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