For the past few decades, emerging technologies such as biotechnology, microelectronics, information technology and communications technologies have become central to the socioeconomic development of nations. These technologies improve productivity and facilitate better living standards when they penetrate into societies. Among them, information technology (IT) has become the most dominant; IT has revolutionized almost every aspect of our lives, public and private, by connecting individuals, institutions and governments in mutually dependent ways. With its ease of adoption, this interdependence has scaled rapidly, unlike any other technology in modern history. Consequently, IT professionals can practice in any sector; however unlikely. JKUAT Alumnus Joshua Makau would see his training land him a job in gender and social development. Here’s more of that story.
1. Who is Joshua Makau? When people think of you, what do they say or perceive? Describe yourself in one sentence.
I am a young man, passionate about using my talents, knowledge and skills for the uttermost benefit of the society through research and offering services.
2. When did you join JKUAT and why did you choose to study Information Technology?
I joined JKUAT in May 2010 and was interested in Information Technology as a course that would equip me with practical skills and enable me to work independently with a high degree of self-reliance.
3. What was your experience at JKUAT in terms of:
- Quality of training. JKUAT exposed me to contemporary issues in Information Technology through training and practical hands-on internal and industrial attachments.
- Training equipment, resources, and facilities. Yes. The facilities are there. Computer Laboratories and Internet Access. Then the libraries and e-resources are accessible and reliable sources of information
- Support offered by lecturers in and out of the classroom environment. Very supportive . In fact, it is one of my lectures who introduced me to the field of academia through research publications.
- Practical training I like the way JKUAT structures its practical oriented courses. Like in Bsc. IT, we used to write several lines of code for assignments and systems project. The course blended well the theory and practical aspects of Information Technology.
- Extracurricular activities engagement. (We’re you involved say in sports or any other activities apart from your academic pursuits?) My interests were in community service. I did not do sports. I liked volunteering through Rotaract Club and mentoring students at High School.
4. What does your work as a Gender and Social Development Officer entail? Give us a run through of your duties and responsibilities.
This is a community-oriented job. I am tasked with the implementation of cash transfer program, a form of the social assistance under the Ministry of East Africa, Labour and Social Protection at the county level. The program under the name ‘INUA JAMII’ is a social safety net program to uplift the vulnerable and poor households in Kenya by offering regular stipends with the Kenya Commercial Bank as the payment service provider. My main duties and responsibilities, therefore, entail targeting and registration of cash transfer beneficiaries, mobilization of cash transfer beneficiaries during payment periods, liaising with Payment Service Provider (in this case Kenya Commercial Bank) to effect changes on cash transfer beneficiary payroll, compiling reports for the (NSNP) at the sub- county level, recording, acting on complaints and grievances from cash transfer beneficiaries. The most routine of these activities is recording and acting on complaints and grievances from the cash transfer beneficiaries.
5. Is your line of work related to the course you pursued at JKUAT? Has the training you received at JKUAT helped you in any way or did you have to do a lot of on job training?
Partly yes. This is because of the extensive data and information processing as well as coordinating data and information exchange between the local management information systems at the office computer and the central management information system hosted by the ministry through the single registry though other than that I do not do other technical work.
6. Where do you see yourself five years from now? (In your career, academics, and personal life.)
I am currently pursuing a Masters degree in Business Information Technology through the JKUAT‘s School of Online, Distance Education and e-Learning which I intend to complete come 2018 April with the aim of advancing my career interests in applied information technology in the social setups and communities and pursue further research interests in this area. In five years I am seeing myself an accomplished professional practicing and consulting in information systems management and audit.
7. Parting shot.
Whatever you lay your hands on, give it your level best and do it in such a way that the person next to you, regardless of gender, religious decree, race or whatever other category will find a reason to thank God for enabling you to do such a wondrous deed.