Case studies of Kenyan digital villages with a focus on women and girls

  • David Hallberg Stockholm University
  • Mildred Kulecho Jönköping International Business School
  • Ann Kulecho Jonkoping University
  • Loreen Okoth

Abstract

The present article refers to a case study on the Kenyan Government’s Digital Villages Project (DVP). The Kenyan Government, together with external stakeholders and private contractors, is increasing their ICT investments to provide the entire population with information and communication regardless of demographic factors. In the Kenyan context, digital villages are what normally other countries refer to as telecentres, i.e. a centre that provides services with regard to Internet and telecommunication. In this case, the digital villages also offer education, learning, and e-Government. The present study wants to learn whether DVP is accessible, and appropriate to women and girls in resource-poor environments and, thus, successful. The following questions guided the study: 1. Who are the users of Pasha Centres? 2. How and for what purposes are Pasha Centres used? 3. In what way do Pasha Centres consider local needs (e.g. education, literacy, job, and diversity)? 4. What do users and managers do to encourage female users? The study is built upon observations and interviews. The results show that male users generally believe that women have a lack of knowledge and understanding of ICT. The results also show that what is said by the government is not fully implemented at the local levels. The authors believe, despite this, that DVP has the potential to serve the population in vulnerable areas and that the government should continue focusing on similar projects.

Keywords: digital village, gender, ICT-service, Kenya, lifelong learning, resource-poor environment

Author Biographies

David Hallberg, Stockholm University
David Hallberg was born in Colombia, raised in Sweden and has his roots in Africa. He is particularly interested in the intersection of culture, communication and ICT.
He has a background in Informatics (Ms), Social Anthropology (Bs), Ethnology (diploma), and Film Art (Bs) with studies in Education and General Linguistics.
He works at Department of Computer and Systems Sciences (DSV) at Stockholm University. He is based at the unit for Flexible learning, which focuses upon distance and blended learning, mainly working with IT for teachers and is writing his PhD on “lifelong learning”, using the impact of digital villages on rural women in Kenya as a case study. He has also researched e-learning projects in Sri Lanka and telecentres in Cameroon, as well as research on IT and the elderly in Sweden
Mildred Kulecho, Jönköping International Business School
Mildred Kulecho is currently a master student at the Department of Informatics, Jönköping International Business School (JIBS), Jönköping University, Jönköping, Sweden and School of Business, Clarkson University, Potsdam, New York, U.S.A.
She earned her undergraduate degree in Business computing in 2008 from University of Sunderland, United Kingdom. She did her Information Technology Internship in 2005 at Kenya Wine Agencies limited and Nairobi Women’s Hospital, Kenya. Her current academic and research interest is in ICT for emerging economies in e-initiatives. She was awarded the Swedish Institute Scholarship in 2009 from the Swedish Institute. She is planning to study for a PhD on completion of her masters.
Ann Kulecho, Jonkoping University
Ann Kulecho was raised in Nairobi Kenya. Her major interest is research with focus on women and information technology. Ann enjoys investigating how IT affects women, poverty and IT, and how information technology can be used to eradicate poverty in Africa .
She has a degree in Information Technology from Jomo Kenyatta University (2007) in Kenya currently pursing a master in Information Technology Management and business at Jonkoping University, Sweden. She is a member of professional Trainers Association of Kenya (PTAK) in the field of Information Technology.
After her graduation she has plans to pursue a Phd in the field of informatics. She is currently learning Danish.
Loreen Okoth
Lorren Okoth was raised in Nairobi, Kenya. She earned her diploma in Library and Information Science from Inoorero University (2008) in Kenya. She did her library internship in 2009 at United States International University- Kenya (USIU).She is currently working with multi-level marketing in Kenya. She has plans to pursue degrees in both film & photography and classical history/classics.
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eISSN: 1998-1279