The Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF), Kenya, and the National Transformation Initiative (NTI), Barbados, signed a Letter of Intent today to promote a deeper working relationship between the two entities.
Under the Letter of Intent, the NTI will seek to leverage its Learning Management System (LMS) to curate a suite of courses to meet the needs of the YEDF, a state corporation in Kenya’s Ministry of ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs. Given the alignment of the NTI’s national transformation agenda and the YEDF’s youth empowerment focus, the partnership includes exploring the possibility of exchanging technical and capacity building resources through technology as well as exchanging people and building other relationships to further their mutual objectives.
The Letter of Intent was signed by Mr. Benson Muthendi, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the YEDF, and Dr. Allyson Leacock, Director of the NTI. Among the distinguished speakers at the virtual signing ceremony was His Excellency William. A. McDonald, High Commissioner of the Government of Barbados to the Republic of Kenya, Senator Dr. The Hon. Shantal Munro-Knight, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Barbados, Dr. Victor Mwongera, YEDF Board Chairman, and officials from the government, YEDF and the NTI.
His Excellency W. A. McDonald said that the “degree of synchronicity between what the government of Kenya was doing for its young persons and what the government of Barbados was doing for all persons” led to the rapid 3-month development of the partnership between the NTI and the YEDF.
The NTI Director was delighted to reach this point of the partnership. She highlighted three alliances that resonate for both countries and entities as they deepen their relationships: “Citizenship (the NTI’s flagship course) and its role in building active citizenry, the embracing of new ways of teaching and learning as we promote the benefits of eLearning, and the viewing of learning as an ongoing process and lifelong journey.”
“If we as a people want to showcase how we can be at a global level and have a unique offering to bring to the global space, then e-learning provides a unique opportunity to reach everyone so that they can learn in their way and in their time,” Dr. Leacock expressed.
“In NTI’s very young life, we’ve attracted 19,679 Barbadians who have registered for our eight indigenous courses… we also have hundreds of accredited courses with our international partner, the largest MOOC in the world, Coursera, and that has attracted enrolments of 28,094 Barbadians online. So, we are more than happy to welcome STARR Kenyans to our fold, and we look forward to a rich exchange between our two entities,” she added.
Both YEDF leaders Muthendi and Dr. Mwongera expressed their excitement about the partnership. Dr. Mwongera noted that young people formed the core of the workforce of the Kenyan economy, comprising 76%.
“To support this youthful and energetic population, we must continuously evolve and look for ideas and new opportunities. Therefore, when we heard of this opportunity to form this partnership, we were very excited to do so. Some of the programmes we have seen from the NTI are items that we are very excited to see if we can incorporate into the Youth Fund,” the Board Chairman said.
Senator Dr. The Hon. Shantal Munro-Knight considered the partnership “a sterling example of South-South cooperation”. “The National Transformation is a critical pillar in the government’s approach to ensuring that young people and workers are provided with opportunities for training that are relevant, responsive and meet their needs. This is something we are very happy to be sharing with our Kenyan colleagues… Our people and nations will be enriched by these exploratory exchanges,” she highlighted.