- i-tek! Bringing information technology and digital literacy to remote areas -
Tag has launched a project to bring the benefits of information and communications technology (ICT) to remote and marginalised communities in Kenya in Ndhiwa, Homa Bay in Western Kenya in partnership with Team Kenya.
This project is based on the belief that human capital is the world’s greatest asset and that universal access to knowledge is vital as a catalyst to progress. Improving access to knowledge and information is a key driver of sustainable socio-economic development which contributes to the elimination of poverty and disease. We therefore aim to help communities gain access to vital knowledge and information, to ensure that they don’t get left behind. However, access to ICT is constrained by inadequate infrastructure, affordability – deepening the “digital divide”.
Through the support from several donors, Tag and its partners are helping equalize access to ICT and promote digital literacy by providing opportunities for individuals to gain access to ICTs and learn the fundamental digital skills and competencies to efficiently participate in modern society. This project is aligned with Kenya’s Vision 2030 Development Plan UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Ndhiwa is a small, rural town in Homa Bay County, with 60% of the people living in extreme poverty. Sadly, gender discrimination and inequality is rampant, leaving girls behind and/or outside of the educational system. According to the Homa Bay County Strategic Plan 2013-2023, attainment in primary schools is very low. Many teachers are unqualified; leadership and management are poor and resources outdated. 50% of the girls drop out before they complete primary school and just 15.7% go on to secondary education.
Ndhiwa currently has the highest HIV/AIDS rate in Kenya, increasing the risk of infection for teenage girls who are vulnerable to prostitution, early marriage, polygamy, wife inheritance and violence against women and girls. These challenges restrict the roles that girls and women play in Kenyan society, which in turn holds back socio-economic progress.
A computer lab will established and an IT teacher will be recruited to manage the project and deliver the training. Infrastructure to support modern lab operations will include include installation of finished walls, electricity, classroom furnishings, and locking cabinets. The project includes connection to the Internet with the installation of a modem and router.
Computer devices and equipment include innovative Keepod USB technology, developed in Tel Aviv, Israel. Keepod’s Android OS (operating system) runs from any USB drive that boots up software onto the laptop, eliminating dependence on a single computer. This system separates the software from the hardware, maintaining the integrity of both components while effectively managing risk and affordability.
Accompanied by substantial training in a fully functional and modern computer lab, participants will have access to both Internet and Outernet capability and services. Outernet is a new information technology, first launched in 2014, that uses a satellite to broadcast a continuous feed of free digital media through radio waves and a receiver. It is an archive of valuable knowledge that can also transmit time-sensitive emergency information, as well as providing access to modern educational platforms and educational textbooks, videos, and software.
30 girls will receive the initial twelve-month training through regularly scheduled learning retreats. This group will then become mentors to many other girls as the project expands. In addition, the project will provide training to a range of community members, such as farmers, teachers and traders, so they can all benefit from access to improved skills and enhanced access to knowledge. In total, the project aims to benefit 250 people.
The objective of the project at this stage is to test and monitor the technology, infrastructure and delivery model to effectively create a self-sufficient program for ICT and literacy, through which the ongoing education of students and community members will essentially contribute to sustainable and integrated socio-economic development, while stressing the preservation of cultural heritage and natural history. Our monitoring and evaluation framework is therefore an integral part of the project.