iTalanta Academy in Kakuma prepares talented youth from refugee and host communities for employment as IT developers

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On Monday 1 November the first campus of the iTalanta Academy starts in the Kakuma
refugee camp. 20 candidates, selected from the refugee camp and host communities, will
undergo an intensive 30-week program, preparing them for employment as IT developers.
The key learning opportunities for the students will be both focused on programming as
well as problem solving skills which are highly relevant in the current market and IT space.

The program is free of charge to the selected students. They are equipped with a laptop
and with a bicycle, for their daily commute to the campus in Kakuma. The curriculum is
permanently supervised on site by experienced coaches from iTalanta.
The graduates from the program are likely to gain interview opportunites with Microsoft
African Development Center or be absorbed into the iTalanta apprenticeship program.
This first campus of the iTalanta Academy is co-sponsored between Windle, Microsoft and
Elewa.

Windle International Kenya (https://windle.org/) is a humanitarian organization working
in Dadaab and Turkana Counties. The organization supports education in the refugee
camps and surrounding areas hosting the camps. In Kakuma, Windle International Kenya
is managing 9 secondary schools with a population of 17,118 learners.

Windle International Kenya has a great wealth of experience and expertise in managing
education programmes both at secondary and tertiary level. As such, with their skilled
team and educational facilities on the ground, Windle International Kenya will play a crucial
role in communicating the program to the different stakeholders and ensuring that the
program is implemented as required.

“Through the iTalanta Academy, the learners from Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kalobeyei
Settlement, and the host community in Kakuma will have an alternative pathway to
generate income”, says Phyllis Mureu, Executive Director of Windle International Kenya.

“This resonates well with the current plans to ensure that both the refugee and host
communities work together towards social and economic development in Turkana County”.
The Africa Development Center (ADC) represents Microsoft’s first-ever engineering offices
in Africa. With locations in both Nairobi, Kenya and Lagos, Nigeria, the ADC is a premier
center of Engineering for Microsoft.

Apart from supporting the initiative financially, Microsoft is also contributing with a
mentorship program where members of the ADC mentor candidates of the iTalanta
Academy. The program ends with ADC’s Game of Learners Exhibition
(https://aka.ms/gameoflearners), providing a fun, multi-week hackathon for learners to
showcase their newly acquired skills.

“We at the Microsoft Africa Development Center are keen on enabling the next generation
of great African engineers, software developers and innovators that will not only benefit
Microsoft, but the entire ecosystem will benefit,” says Jack Ngare, Managing Director of
Microsoft ADC. “We look forward to the outcome of the program and the software
developers that rise from it.”

Elewa (https://www.elewa.education/) is a Kenyan education innovation company,
incorporated in 2015. Elewa has been the driving force behind the iTalanta Academy. It
intends to set up additional campuses in Kenya, with the same or similar partners,
addressing talented youth from disadvantaged or marginalized communities.
Elewa provides the curriculum and the coaches while the iTalanta Academy creates a talent
pipeline for the successful iTalanta Apprenticeship program, which was started in 2020.

“In the industrialized world, enterprises – from corporates to start-ups – experience
increasing difficulties to find quality IT resources”, says Jente Rosseel, Founder and CEO
of Elewa. “At iTalanta, we engage young Kenyan IT professionals for a 2-year
apprenticeship. While gaining a substantial salary, they constantly up-skill their level, as
they are coached and supervised by senior IT profiles. We are proud to see that global
iTalanta customers are off-shoring their entire IT development needs to tech teams in
Nairobi.”

With the industrialization of the iTalanta Academy and the iTalanta Apprenticeship
program, more than 1,000 talented youth will be educated and employed over the next 4
years by iTalanta (https://italanta.net/)