The African Centre for Women Information and Communication Technology (ACWICT), and Kisumu County government, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology have developed a Youth Empowerment Initiative known as The Kisumu Digital Literacy Program. The program seeks to equip an initial 700 standard 8 graduates with digital literacy, coding, life skills, entrepreneurship and life skills to increase the employability prospects and income generating activities.

The program is under the #TransformKisumu agenda and was officially launched by the Governor of Kisumu County, His Excellency Hon. Jack Ranguma.

“The County has the highest possible number of employable youths, and this is why we are equipping them with these skills to empower them set up ICT enabled enterprises,” said His Excellency Jack Ranguma.

The Governor added that the program is mainly to empower STD 8 graduates who are most vulnerable to social vices to treat them as resources rather than problem solvers.

In the next 18 months, Kisumu County under the #TransformKisumu is aiming at having the highest density of coders in Africa. This is a positive step to the right direction, because the county has realized a shortage of IT personnel in the region with Her Excellency Hon Ruth Odinga, giving an account of her struggle in search of an IT expert.

ACWICT Executive Director Ms. Constantine Obuya, said, “The program is a demand-driven training project that will equip the young people participating with technical and soft skills that will enable them to launch and succeed in business and the world of work.”

Kisumu County is has set its bar high, benching marking its achievements with countries like Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa the economic giants in Africa and California in the United States. The technical nature of the training is lucrative, and therefore the county wants to invest its human resource into the multi –national companies located in the country and across the globe.

The youths in the county were also encouraged to own the project and make personal efforts to improve the quality of their lives.

“Technology sets a platform to create new jobs, to completely understand the possibilities it presents, each person must do their bit,” said Hon. Michael Oduor Onyango the County Executive Committee Member, Communication, Information and Technology. “As the beneficiaries you are groomed to be employers, we want to see your success stories featured in CNN’s Inside Africa.” He added.

The county will provide training centers and ICT infrastructure in all the 35 wards, and ensure each ward equitable slots.

Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology has partnered with the county to conduct a research on the effectiveness of the Youth Empowerment Intiative.