NairoBits started in 1999, when Emer Beamer, Ineke Aquarius and Hester Ezra discussed their aspirations to start up a web design institute in Nairobi for disadvantaged young people, motivated to share their skills as multimedia designers and offer chances to the youth in a time where the ICT space in Africa was evolving and largely untapped on the education front. Their mission was to change the lives of the youth by building their skills and changing their mindset, from vulnerable to empowered people who could earn a living and uplift their communities as a result.
Our first graduating class consisted of 20 students, who by the end of two months had made their own websites with self made photos of their city,stories, self portraits and had taken part in an online exchange with Dutch students. The works made were exhibited in the National Museum of Kenya, the first digital exhibition to ever take place at the museum. This resulted in a number of media articles and appearances.
“When we started it was never the plan to develop it into a school, but was more of a project. But because of their enthusiasm and creativity it developed into a permanent school. There is something about NairoBits that works. That survives every storm and changes with the tides. The success of NairoBits and the new Bits schools that came after is truly a group effort. I am proud to be part of that group, that has provided a great learning environment for so many youths. A lot of what I do today I have learnt at NairoBits!” – Ineke Aquarius, co-founder NairoBits Trust.
“As a co-founder of Nairobits, I wanted to share my abilities in order give others a chance to make a better life for themselves. To date I am so proud of all that has been achieved, the thousands of lives touched, the opportunities created and the spirit of giving back I see in the alumni community. ”
Emer Beamer, co-founder NairoBits Trust.
To ground and launch the project, we institutionalized a new organizational approach and educational method based on creativity leading to employability and success in the ICT sector, supported by our mandate to unlock the potential of the targeted youth to improve their socio-economic well-being by building and enhancing relevant inter-personal and professional skills through entrepreneurship, life-skills and sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR), by effectively educating and empowering them.
We have trained over 6,000 youth who have been able to secure employment in both the formal and informal sectors, and successfully ventured into entrepreneurship. We work with the youth irrespective of gender, disability, religious beliefs and ethnicity. The impact has since been noted by international awards, but most satisfyingly by employment and success of graduating students.
Since inception, the Trust has been headed by a locally constituted Board of Trustees comprising of 5 members, established by the Trust Deed. The Board is mandated to ensure that the organization is guided by its vision, mission, core values, guiding principles and objectives in its operations. The Board also ensures that the organization operates within its mandate, preserves its values, and operates as a responsible and respected corporate citizen.
The management of the Trust is headed by an Executive Director who is supported by a management team. The organization consists of staff working in programs departments, communication and the training department. NairoBits is an equal opportunity employer focused on advancing the skills of staff for an effective workforce.