The Cisco Networking Academy program in Kenya has opened an IT academy in collaboration with Deaf Aid, a Norwegian based nongovernmental organization in Nairobi. The new centre provides a forum for reflection on the plight of the disabled with regard to equal access to learning and career opportunities, especially in the emergent market-savvy ICT industry. This is a key milestone in Cisco’s commitment to support ICT capacity building for all citizens and give them an equal opportunity regardless of their social and physical status.
Cisco Networking Academy is a global education program providing Information Technology skills to students globally to improve their career and economic opportunities in communities around the world. In Kenya, Cisco has partnered with educational institutions and Non Governmental Organizations, through which the public has access to the Cisco training in ICT. Through these partnerships, Cisco has established community academies to serve people from disadvantaged areas.
Deaf communities in many developing countries face similar challenges. One of them is the lack of programs specifically designed for the local Sign Languages of their communities. According to Jean-Claude, Country Director, Deaf Aid:
The Deaf, just like other people with disabilities, are exposed to various challenges in their quest to access education and professional careers. Despite these challenges, Cisco and Deaf Aid developed a customized training methodology that has accommodated learners with hearing impairment and ensure they acquire the ICT skills just like other members of the society. Our approach is holistic with programs that cut across a number of sectors and actors. We work with parents of the deaf, community based organizations and deaf schools
The Cisco Academy at Deaf Aid offers ICT training based on the Cisco IT Essentials course to deaf students mobilized from disadvantaged backgrounds within Nairobi and its environments. This is a beginner course that sets the foundation for the students to pursue a career in computer networking based on the courses offered through the Cisco networking academy program. The vision is to expand this program so as to reach to as many people with disabilities as possible in our society.
What do you think are the possibilities to export this to other communities?