Safaricom has partnered with the National Industrial Training Authority (NITA), Sightsavers and Cisco to train digital skills through internship opportunities for people living with disabilities (PLWDs). The partnership will see the first cohort of 34 interns from the Bridge-IT Academy join Safaricom for a 6 month internship program following their completion of a 9 month digital skills training at NITA, facilitated by Cisco experts.

The interns, who are now CISCO Certified Network Associates (CCNA) and Cisco Certified Technicians (CCT), will get the opportunity to work in various departments within Safaricom. These include Digital Engineering, Cybersecurity, Cloud Computing, Big Data, IP networks, among other digital-related fields.

The IT Bridge Cisco Academy course ran for the first time in 2021 as part of the Inclusive Futures initiative to improve access to work for people with disabilities. The initiative is delivered by Sightsavers, an international organisation working to prevent avoidable blindness and support equality for people with disabilities, and the United Disabled Persons of Kenya (UDPK) which advocates for the rights of people with disabilities in Kenya.

“Following the Global Disability Summit of 2018, we committed to supporting the economic empowerment of people with disabilities. In line with our vision to become a purpose-led Technology Company, we seek to grow the pool of talent of people with disabilities with digital skills,” said Peter Ndegwa, Chief Executive Officer, Safaricom.

On his part, Moses Chege, Country Director for Sightsavers Kenya said, “Our role is to support young people with disabilities launch their careers through our Inclusive Employment Programme. They now have a strong career foundation in IT – skills that are in high demand as the world of work becomes increasingly digital. For the students, no formal education is needed: the only requirement is a passion for the work and an aptitude for IT.”

Safaricom has integrated the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into its core business strategy, including SDG 10, which calls for reduced inequalities, and SDG 8, which advocates for a decent work environment. Since the Global Disability Summit in 2018 held in London, Safaricom has increased its percentage of employees who are people with disability from 1.7% (95) to the current 2.5% (140), with a target of reaching 5% by the year 2025.