By Mark Wheatley
Volunteer Microsoft Certified Trainer
NetHope Academy Intern Program - Haiti
October 12, 2011
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to teach for the NetHope Academy Intern Program in Haiti. I've been a teacher for over 30 years and a Microsoft Certified Trainer for half that time. When asked if I would be interested in teaching Windows 7 and a myriad of other topics to interns in Haiti, I did not hesitate. I loved volunteering with the Peace Corps in Zaïre (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) and Honduras, and I was looking forward to the opportunity in Haiti.
I gratefully anticipated meeting the NetHope Academy interns and IT mentors at the campus of l'Ecole Supérieure d'Infotronique d'Haïti in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, ESIH or "Ezzie" for short. Speaking of pronunciation, I was amused to find that Haiti is pronounced in the national language, Kreyol, as Ayiti or "IT". So we learned about IT in Ayiti for two weeks. This program continues for six months with internships, certification exams, and lots of intense study and lab practice.
What should a Microsoft Certified Trainer expect from a similar assignment with NetHope? The personal interactions, deep intellectual curiosity and boundless drive and energy surpassed all other training assignments I've experienced.
The two-week Boot Camp started before eight in the morning and continued past six some evenings. The class left late for lunch and returned early to share thought-provoking questions and observations regarding our Microsoft Windows client and server working environment. Such was our distraction; we had to be reminded to eat lunch some days.
We had to be flexible at the Boot Camp. It can be challenging for IT people to face ambiguity and unpredictability, but such is the spice of life. Power interruptions and a warm classroom were tolerable and not a huge problem. When pounding tropical rains drowned out my loudest teaching voice, it was time to switch to lab activities.
The dedication and drive shown by the interns speaks highly of the NetHope selection process. The program is very well operated and managed. It is not a free lunch. Interns are expected to repay about half the cost of the program through a well-orchestrated microfinance system. The repayment starts only after they become employed. I could clearly see that the IT mentors (intern supervisors) who addressed the class were highly impressed with the quality of professionalism and communication shown by this year's interns.
I may have learned as much from this experience as the interns did - if not more. The interns positively and technically challenged me, and I highly recommend that all energetic and adaptable Microsoft Certified Trainers consider volunteering for NetHope. In thirty years of teaching, it doesn't get much better than this. The energy, enthusiasm, and love felt during the Net Hope Academy training continue to inspire me each day.
I'd like to thank NetHope, its sponsors, and all those who made this assignment possible. There is a "program design excellence" that must've come from a multidisciplinary approach, and it really shines. This program reflects a complete lifecycle of events that combine to produce a sustainable, healthy change in the participants. The opposite of a quick fix, this process looks really promising for other areas of international development in addition to IT training
I also want to thank my company, QuickStart Intelligence, as well as Microsoft Trainers Marc Michault and Andrew Bettany for going before me. Andrew helped prepare MCTs J.M. Cyprien, J.B. Agénor and Garry Beauplan, who were great teaching assistants. Opokua Oduro of NetHope deserves special mention. She took care of everything and everyone with a big heart, friendly attitude, and unmatched planning and organization skills. It's with deep gratitude that I write about this experience.
And finally, let me thank the interns in my class. You made me want to come to work every morning. I knew you were giving your best and I wanted to do the same for you.
Peace Corps has taken this slogan, but maybe I can paraphrase it--"Net Hope, the toughest job you'll ever love."
Mark offers suggestions for precision questioning and answering. He takes his work seriously, but not himself.
Net Hope: Connect, Collaborate, and Innovate.
Are you or your students jaded, bored, or just lacking in vitality? Try teaching in Haiti!
Thanks for sharing Mark, I also know from first hand just how much "value" will have been gained from everyone involved. You are a credit to the MCT community and I am sure that you will forever hold a special respect and regard for the both the country of Haiti and also the learners in your class.
