Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Yote yawezekana na ICT….

In 1982, Kenya was holding a major conference seeking to bridge the missing link in telephone connectivity. Twenty five years down the line, another major conference- seeking to bridge the digital divide between the rural and urban areas.

The ongoing expo, dubbed “ICTs for Development”, is bringing together people from all sectors and is geared towards improving connectivity and business prospects in rural areas.

Information and Communication minister Mutahi Kagwe presided over the opening ceremony and reiterated the government’s commitment to improve connectivity and boost business prospects in both rural and urban areas.

To underline the government’s commitment, Kagwe pointed at the fast tracking of multiple Optic Fibre Cable (OFC) i.e. TEAMS, EASSy and FLAG.

The minister promised to speed up implementation of the ICT policy though the draft bill is yet to be published in the Kenya Gazette.

Regarding telephone connectivity, the ministry wants to raise the number of users from the current 7.5 m lines to 23 million and raise the number of internet users from the current 1.5 million to 5 million.

He commended the print media for highlighting ICTs issues but argued that the media could even play a bigger role.

The ministry is organizing an ICT road show that will visit all major towns in the country, and the 210 constituencies.

While the minister was quick to challenge the private sector to demystify e-commerce to ordinary men and women, he forgot to mention lack of proper legislation would hamper e-commerce in the country.

As the private sector explains about e-commerce as the vehicle to economic recovery, there is need to explain that the same government that is touting ICTs as the savior to our economy is the same government that is dragging its feet on legislation. Whether it is the Attorney General’s responsibility or the ministry’s the public assumes they all sing from the same hymn book and they all appreciate the role of ICTs.

Yes, yote yawezekana na ICTs!

Adopting schools

Adopting schools

It all started with “Adopt a light”, an ambitious city lighting project. Now, Manu Chandaria, industrialist cum philanthropist wants to apply the same concept in ICTs.

Speaking at the ICT for Development opening ceremony, Chandaria challenged Kenyans to adopt schools and make sure they can access computers.

“You can change the face of your village school. Just go there and donate a computer. You can change the face of Kenya,” Chandaria said.

He also disclosed that he will finance a digital training centre in Mariakani. The centre will be expected to act as a base to establish digital villages in coastal area. One digital village will cost approximately shs 140,000 (USD 2000).

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

When surfers misunderstand!!

There is always a temptation to ignore comments made by people but for the sake of completing the communication process, I choose to respond.

True, this is a blog, and bearing in mind the blogosphere is a new component in our lives, there is always a chance one may not understand the meaning and intentions of the writer.

But this blog is not any different from the articles that you read in the papers, only that some articles maybe subjective, because they are my opinion, but aren’t all articles subjective? Anyway, that’s discussion for another day.

I am particularly responding to someone who demonstrated a masterly of ignorance when leaving a comment thus “do you ever find male journalists writing about women?” I can only say the writer has not been reading newspapers.

Forget about blog articles, recall the article by Gakiha Weru, then at the Nation, about seven years ago, detailing his experiences in the hands of a witchdoctor??? That article gave some us a preview of what happens in that room. It would be ignorant of anyone to say, “do women write about witchdoctors?” that would be simply myopic.

The role of a journalist is that of a gatekeeper, telling /warning of what is happening. You may wonder whether they have a right to, but that’s the profession, just like lawyers!

Journalists also set the agenda, they determine what you discuss when you sit at the dinner table. Ever wondered why Kenyan eat, think, drink politics? It’s because, everyday, all headlines are about politics!

So do you think journalists are valuable? Bob Mugabe summed it up when he said newspapers are only good for blowing our noses and wiping our bottoms!!!!
I don’t know what he says about internet.

Then there were pieces about my intentions to visit a gay pub in Brazil, so there is this friend who smsed me and told me he can guess what kind of person I am, then I thought, does he think am of loose morals or am gay? I never sought to know because it was clear this guy did not understand the working of a journalist.

Whether you agree or not, the job sends us to various places that many people may not agree with. But people have a right to know, many Kenyans will die without visiting Brazil, it’s only fair if they can read other sides except the football and samba.

It sounds like a long defensive piece but the upshot of it is that, next time I am in Greece, will make sure I visit the sorority house, next time am in Germany, I will get closer to a skin head and know how they think, that is without endangering my life. I don’t want to be a heroine!!

Next month I am in Lisbon, will tell you much of what you don’t see in the National Geographic!!!