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More than a Million African Lives Impacted as Cisco Networking Academy Celebrates 20 Years in East Africa

More than 1 million students in Africa have directly benefited from Cisco Networking Academy (NetAcad), with over 10,000 students graduating in the past year. 

The Cisco Networking Academy is celebrating 20 years of upskilling young people across 51 countries in Africa this year, resulting in more employment of skilled youth into technical jobs. Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia are some of the countries in the region where the NetAcad, which is Cisco’s flagship CSR programme, has made the most impact.

Stephen Ondieki says the Cisco CCNA course he took and completed at Riara Educational Centre instilled in him the confidence to successfully run his own computer center. “My certification through Cisco Networking Academy has allowed me to spend my time positively. I have gained entrepreneurship skills and also been able to travel to other countries as an IT ambassador. I urge youth living in neighborhoods such as mine to challenge themselves,” said the Kibera resident. 

Cisco Networking Academy has over the past 20 years consistently sought to fill the gaping ICT skills gap in East Africa, a region that has gained global acclaim as the ICT innovation hub of the continent. The 2017 growth outlook for IT and telecommunication in Kenya remains positive given continued interest in housing and infrastructure development as well as mobile telecommunications.

The Cisco programme has been buoyed by the need to ensure that youth in market can handle the growing ICT sector. It has been rolled out through non-profit schools, colleges, universities and other non-profit educational institutions.

Commenting on this successful rollout, David Bunei, General Manager for Cisco East Africa and Indian Ocean Islands said: “As we celebrate 20 years of the existence innovative ICT teaching and leading information study materials including reasonable web support free of charge to educational institutions that join the Cisco Networking Academy program.

Diane Mahoro a beneficiary of the programme from Rwanda currently studying Information Systems at Akilah Institute (Rwandan Women’s College) has done the Cisco Networking and IT essentials courses which are part of the school curriculum. “The skills learnt in the Cisco Networking Academy courses has changed my abilities in networking. Using our computers, we need networks – we need to be connected. As part of my internship at KLab in Kigali, people come to me for assistance on how to connect to the internet or to fix their network access, and it’s easy for me to help them. I can’t keep quiet if I know there’s Wi-Fi but people’s computers are not connected. Recently a lady asked me to assist her because she couldn’t get the network to work. I had to download some drivers, store it and connect it to the internet. Now it’s working again. That’s because of what I learned from Cisco’s networking course,” she says.

The internet-based learning and educational opportunities have positively transformed communities in Africa by helping the workforce to develop the necessary skills for employment, to use the internet leading to connectivity and as such allowing participants of the program better their lives and that of their families.

The Cisco Networking Academy has in the last 10 years trained 13,250 students in 35 public universities in Ethiopia, 23% of which were female. This year, the Ministry of Education of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Cisco to work together on expanding the Cisco Networking Academy program into the education system in Ethiopia.

Cisco continues to encourage more female students to participate in technology-based professions. Since 2005 women represented 29 percent of the Cisco CCNA graduates in participating countries, the goal was to get 30 percent, which has been met according to recent 2017 graduation numbers.

Cisco has also been recognized through an international award from International Trade Union (ITU) for its support towards upskilling the continent in the technology sector. 

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Notes to Editor:

To see more NetAcad testimonials: https://www.netacad.com/careers/success-stories/kenya-entrepreneur-it-essentials/