September 15, 2017
This series introduces scholarship graduates who keep striving towards a better future after the completion of the program.
Our focus for this installment is on Mr. Robin Pik Kipkoech who returned to Kenya in July 2016 and is currently working for NEC Africa (Pty) Ltd., a subsidiary of NEC Corporation, a global enterprise that aims to create social value by capitalizing on information and communications technologies (ICT). NEC brings together and integrates technology and expertise to create the ICT-enabled society of tomorrow. NEC's strengths are rooted in its development of some of the world's leading ICT assets, which have been cultivated through more than 100 years of history and combined through NEC's advanced integration capabilities. The company works closely with customers and partners around the world to promote projects and to provide solutions that are optimized for local needs.
* ABE Initiative: Master's Degree and Internship Program of African Business Education Initiative for Youth, launched by Japanese Prime Minister Abe in TICADV in 2013. Participants are from the private sector, government officials and educators.
Robin, a participant in the ABE Initiative's first program, pursued his Master's degree at the International University of Japan - Graduate School of International Management. Though among the few Private Sector employees who got accepted back by their previous employers even after having been away for long, Robin still knew he would venture out for more suitable opportunities that match his progressed education and experience. He never shelved his ambitions of working in an environment that would capitalize on his IT skills, broader experience as well as the practical expertise acquired while studying in Japan.
To reach the new heights that Robin had set for himself, he kept his schedule open to arising opportunities, one being the JICA Kenya Office organized Presentations and Networking Fairs. He also participated in the TICAD VI under the invitation of the JICA Kenya Office in a pre-event for discussing the possible linkage of Higher Education and Industrialization with the aim of building linkage between Academia and Industries, a theme which was in line with the ABE Initiative's concept.
In one of the forums held at the JICA Kenya Office with the attendance of both JICA Staff and invited members of the Japanese Business Companies organization, Robin made a presentation that would open a future that befits his aspirations. A presentation that captured the attention of a prospective employer, Mr. Takashi Irie of NEC Africa (Pty) Ltd., and a year later, opened a door to his dream job.
The ABE Team of the JICA Kenya Office had a chance to interview Robin about his new job at NEC Africa (Pty) Ltd. On meeting Robin, one can hardly miss his radiance. The joy of his current status is quite evident.
From an E-mail, which he had shared with the ABE Team at the JICA Kenya Office, Mr. Robin wrote "I'm indeed very thankful to Irie-san for giving me this opportunity. I will work hard and maintain his trust because this has been the best opportunity in my career path."
It would be his joy, he says, to see as many ABE Participants benefit from JICA's efforts in connecting them with the Japanese Business Community. He therefore encourages all participants to always put forth their best effort and to attend the various Networking Fairs organized by the JICA Kenya Office and play their required roles well and with both honesty and confidence.
While referring to Robin's performance, Mr. Irie, who is NEC Africa's Nairobi Branch Manager and Robin's boss as well, said, "He has worked well in our team, even soon after joining. In addition to taking advantage of his ICT background, he is always making efforts to achieve higher. He is accustomed to the system and already a core engineer for face recognition security technology, which we at NEC are currently promoting. The company has offered him the chance for special training in the UK, where he can become a certificated engineer."
"To find suitable personnel, I think one of the best ways is to search from ABE Initiative participants. They have each passed a 5-step screening and selection interviews process that spans nearly one year, and have studied in Japan for 2 years. Meanwhile, they have also experienced internships in Japanese companies, which gives them a valuable understanding of working among Japanese companies. I intend to participate in the next networking opportunity as well."
Robin during the interview
Robin at work in the office
Nairobi Branch Manager Mr. Irie and Robin