On the 26th of January, 2016 Intel revealed their contribution to women’s empowerment, a digital program called my digital journey, which is part of Intel’s she will connect program. The event took place at the Villa Rosa, Kempinski where Intel staff as well as other organizations collaborated to launch the she will connect program.
The event began with an introduction by brand ambassador Adelle Onyango who is a presenter at KISS 100 FM. She said, “if you are not on digital media, you do not exist!” Adelle expressed her disbelief in the gap that there is in Africa between men and women when it comes to digital media and technology. As a matter of fact I was shocked too. 25% less women than men go online in the developing world; In Sub-Saharan that figure rises to 45%. The she connect project has now been officially launched in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya.
“It is a big responsibility to help young people to grow, through education so to tap into their potential especially through digital learning” said Cigdem Ertem, the Intel corporation regional president for the Middle East, Turkey and Africa. The event was graced by Rosalind Hudnell, the Director of Corporate Affairs and President of the Intel Foundation. It wasn’t hard to tell that the elegant lady that stood on the podium was a woman of power. The mere fact that she flew from California to launch the project spoke more than words could. She passionately spoke about her goals for she connects and generally for the disadvantaged women that have so much potential but their inability to connect to digital media is holding them back. After a series of speeches from Intel staff and UN women representatives a lot of information was finally unveiled.
Intel in alliance with other organizations has taken technology to the slums of Nairobi. Slums such as Mukuru kwa Njenga, Mathare and Kibera have been experiencing a digital journey that has left many women’s lives changed. One example is of Caroline Wambui, a young high school student from Mukuru kwa Njenga. Her uncle who was dear to her passed on due to lack of a credible organ donor. In the recent years black markets as well as flimsy clinics in slums have been urging people to sell their organs as “doctors” rip off the community. Because of this problem with the help from her ICT teacher Damaris Muteti she managed to create an app that would be able to connect patients with donors. This would mean that there would be less marketing for dodgy clinics in such areas. Other ladies spoke about their life transformation after been trained through this program. Some have gotten jobs because of their knowledge in ICT as well as having their businesses online.
To enroll for the My digital Journey program you only pay a small fee of 200 shillings. Through this digital learning platform the students would learn how to use Microsoft office software and how to utilize internet in a positive way. The education sector has not been left behind either. A form four student from Ngara high school praised the digital learning as a booster for their learning and grades. The students together with their teachers created a blog where they would post summary notes as well as activities that they would use to understand their studies better. Digital literacy has empowered such communities particularly in slums where many women are single mothers. Digital life has been simplified for these women through this program as the process is user friendly. While learning, the learners get to unlock other missions that encourage them to keep going. With such an interactive program it is almost possible not to dream of something better in life.
As dreams and aspirations were laid out by different ladies from all three countries, a better Africa seems to be on the horizon. These ladies stories show that there is hope if somebody is willing to invest in them which is what the Intel’s she will connect program is doing. She will connect’s my digital journey will have an impact in changing many women’s lives and in the process change the society.
I interviewed some of the ladies about the program. You can find the interview here.