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Friday, 20 December 2013

Ng’arua Maarifa Centre leads way in Free ICT training

By Bob Aston 

Ng’arua Maarifa centre, located in Sipili division, Laikipia County made great strides in providing free ICT training to residents of Sipili and Ng’arua divisions. The Centre which was established by Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) in 2006 managed to train 268 people in 2013.

The free ICT training was made possible through Access to Learning Award received by ALIN from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2011. The Award is given each year by the Foundation's Global Libraries initiative.
ICT trainees during a training session
The Access to Learning Award (ATLA) recognizes the innovative efforts of public libraries or similar organizations outside the United States to connect people to information through free access to computers and the Internet.

The Award enabled ALIN to start free ICT Training in all Maarifa Centres in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The training presented opportunities for marginalized rural communities to become ICT savvy.

Training was open to everyone. It attracted a wide range of students including government department workers, primary and secondary pupils and teachers, Form four leavers, youths, farmers, school dropouts and local administrators among others.

The packages offered included Introduction to computer and Windows, Microsoft Word, Microsoft  Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, Internet and Emailing.
ICT trainees during a training session

The number of male trainees was 150 while female trainees were 118. Form four leavers made the highest number of trainees at 58 % while businessmen and women were the lowest at 9 %.

The highest represented age group was 19-25 years as they made up 62 % of the trainees while those above 60 years consisted of less than 1 % of the total trainees.

“The training provided by ALIN really helped me. I managed to secure a computer job. This was only possible because of the knowledge that I gained from the Maarifa,’’ said Joseph Kanyi.

The trainees came from as far as 18 Kilometers. Most of the trainees were located around Sipili Location. The Centre also had trainees who were residing in areas such as Minjore, Mithuri, Milango, Ndemu Ndune, Machunguru, Bondeni, Kinamba, Kahuruko, Mlima Meza, Ndurumo, Naiborom and Ndaragwiti.

“I was a clerk at the D.O’s office in Kinamba but once I cleared my training at the Maarifa centre I was given a promotion and now I work as a Computer Operator. I thank ALIN for providing the training,” said Alfred Machangi, Computer Operator at Kinamba D.Os office.

The trainees were divided into seven different groups and each group had a particular day and time in which they attended training. Group one, two, three and four attended training on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday while group five, six and seven attended training on Thursday and Friday.

Saturday was normally reserved for practice and consulting and the trainees were encouraged to practice their typing skills on Saturdays.

Most of the trainees have already been able to secure jobs with the government and the county government. Others have been employed in the private sector while other trainees have managed to start their own businesses.

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