Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Using ICT to empower youth and women


By Bett Kipsang' 

It is a bright Tuesday morning in Ng’arua as Ishamael Kiplimo 29, pops into the maarifa centre, wearing a broad smile. He needs some ICT services, and before that, he narrates how him and fellow members of a newly registered group; the Kipkelion Self Help Group, are grateful for the quality and timely services offered to them at the maarifa centre. One youthful member of this group was sent to the centre to download and print a copy of UWEZO fund forms a day before.

The government recently launched UWEZO fund, targeting youth and women’s economic empowerment. ''We can now apply for the fund, to empower ourselves economically'' Ishmael said. The group plans to venture into agribusiness.

''My first big achievement from the maarifa centre is unforgettable, I attended free ICT trainings which has opened up opportunities for me'' He said. Immediately after the training, Ishmael and others applied for a contract job with the Independent Electoral Commission (I.E.B.C) as a Biometric Voter Registration (B.V.R) clerk. It was mandatory for applicants to demonstrate possession of ICT skills, and it was not hard for him since he already had a certificate from the maarifa centre. He got the job, which paid relatively well, and henceforth life was not the same for the college leaver struggling to make ends meet.

Internet has made life easier for job seekers. Youths like Ishmael, comes to the maarifa centre to apply for electricians certification from the Energy Regulatory Commission (E.R.C). ''I accessed the commission's site, signed up to create a profile and uploaded my application details. Then I went back home in Kirigo village, sipili Laikipia west'' He said. ''There cannot be a better and convenient way of looking for a job than this'' Ishmael said referring to the use of Internet at the maarifa centre.

As a result of that application, ERC has organized a written interview, which Ishmael was invited to attend at the college of insurance in Nairobi. Ishmael, a diploma holder in Electrical Engineering is now awaiting for the oral interview. Meanwhile, he has also applied to be registered by the East African Cables (E.A.C) as an electrician. ''I hope to be registered fully by EAC once I get the E.R.C's certificate'' Ishmael said.

As if that was not enough, Ishmael who is always eager to learn, is also an ardent user of the Maarifa centre's library. ‘‘Recently I borrowed a book, called Electrical Installation works from the library, the book was useful for me since I updated my skills on vault findings, cable tests, and motor installations'' he said.
Ishmael has also done online research on the companies that produce solar modules. ''I have gotten contacts of companies producing solar accessories and have bought two solar panels from their distributors in Nyahururu to install for my clients. ''I cherish the maarifa so much'' said Ishmael.

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