2002 and one of the program’s most successful African Academies, is a good example of the success the program is enjoying in the region. Girls from Loreto are regular visitors to Kibera in fact, and have previously set up IT stands to share knowledge about computers and the Internet with local residents. Cisco Vice President for Corporate Affairs, Tae Yoo, was present at the opening of the Academy and said: “The Cisco Networking Academy program began in 1997 as a high school network support curriculum and has developed into a highly successful worldwide educational program, which is helping to boost new skills required in the global economy as Internetworking technology is adopted.” “There is no ICT agenda within the education policy in Kenya yet, so we hope that all of the Academies that Cisco has established with its partners will help speed up the current efforts being made to include ICT in the curriculum nationwide,” she continued. Throughout East Africa Cisco is working with AFRALTI in Kenya and Dar-es-Salaam Institute of Technology in Tanzania for female scholarships and partnering with the Ethiopian Government, private sector and NGOs for the ‘100 Academies’ skills training program. In Nigeria the Ministry of Education, the Education Trust Fund and Cisco are sponsoring 100 Academies, while the Rwandan Ministry of Education and Vision 2020 have partnered with Cisco to identify eight schools in Kigali, where the project will be rolled out initially.

About the Cisco Networking Academy Program

Launched in 1997, the Cisco Networking Academy Program is a partnership between Cisco, education, business, government and community organizations around the world, aimed at nurturing IT professionals. The education program employs an e-learning model, using a combination of Web-based and instructor-led training along with a hands-on lab environment to teach students how to design, build and maintain computer networks. Worldwide, more than 2 million students have graduated from a total of approximately 10,000 Academies in more than 165 countries.

The Cisco Networking Academy program will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary with a number of events and activities throughout 2007.

Press Contact:
Ali Merifield
Bite Communications
Tel: +44 (0)20 8834 3441 / +44 (0)20 8 741 1123
Email: ali.merifield@bitepr.com

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