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Hear from DIP Kakuma ICT trainers Juma and Taban

Taban and Juma are our two Digital Inclusion Program (DIP) ICT instructors in the Kakuma Refugee Camp. As our resident experts on the  DIP curricula, they have been diligently teaching our first cohort of students about computer operating systems, Excel formulas, professional client communication, and more! We asked Taban and Juma about how they see the DIP Kakuma impacting local communities.

Taban and Juma's responses have been lightly edited for improved clarity and accuracy.

First up, we have Taban!

Taban is an enthusiastic individual with a strong passion for the tech sector. Taban recognizes high potential within the young refugee residents of Kakuma, and is determined to provide them with an opportunity to attain financial stability. 

Q1: Tell us your name and your role.

My name is Taban. In simple terms I am a techie. I love to engage in tech. I’m from a family of four and I was raised by a single mother, which taught me to be patient. I say I’m a techie because I have been learning technology for quite a while. 

Q2: What drew you to digital upskilling programs? Why are digital skills training important?

Becoming a digital instructor is my aspiration.I want social change, because you see in modern society nowadays that there is a wide gap in Africa in terms of digital education. Let's talk about Africa and the Western World. In the Western World, you see that everything is being transitioned to digital - like medicine, the industry field, even football. Let's talk about the previous world cup in Qatar. If you have been following the news of the World Cup you saw that the ball itself was equipped with digital technology that could detect goals. So technology itself it's something that's changing the world. 

What drew me [to the DIP program] is social change and aspiration. I want to break [the digital divide] so that even my people from the camp can gain from technology. We can taste the fruit of technology.

Q3: How do you see the Digital Inclusion Program benefiting communities in the Kakuma Refugee Camp?

In terms of benefiting women, [the DIP program] is very crucial because we see in the African culture that women are being undermined. In the African community we see that women are made to observe, but in reality these women are the smartest ones. Let's talk about psychology – it's amazing how women can multitask while a man cannot. It shows that they have more ability than us. 

Q4: What are you most excited for with the upcoming DIP in Kakuma?

What makes me more excited about such programs is that this program will likely sustain the livelihood of underserved communities especially in Kakuma. In Kakuma, the employment percentage it's very low, as most of the youth are not employed and [vulnerable to becoming] involved in doing illegal stuff like doing drugs which will ruin their future.

Q5: What would you tell someone, especially a woman, who is interested in joining the digital field but worries they can’t because they are African? 

In the technical fields, you need to be determined and you have to be committed. Technology is evolving – last year we were not talking about ChatGPT but nowadays we're talking about ChatGPT. Ten years ago we had never heard of a cloud based system, but nowadays we are hearing about a cloud based system. So from this perspective we see that technology is moving at a very high pace so for you to keep up you have to be a self learning person and you have to read a lot of articles and associate yourself with technology. 

Q6: What do you hope to achieve from this program?

I have a very big plan for this. I wish to start a technological startup for girls. We can form a team, let's say a team of ten, and this team of ten can work as a group of freelancers. I know working in a group, it can propel things in an easy way. Apart from this, I encourage [my students] to come up with different ideas for different startups – identify a problem, come up with this solution, show people you have the solution so they will be driven to come to you to see [your solution]. I would also encourage them to further their skill in tech, which t has a lot of opportunity.

Next up we have Juma! Juma is a dedicated teacher looking to boost his knowledge of online freelancing and education facilitation. Juma sees the DIP as an important opportunity for Kakuma residents, particularly female refugees, to access economic opportunities. Juma’s responses have been lightly edited for clarity and accuracy.

Next, hear from Juma!

Q1: Tell us your name and your role.

My name is Juma. I come from Sudan. I came to the Kakuma refugee camp in the year 2019. That's when I came to catch up with life in Kenya. 

What about technology in Kenya? Technology in Kenya has been very depressing, but maybe I can help it become something. I studied in the center of science and technology and completed [my degree] in the year 2022 

Q2: What drew you to digital upskilling programs? Why are digital skills training important?

What it brings me to the [DIP] program is that it’s all about technology, interacting with people, and also using the current technology to help you better your life. And also this course is more about digital [upskilling] than computer science. When I heard about the program there was so much interest in it, and I see that it's a program that is going to help me obtain opportunities in Kenya. I got to see more about the world of technology and the chance to make money.

Q3: What excites you the most about being a trainer in this program? 

What excites me most is using digital tools to get money and also interacting with friends and learning more about the program. I'm a person who likes to solve people's problems. By giving them the opportunity to speak, I get what they are talking about, I try to understand and provide a solution for them. 

Q4: So far from the program, how do you see benefiting the Kakuma community?

The Digital Inclusion Program is bringing light, especially in Kakuma. We know that it's a place where people have to find jobs. Freelance ,I know, it will create chances – it will open doors for the marginalized to be helpful, and to use their skills to improve their lives. 

​Q5: In your opinion, how can we bring more women into the tech world?

In my opinion, to get women into the digital field, we need to create a way to do this. In our community in Kakuma, we know that women compete with other women outside, so we need to move forward these communities – we need to mobilize the community in Kakuma. Today women play a large role in empowering our Kakuma ladies or girls in the refugee camp, and to empower the countries where they come from. 

Q6: And what would you say to a woman to encourage them to join the digital inclusion program? 

The word of encouragement that I can give to ladies in Kakuma to move forward into digital skills, I would give them a motivational speech: That they keep on trying, we can make it. And also I will give them the example of the woman [CEO Jean Guo] who started this program Konexio. It’s a program that was brought about by a female, and if we can also educate women in Kakuma, they can also become one of the great women in the world today.

Q7: What do you hope to achieve from this program?

The main thing that I have in mind that I want to achieve is that I want to have like 100% transition of successful young ladies whom I'm going to train. That at least by the hand of this 6-month program, these ladies can come outside and not have to go far for jobs because at least they will have jobs at their own hand, they can make money online, they can move the direction of their lives forward and become stable women.

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