MySkills4Afrika
“This experience was immensely rewarding - an opportunity for me to extend my skills, but of even greater significance - an opportunity to gain insight into the types of projects people are involved in and to understand more about the specific challenges unique to emerging markets.”
Martina Hennessey, Senior Project
Manager, Microsoft Ireland
What it offers
Microsoft employees from all over the world volunteer their time, talent and considerable expertise to help build a successful and dynamic future for Africa. Launched in late 2013, participants support a wide range of individuals and organizations across the continent, ranging from start-ups, small and medium businesses to schools, universities, government agencies and individuals such as students, graduates, and job seekers. The objective of MySkills4Afrika is building world class skills and increasing innovation and affordable technology access on the African continent. Read more
A partner’s perspective - Samar Patel of Techno Brain

“In early 2014 we received a specialist in ERP Dynamics from Microsoft Canada as part of the MySkills4Afrika program. The participant, Tom, added value by training business development managers from the whole of East Africa at Techno Brain in help desk transfer skills. Read more
A local entrepreneur’s perspective - Prisca Odera
“I was invited to attend a Project Management training by Martina Hennessy at Microsoft offices. As an entrepreneur, the training program equipped me with project management skills that I will further use to propel and run my Agribusiness Company based in Kisumu. I hope to partner with Microsoft to fuel my journey of empowering the local farming community, and then transform them into smart farmers. Read more
A Country Manager’s perspective - Kunle Awosika, Microsoft Kenya
“MySkills4Afrika focuses on skills development as a way of building capacity within the African continent and ensuring Africans are globally competitive. As a company we felt the need to critically invest in this space quite aggressively. We have development programs curated for different universities in the region however the MySkills4Afrika program is designed for the partner community, innovation centres and NGOs. This focus will help build capacity in these areas by sharing and transferring knowledge and experience of what is happening on the ground and basically share best practices. Read more
A participant’s perspective - Martina Hennessey
“As part of the MySkills4Afrika program, I volunteered for an opportunity to deliver Project Management training in Nairobi from 17th-21st March 2014. My interest was twofold – both in sharing my skills more broadly, and also by learning more about the business realities of emerging markets and bringing those insights to bear on projects I am involved with in the European Operations Centre. I was very excited to be successful in my application! Read more
Program Perspectives - Charmain Wasunna | Microsoft 4Afrika Intern
Microsoft 4Afrika Intern
“My experience as an intern in Microsoft has been great, it involves a lot of job training not only from a technical perspective but an all rounded experience from different business units of the organization”.

The program involves a lot of soft skills training like managing projects, which frequently is left out of training... Read more
Daniel and Christian in Nairobi>
Learn how Daniel and Christian spent their time in Nairobi
What it offers


Microsoft employees from all over the world volunteer their time, talent and considerable expertise to help build a successful and dynamic future for Africa. Launched in late 2013, participants support a wide range of individuals and organizations across the continent, ranging from start-ups, small and medium businesses to schools, universities, government agencies and individuals such as students, graduates, and job seekers. The objective of MySkills4Afrika is building world class skills and increasing innovation and affordable technology access on the African continent.
Volunteer assignments range from intensive 1-2 week projects delivered in-person in Africa to long-term coaching and mentoring engagements delivered virtually.
Program Perspectives - Charmain Wasunna
Microsoft 4Afrika Intern


“My experience as an intern in Microsoft has been great, it involves a lot of job training not only from a technical perspective but an all rounded experience from different business units of the organization”.

The program involves a lot of soft skills training like managing projects, which frequently is left out of training aimed at technical experts.

“For the past one month I have done a lot of partner visits, as part of the internship curriculum, these visits are aimed to expose us to some of the channels Microsoft uses to run its businesses, incentives and all its evangelist programmes in Windows application development, building relationship with students and other general marketing activities.”

“The programme should be extended to every graduate school leaver because of the short-falls of what we learn in school and the real job environment. Microsoft tries to fill these gaps by exposing some of the classroom theoretical scenarios in business architectures.”

Some of these gaps involve dealing directly with customers, a case scenario that cannot be created in a classroom setting and for instance learning about Microsoft’s marketing distribution model that wasn't covered in USIU.

Since the interns are from different graduate education backgrounds, after recruitment, they are taken through an onboardingsession in South Africa to learn the Microsoft culture.

