• June 18, 2024
  • Last Update June 18, 2024 3:54 PM
  • Nairobi

Dream comes true for governor Nyong’o as Zone01 Kisumu cohort 1 is launched

Dream comes true for governor Nyong’o as Zone01 Kisumu cohort 1 is launched

By Peter Ochieng

With the launch of the Zone01 Kisumu first cohort, Kisumu governor Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o’s dream of establishing a digital hub to train top tech talents from the Lakeside county and beyond, has come to pass.   

Over two years ago during a visit to Brussels, Belgium, the second term governor envisioned a centre with relevant facilities to train youth in various computer-centered applications, including mobile web development, cybersecurity, Artifical Intelligence (AI), game development and blockchain among others.

The governor shared his vision with David Sultan, the Chief Operating Officer of 01Talent who bought into the idea, and things started rolling through the partnership of Sultan’s organisation, Lake Hub, the County government of Kisumu and the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCGL).  

“The governor is a person who wants things done right away,” said David, praising the county chief for setting everything in motion towards establishing the Hub shortly after their first meeting.

Addresssing over 90 youth who form part and parcel of the first cohorts on Friday in Kisumu, Nyong’o said the project is geared towards addressing the thorny issue of unemployment, not only in Kisumu, but across the country.

According to the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE), Nyong’o said, the overall unemployment rate in Kenya is at 12.7 percent, but youth who form 35 percent of the Kenyan population, have the highest unemployment rate of 67 percent.

“That is why this project is a key initiative of my government in addressing the challenge of youth unemployment in Kisumu county and in Kenya. The project aims at building world-class competencies among our youth and preparing them for immense opportunities in this field,” he stated.

“We have no doubt that this program will change the fortunes of our youth because ICT now controls all aspects of life, providing newer, better, and quicker ways for people to interact, network, seek help, gain access to information, and learn,” he added.

Zone01 Kisumu’s mission is to unearth new pools of digital talent to give them the best education that will transform them into the world’s best coders, and deploy them to top tech jobs.

Research shows that there is a global shortage of 4.5 million coders, with the governor stating that Kisumu county is in line to producing the next generation of tech savvy proffessionals.

“These young people are starting their journey to become mobile Web App developers, data engineers, Artificial Intelligence experts, video game developers, block chain and cyber security engineers,” said Nyong’o.  

To have come this far, the 96 youth who form part of the first cohort navigated through various stages. Over 10,000 applied to be part of cohort 1, 420 were interviewed, while only 96 were selected. 60 percent of the apprentices are residents of Kisumu county.  

The process kicked of with identifying of future digital talents within a large pool of diverse population, with step one being online proprietary cognitive tests, followed by a 4-week intensive selection process.

An 18-month tuition free training then begins, coupled with 6 months of specialization. After the training, the talents are guaranteed a job with Zone01 Kisumu where they are handed a three year contract. Zone01 Kisumu is also connected to the global network to provide job opportunities.

Along the way, other partners have come on board, including Nicolas Sadirac, the founder of the 01 learning pedagogy or method.

James Odede, co-founder, Lake Hub Foundation said by 2030, it is estimated that there will be 20 million jobs in the digital space. “We are giving the youth a chance to learn what they need in order to have a say in the digital economy,” said the Maseno University alumni.

His sentiments were echoed by Zone01 Kisumu managing director Dorcas Owiti, and Mary Kirema, Secretary, ICT, e-commerce and the digital economy. Kirema challenged the apprentices to be business minded, so as to transition into busniess owners upon concluding their studies.

“We support start-ups. We are ready to partner with you and market you internationally. Without partnerships, we are going nowhere,” she maintained.

The students led by Fena Onditi and Cynthia Oketch appreciated the county and all partners for putting up a hands on system of learning, that seeks to empower hundreds of youth, in the end impacting communities.

The county government of Kisumu has set up the Zone01 Hub at the Kisumu Rotary Vocational Training Centre, with 50 computers and a Local Area Network (LAN) infrastructure.

Nyong’o’s administration has also availed chairs and desks for 80 students. In addition, Konza Technopolis has agreed to donate 20 desktop Computers to the project.

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