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Harrowing Internship Experiences As Narrated By Kenyans

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Internships are meant to provide one with necessary skills for the job market and serve as means to add to the experience employers crave for these days.

They are mostly undertaken by students as a requirement for completing their university graduation as well as fresh graduates seeking to start off their careers.

Lately, interns are just like employees thus deserve to be paid. However it is an exception in Kenya.

An intern working in a company in Kenya. Source: File

According to Twitter user @Shikoohz, internship in Kenya is unpaid and one is expected to dress in a suit from Monday to Friday for the period of the internship.

“Then all you do at work is Fetch Coffee, print nonsense and get lunch for your supervisor and that is what is called experience!” she revealed.

Other users expressed their sentiments in the replies, most of them having gone through similar internship experiences disguised as modern day slavery.

“With this there are a number of stakeholders. Graduates don’t know what they want, so when asked they say anything.” added one Miss Gichuki.

“In government offices hakuna kazi (there’s no work), the work is only when some papers or a project is being launched. Universities don’t prepare us for the real job outside.”

Job seekers in Kenya lining up outside an office. Source: Tuko.co.ke

Another user, Alexander Ochelle revealed that one toils for at least two months to secure that internship opportunity first.

“You encounter ripples of embarrassments. Then boom your “boss” starts dictating you like a dog. You arrive at exactly 8.00 A.M and leave last at 5P.M. No pay. Mark you it’s Nairobi.” he added.

Another user added that in some places interns work just like other employees and also given some stipend for transport and food, which is rare and the interns there come out with amazing reviews.

Nailab CEO Sam Gichuru in 2019 ignited an all out war between interns and companies with his long thread on Twitter of reasons why interns shouldn’t ask for payment from the companies they are working at.

“Let’s talk about paid/unpaid internship.” read the tweet by the Kuhustle Co-founder which elicited massive public opinion, with the founder heavily criticized with his tweets long after attracting vile and negative comments referring with paying interns with exposure.

Since the uproar and the hashtag #PayInterns surfacing as a result, many Kenyan companies have made payment of interns a necessity.

“We’re not a developing country. There are so many people whose main motivation of working, internship or job, is to earn something to better themselves and to foot the bills. When you deny interns payment, essentially you’re not just denying them a chance to learn how to earn something monetary from their work, but you’re also inviting corporate slavery,” raged 254news.co.ke ‘s writer and content curator Marvin Chege.

He pointed out to companies in media such as Standard Media Group who have the notoriety of either not paying interns or paying them the least compared to other employees.

“Standard have the same thing and no one talks about it. UN don’t even pay their interns. Most of these things really are for a specific target audience, the rich among us who live with their parents in palatial homes where they’re afforded everything. And that number is small. An intern is just like any other employee, that deserves to be paid at the end of it all.”

Artcaffe on Wednesday August 5 initially attracted backlash from social media users after it announced its intention to pay creatives with exposure and free coffee as a reward in their artwork competition.

It was forced to announce cash prizes for the competition that was aimed at restructuring their current takeaway cups for the artists’ new and best designs.

The winner will walk away with Ksh100,000 or a year of free coffee, a paid internship lasting two months with the Artcaffe Design Team and an opportunity to exhibit and sell their art in one of their restaurants for two months. The winning artist’s profile will also be on display on their website and social media platforms.

An Artcaffe restaurant in Kenya. Source: File

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