When they report to their various stations, Microsoft puts the interns in their specific areas of specialization for example marketing, IT, procument, supply chain which have different onboardingprogrammes.
A partner’s perspective -
Samar Patel of Techno Brain
“In early 2014 we received a specialist in ERP Dynamics from Microsoft Canada as part of the MySkills4Afrika program. The participant, Tom, added value by training business development managers from the whole of East Africa at Techno Brain in help desk transfer skills

Tom also helped us understand different ways in which we can approach customers and a lot of the business development managers picked up new ideas on how they can apply similar approaches here in the local market. We are working with Microsoft to explore how we can receive more support in the future through this programme.

The two weeks that participants are based in host companies like ours helps Microsoft understand the pain points companies such as Techno Brain face in terms of business and technology-related operations. MySkills4Afrika has helped us in understanding how diverse markets and cultures operate and helped us strengthen and build skills in Africa.”
A Country Manager’s perspective - Kunle Awosika, Microsoft Kenya
“MySkills4Afrika focuses on skills development as a way of building capacity within the African continent and ensuring Africans are globally competitive.

As a company we felt the need to critically invest in this space quite aggressively. We have development programs curated for different universities in the region however the MySkills4Afrika program is designed for the partner community, innovation centres and NGOs. This focus will help build capacity in these areas by sharing and transferring knowledge and experience of what is happening on the ground and basically share best practices.

MySkills4Africa’s intent is how Microsoft can impact African society from a social and economic perspective. We are not just investing for the sake of it, we want to see a net impact on the GDP of the economy because we believe that with the right set of skills we can positively impact the growth of the country”.

According to a recent PwC survey, 75% of CEOs in the region are in need of skilled workers, especially since Africa will attract USD 150 billion of foreign trade by 2015. The biggest challenge is the capacity of skilled workers to meet business requirements. Through this programme, we are trying to fill the market with experienced people with the right abilities and attitude to address these capacity issues.”


A local entrepreneur’s perspective - Prisca Odera
“I was invited to attend a Project Management training by Martina Hennessy at Microsoft offices. As an entrepreneur, the training program equipped me with project management skills that I will further use to propel and run my Agribusiness Company based in Kisumu. I hope to partner with Microsoft to fuel my journey of empowering the local farming community, and then transform them into smart farmers.

My business involves collecting agricultural information such as marketing structures and best farming practices and then consolidating all this information into one platform that can be accessed by farmers.

I realised the existence of an information access gap among farmers in Kisumu in Kenya and thought of developing a platform that can be used to disseminate information to them in different avenues (e.g. through the Internet, mobile or print materials.)

Microsoft offers a lot of small-and-medium-sized-enterprise support activities through various capacity building programs. This is unique because not all blue chip companies have such packages for SMEs.”
A participant’s perspective - Martina Hennessey
“As part of the MySkills4Afrika program, I volunteered for an opportunity to deliver Project Management training in Nairobi from 17th-21st March 2014. My interest was twofold – both in sharing my skills more broadly, and also by learning more about the business realities of emerging markets and bringing those insights to bear on projects I am involved with in the European Operations Centre. I was very excited to be successful in my application! The training was split across two locations, and I also spent time with the MySkills4frika team, building out the project plan for the second wave of volunteering opportunities to be advertised as part of the program.

My assignment was hosted at Nairobi’s Innovation Hub for the technology community - an open space for technologists, investors, tech companies and software programmers in the area. This space is a tech community facility with a focus on young entrepreneurs, web and mobile phone programmers, designers and researchers. It is part open community workspace (co-working), part vector for investors, Venture Capitalists, and part incubator.

There were 19 attendees from a variety of business backgrounds on the two-day course I led. Some were planning to launch their own businesses, others were already working for themselves, and others again were working for small companies such as Dotsavvy and the African Community Development Media,

From my observation, most attendees had some experience of project management but very little knowledge of the formal methodology. As a result there was great appetite to leverage the tools and templates I shared, and to discuss challenging real-world scenarios particularly those involving negotiation, team working and stakeholder management. There was a high level of interest in sharing approaches/experiences and discussing topics openly.

Overall feedback on the training was very positive with 100% of attendees feeling the course was beneficial and valuable in their work. The one area of mixed feedback was on the course length. While the majority felt course length was right, the next time we deliver the project management course we will align the levels of prior understanding of participants so that the course duration feels right to all of them.

The whole experience was immensely rewarding and I learnt a lot from it. As I don’t regularly deliver training, this was an opportunity for me to extend my skills in this area. But of even greater significance was the opportunity I had to gain insight into the types of projects people are involved in and to understand more about the specific challenges unique to emerging markets. Some of the most valuable aspects of the courses were the open discussions, when I believe everyone attending, myself included learnt from the experiences that people shared. There was huge energy and high levels of participation, which made the course highly valuable for everyone. In summary, I would highly recommend this program and would be happy to share further insights with anyone planning to apply.”