Like Mark, I encourage fellow Microsoft Certified Trainers and IT Experts to reach out to NetHope and express their desire to help with projects like this. There are opportunities across the world. Just do it if you can, you will help make changes that can change lives.
Hi Mark - It was excellent to login to the MCT Site, click community and the first thing I see is your post on your volunteer service at NetHope. Nice Job and Nice Post - Greg
Great work, Mark! Thanks for sharing!
NetHope is such an amazing project and hope that I will get the opportunity to help out there some day.
Great work Mark. how do can one sign up to volunteer?
Thanks to all of you for your comments! There is a link on the NetHope site if you're interested in volunteering: www.nethope.org/.../volunteer. Also, several months ago, Ken Rosen posted a request for MCTs to contribute in Haiti, right here on the BTL site--borntolearn.mslearn.net/.../haiti-needs-it-skills.aspx. I'm pretty certain that Ken will let us know of more volunteer opportunities as they become available from Net Hope. Beyond Net Hope, I don't know about other groups who have volunteer operations using MCTs, but there sure is a large need worldwide for the skills we have and can teach.
Hi, everyone i m Stanley from the Nethope academy in haiti, where Mark was teaching in a Microsoft boot camp to help us to prepare for MTA test and MCTS exam for nethope academy. Mark is one of the best teacher i never meet, enthusiastic, knowleadgeble and love what he doing, hope everybody at microsoft was like him, lol. Today i pass my MTA on os fundamental exam and pass it with 93 score, you can be proud of us and we always talking about you there.
Pierre Stanley Dany
Mark, it was great to log into the MCT site and see your inspiring message. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with us. Nethope sounds like a terrific project, and a great way to make a contribution that really makes a difference.
I am SAINT FILS Wiseler and i am from Haiti where Mark teached for us in order to become stronger in the field of information technology as IT Professional and prepare our MTA OS Fundamentals and MCTS certifications. Mark is a very great person and it was for me a very great pleasure to meet him. I learned a lot of things during this NetHope Academy Bootcamp. Thank you Mark!
Hi to all!
I am Ednor Jean Paul, a student (Intern) at NetHope ACADEMY. I must say I am really pleased to have had the opportunity to participate in this program. Prof. MARK Weathley, he was at the height of what he was doing, he smiles a lot, to explain something that happened not to understand clearly, he always took samples low to let us understand, he always jokes to make us smile . I had the chance to meet him in the boot camp, is a person exeptionnal, is a very kind person. I would like to thank him for everything he did. He had to leave his family to come and teach us in Haiti, despite all he has heard tell about Haiti, he readily agreed to come.
I must say that I passed the test of MTA, and thanks to NetHope first, but he was certainly the person who had given us this opprtunity, to have this certification, cause he taught us a lot of things in a short time (2 weeks). Once again thank you very much Mr. MARK, Madame SAM, Madame OPUKUA, Madame TRACY and thank you to all those who from far and near have contributed to my success, i mean M. AGENOR, CYPRIEN and BEAUPLAN.
I am Stephen Philippe, from Haiti, Thanks God, i get my first Microsoft Certification (MTA), now i am getting ready for the MCTS !! Mark is a very good teacher! thx a lot Mr MARK, a big thx also goes to, Madame SAM, Madame OPUKUA..and everyone who were helping for this opportunity!
Great work, Stephen Phillippe! Thanks so much for posting and I'm so glad to hear that you and others are passing that first step, the Microsoft Technology Associate exam for OS Fundamentals!
Please do follow Marc Michault's posting from the above link "Born to Learn". The complete URL is borntolearn.mslearn.net/.../now-is-our-time-this-is-our-place-to-give-back-support-nethope.aspx
Oops, I suddenly realized that I linked to your post but never complimented you for it. Maybe still a little bit jealous that you got to go to my own little "hell on earth" instead of me ;-)
No problem, Marc! I'll go anywhere. Haiti was more like "Heaven on Earth" for me! This MCT will travel!