Determined to acquire university education, he started sending college applications to all universities and, in 2000, Daystar University offered him a place. His father organised a harambee, which raised a paltry Sh140,000.

He joined Daystar University, Athi River campus in 2001 for a Bachelor of Arts in Community Development.

SCAVENGER'S LIFE

Gitonga fell ill again in the first semester, and the little money that his father had for his education went to his treatment.

In his second semester, lack of food became a reality. “At one time, I went for six consecutive days without food,” he recalls.

“It was so painful, studying with students who could snack even in class, eat well every day, some even driving to and from school, while I went for several days without food,” he recalls.

When the situation got worse, Gitonga approached the college dining hall servicemen/waiters to allow him eat leftovers that remained from those who could not finish the food on their plates.

“Lack of school fees saw me take longer than my classmates, some of who completed within three years,” he recalls.

On several occasions, he dropped out of session to look for jobs in Industrial Area for his school fees.

Two lecturers, Mrs Mabel Odima and Dr Ken Ongaro, took note of his neediness and once in a while bought him maize flour and rice.

HOPE

In his second year, he started sending job applications, but he did not get any response. However something happened.

Four days after Gitonga graduated in June 24, 2006, he was called for an interview at K-Rep Bank (now Sidian Bank).

He was immediately posted to the Mtwapa branch as a microfinance officer.

“My role was to mobilise groups, recruit and lend and collect loans from microfinance clients,” he says. But there was a problem: “I always had a weighty heart every time I thought of going out to the field,” he recalls.

One day in November 2006, he found customers staring at a TV screen in the banking hall, which was running videos that had nothing to do with the bank.

“It struck me that I can do success stories of some few clients of the bank and propose to management that the videos be displayed,” he says.

He approached two of his major clients and requested to do their stories. They agreed.

With his little salary, Gitonga bought an analogue microphone from Mtwapa Town and loaded all the images in the Windows Movie Maker software, which he had taught himself how to use, and developed a video documentary.

RESPONSE

Gitonga then sent the video DVD to the management of the bank together with an accompanying proposal. But he never received any response.

Two years later, in 2008, a newly-appointed executive director of the bank took interest in the promo videos that Gitonga had produced.

She contacted Gitonga and asked him to do an intranet.

“I obliged. Yet, I had no idea what an intranet was. I went and researched,” he says.

With the help of a consultant, he developed a vibrant intranet, which was launched in March 27, 2008.

Unknown to him, this was his turning point. His self-taught affair with ICT had begun.

While at K-Rep Bank, Gitonga attended a two-day content development summit by Ignite Africa held at Windsor. Here, the former communications Permanent Secretary, Dr Bitange Ndemo, took notice of Moses’ interest in content and started mentoring him on ICT entrepreneurship.

“Every time, he picked my calls and gave me attention when I reached out to seek advice on animation,” says Moses.

SIX AWARDS

In December 2009, Gitonga left the bank and co-registered a pioneer 3D animation company.

Using online learning, Gitonga already knew the different coding languages like PHP, HTML, JAVA, CSS, Ruby on Rails and databases such as MYSQL, besides SMS software.

He was hired as part of the team that built the Kenya National Examinations Council SMS platform in 2010.

His efforts started paying off when together with his team, they developed a six minutes 3D animation for the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to fight poaching. For this, KWS honoured him with an award. He has won six awards in ICT, including the overall award winner (Platinum) Citi Bank Award beating a pool of 189 Nominees in 2014. He has been appointed and certified by several international software companies as their local and regional deployment partner.

Daystar University also recognised his efforts in 2016 when they gave him Business Progression Award.

SEMINARS

Gitonga does motivational talks, and entrepreneurship mentorship to youngsters who wish to go into business, especially ICT or animation.

He also coaches parents on tools that they can use to ensure that their children are protected from indecent online exposure.

He charges Sh20,000 to train parents in seminars and forums such as parenting workshops.

For remote consultation, he charges Sh5000, and Sh10,000 for physical deployment.

Gitonga advises young people to make deliberate choices: “Visualise where you want to see yourself and set your eyes on the prize.

“Patience and hard work does pay,” he says.

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