Victor Omondi joined DOT Kenya in 2006 as an Intern. The nine month Internship experience changed his life in a big way; he now works for Nairobits,one of DOT Kenya's partners and owns a boutique.
Victor(Standing in blue shirt) and fellow DOT Kenya Interns Faith Muricho,Nicolas Musyoka,Carol Wamwea,Samuel Futene back in 2006
"My name is Victor Omondi and I consider myself one of those successful people among my peers I graduated with from College. Immediately after graduating from the University of Nairobi in the year 2006 with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Communication and Development options, I was recruited as an Intern by DOT.
Coming straight from college to work is a problem for many young people, as employers prefer experienced personnel over new graduates. Thanks to DOT and the training and experience I received I was able to deal with this phase. I made many contacts as I facilitated the ReachUp! program, and those were networks that would later on help shape my career. Because of the work I did through DOT I was hired by one of DOT's partner organizations, Nirobits, who were impressed by my performance and the innovativeness of the program.
Facilitating the ReachUp! program laid the foundation for my transition from school to work and it provided a link between my livelihood and knowledge acquisition. Since then, I have benefited from numerous ideas of this intervention. They would be and not limited to the following three aspects:Personal development and growth assessment tool, Community center based approach of development, and Entrepreneurial skills training.
First have it in mind it was the first time ever for all of us as interns and this Canadian NGO to implement such a program in this region after scores of success stories in the Middle East. Meaning that everything we did was a first. We were breaking the ground as rookies in a market that had no idea about DOT.
I remember we were subjected to filling in a lot of monitoring tools and amongst them was the personal development and growth tool. I never understood the seriousness of this tool as I do today. Constantly the Intern Support Manager would help us evaluate ourselves using this tool and later we would find gaps we needed to fill in our strengths and weaknesses. It was during one such self evaluation that I discovered I lacked ICT skills that were beginning to be more and more integral part of the job market and basic lifestyle. What did I do about it? I decided to go back to school where I pursued a Diploma in IT at the Jomo Kenyatte University of Agriculture and Technology. In fact I would say the entire program instilled in me the urge of researching and the art of self study as a way of improving the community around me and status of my well being.
Victor Omondi, Mugethi Gitau in the middle and Caroline Oduma during a business challenge Gala at PanAfrica hotel.
Probably you did not know that my day to day work at Nairobits as Information Centers Coordinator has been largely borrowed from the DOT's ReachUp! concept. I have been in charge of 'the poverty eradication and information provision' portfolio as I manage and administer seven information /resource centers within the informal settlements of Nairobi namely: Kibera, Kayole, Marurui, Mathare, and Kariobangi. In these centers we train, hold discussion forums, share information on opportunities and offer youth friendly services. I take a lot of pride that I weaved this docket from scratch to what it is today. I helped NairoBits set up these centers at a time when they were undergoing paradigm shift and transition from center based training to community based training. Today I supervise eight staff members from NairoBits and many more that come from our partners like the current DOT interns training within Nairobits centers.
Of course the most interesting bit about DOT was the Entrepreneurial skills training that equipped me with a wealth of knowledge on enterprise management. Thanks to the entrepreneurial skills training I received at DOT throughout my internship I now own a year-old business known as Lamaz Boutique where I sell imported goods from Dubai. And I owe its success to the hands on skills provided by the ReachUp! program. My motivation to set up Lamaz was due to many reasons: one was to supplement my income from employment, two to be a good example to the young people I trained in class where they would say I walked the talk and may be because I saw an opportunity that the USIU students living in Roysambu area provided. My shop specializes in women accessories such as jewelry, designer hand bags and shoes, perfumes, tights and tops. My selling point has been providing quality attire at affordable prices. As a person who adores women I understand the value they place in uniqueness, beauty, affordability, quality and the need to update wardrobes every quite often.
Inside Victor's Lamaz Boutique where he sells women's accessories
It is a good point that I am in the process of building a website for Lamaz where customers would be able to place orders real time on-line. I am sure this will add an online presence to the venture as it grows. Besides its one way of utilizing the ICT skills I have since mastered in my life.
I know there are a lot of good things coming my way in terms of personal projects as well as job- wise that I can't wait to share with you. And just so that you may know….many of what I have done and achieved did not come the easy way. There are times I tried and failed and there are times I tried and went through.Finally, I beg to ask DOT to allow such alumni like others and I to play a role in give back to DOT and to other interns in future.
Long live DOT!" Victor