Promoting Economic Development

Thanks to her husband’s job as a taxi driver, Elizabeth Ndegwa was able to complete a networking technology course that helped increase her family's income.

After graduating with a bachelor's degree in biological science, 33-year-old Elizabeth Ndegwa of Kenya was unable to find a job in her field of study. "I decided to take up a job as a security guard so that my husband and I could save some money for me to complete an IT course,” she recalls. As a security guard, Ndegwa earned low wages and had to spend long periods of time away from her family.

Meanwhile, her husband, Charles, was working hard at his job as a taxi driver to help pay for her training. He calculated that after three years, they would be able to afford an ICT course that would help Elizabeth find a job that was worthy of her abilities. Fortunately, they did not have to wait so long.

“My husband offers his services as a driver at the Cisco Kenya office and when he mentioned my interest in IT, they offered me a full scholarship to complete the Cisco CCNA course at the African Advanced Level Telecommunications Institute (AFRALTI),” says Ndegwa. As a result of the scholarship, she was able to enroll in the next available CCNA course in September 2008.

Hital Muraj, Cisco Networking Academy program manager for Kenya, recognized that Ndegwa had the potential to succeed and helped ensure that she received the support she needed.

After completing the CCNA course, Ndegwa secured a position as a data capture officer at a local bank. “The job required a person who was IT literate and had a technical background," she recalls. "On my CV, I indicated that I was currently pursuing CCNA and that was a major plus for me.”

Ndegwa is currently studying CCNA 3, having successfully passed CCNA 1 and 2. She now earns substantially more than she did as a security guard. “The job is going very well and I am thoroughly enjoying myself," she says. "I am also learning a lot.”

Ndegwa offers the following advice to anyone who is thinking of joining the ICT industry: “There is a huge demand for skilled IT people in Kenya and I would advise anyone who is seeking a technical career in IT to complete Cisco courses. Cisco courses are very recognized and can add a lot of value to students who are looking for jobs.”