Diplomatic ties between Barbados and Kenyan were further strengthened on Wednesday when the Youth Enterprise Development Fund (YEDF) of Kenya and Barbados’ National Transformation Initiative (NTI) signed a Letter of Intent paving the way for Kenyan citizens to access the online courses on the NTI platform.
Director of the NTI, Dr. Allyson Leacock, spoke during the virtual signing ceremony and welcomed the positive collaboration stating that e-learning and other modern ways of delivering education are the way forward for countries to prepare their workforce for the global stage.
“If we as a people want to showcase how we can be at a global level, that we have a unique offering to bring to a global space, then e-learning provides a unique opportunity. Yes, there are blended courses as well, but e-learning is a new way of learning in many ways for us, and it also is a tremendous opportunity that is provided for us to reach everyone to learn their way and in their time,” she said.
Dr. Leacock also revealed that so far, 19 679 Barbadians have utilised the ‘indigenous courses’ on the platform, which include online safety, core skills, entrepreneurship, occupational health and safety, the citizenship flagship course, introduction to coding with java, beginners sign language and personal financial management, with a further 28 094 Barbadians engaging with the Coursera-offered programmes on the portal.
Dr. Victor Mwenda Mwongera, chairman of the Board of the Youth Enterprise Development Fund in Kenya, also expressed his support for the new working relationship with Barbados. Since the fund’s inception, he said, just over two million Kenyan youths have benefited from its support.
“The youth fund has supported over two million youths to date. We have disbursed loans close to 14.8 billion Kenyan Shillings, which is approximately $140 million ,since 2006 to 2022. Despite these very strong numbers, we also recognize that we do not have all the solutions… To be able to serve this youthful and energetic population we must also continuously evolve, continuously look for new ideas and new opportunities.
“Therefore when we had this opportunity to form this partnership between the country of Barbados and Kenya through the youth fund, we were very excited to do so.”
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Senator Dr Shantal Munro-Knight, also lent her support to the new venture. She noted that the NTI has been a critical pillar in the island’s aim to develop a modern and well-trained workforce
“The National Transformation Initiative has provided a critical platform, a critical pillar, in the Government’s approach to ensuring that young people [and] workers right across our workforce are provided with opportunities that are relevant, responsive, and directly delivered in a way that meets them at their needs.
“This is something that we are very happy to be sharing with our Kenyan colleagues, very happy to be sharing with others.” (SB)