Saturday, November 17, 2007

Interesting thread on digital villages...

Yes we need help in Sirisia. In September, I visited the small village that Crystal helped create in Sirisia. Of the 30 or so people that we met in the market, only one wore shoes but majority said something about the new development in the area - a Digital Village - which had brought to
them e-health and other educational programmes. There are no desks here. Women sat on benches training their eyes on one piece - the solar powered PC - and 150 of them had been trained. They ask relevant questions.

Here you see what we need to develop this country. We need to provide access (energy, connectivity and roads) as Yawe argues. But we also must lead our people through training to know how to navigate or drive the new technologies.

With access, these folks will be able to add value to their produce and market them through internet.

For now Walubengo we need you to volunteer a few of your hours in every quarter to provide different types of training such that by the time fibre is ready, our people would optimally use the fibre.


Bitange Ndemo


this is interesting!

Kanduyi, Bungoma is my 'shags' (home-town)! Let me know if i could be of some help. Even though I rarely go shags(for many reasons) my retired Dad+Mom, formerly high school teachers live there and I can always get them to cordinate some logistics (awareness, networking, etc)

Plse keep me (us?) posted on how the projected evolves...

Quite honestly I am shocked Mr. Yawe. I must come humbly and suggest that the the digital villages are a means to many ends. Here are a few possible ends that we will be meeting when we implement our telecentres in villages in Sirisia and Kanduyi:

1) Train community health workers using the internet: the benefits are obvious and the cost is SUBSTANTIALLY less than to send people to the city for education. Once we have perfected the training system it can be published online and used to train others

2) Anything else in which a person would want education: sustainable agriculture, nutrition, child bearing, English, French, Spanish.The internet is the largest library in the world floating through the air. It sure beats the price of shipping books from US publishers.

3) Income generation: We are using the internet to sell all sorts of items made by people in the village to supplement farming income. Well made items that seem exotic and come from a village are hot consumer items in upscale fashion stores in the US.

4) What good are online programs such as KACE if those who need them most cannot get online?

5) Then there is the simple but horrible truth that most people in the US and Europe never think about Africans. It is not that they don't care but that they don't think. Digital villages open up international communications. The people cease to be invisible. Poverty and malaria
get a face and a name.

Please understand that I had my first computer when I was three. I have never known life without one. I have been studying what a computer can do in a village for many years. The digital villages project underway in Kenya will help the people in many, many ways both
subtle and profound if done properly.

Asante sana.


I wholly agree with Elijah, what is the real objective here of the digital villages.

Kenya is unlike many of its neighbours, as the Americans and the issue tax claim experts or Michael Joseph and "peculiar calling habits". What seems to be happening is someone is trying to justify their existanca and relevance.

When you built a road in Kenya, you complete construction and move away, the government learnt long ago that it is not their responsibility to tell Kenyans what to do with the road. The citizens will decide where to develop shopping areas, markets, tourist stops and other commercial activities. Even the British would agree, see how a temporary stop in the railway construction has turned to be sub Saharan Africa's most vibrant city.

All we ask is complete the fiber to the district project and stand back, we as Kenya's will do things on that fiber that no one on earth would have thought possible. Take the Digital Village funds and use them to this objective. Where, how, when, or who is not the governments responsibility leave us to do what we know best, being peculiar.

Robert Yawe

Bitange Ndemo on digital villages

someone sought to know more about dital villages. I thought this was a nice answer from Permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo. Please read and know that you can also walk to his office.......

The digital village is the vehicle to not only take technology to rural Kenya but to create employment to our rural folks through a bouque of services. It is also a conduit for trickling down the wealth from urban to rural areas. I know you may be wondering how this can happen.

Take for example the Ministry of Planning that spends in the upwards of Ksh. 600 million to collect household data through cross sectional surveys. You will need one half of these resource to pay youth in all constituencies collecting actual data over a period (longitudinal survey).

When the data is collected throughout the country, it makes it much easier to plan. Te data is updated continuously and there you create employment to the data gatherers. At the same time these village centers can be used as points of sale (in which case you minimize the impact of
scratch cards on the environment at the same time cut cost). Or simply wananchi streaming rural videos and creating a rural IPTV.

Just imagine availing the computer and the connectivity to 35 million Kenyans. The chances of innovation shall be highly enhanced at the same time you open the whole world to these people. A few learned ones would offer swahili lessons to foreigners wanting to visit Kenya (at a cost of
course). Na hii ni maendeleo. 60% of the GDP is resident in Nairobi. It is very noble to spread this through to Kaspul Kabondo, to Chepalungu, to Imenti South, to to Sirisia, to Kitutu na kadhalika. This will be the best way of devolving from the center and in five years nobody will be complaing.

If you this concept is not clear yet, please see me on the 10th Floor of Teleposta Towers any time after the 26th of November.


Bitange Ndemo.