Friday, 17 February 2012

Digital villages Project and agriculture development in Kenya

The government of Kenya is implementing a highly ambitious proposed public private partnership digital village’s (ICT) project. The project will transform Kenya’s economy into a knowledge based economy. The digital village’s project also referred to as the Pilot Pasha Centres endeavors to connect the most remote villages to information super- highway, by taking ICT facilities to the people in the rural Kenya, for sustainable economic and social development. The digital villages are mainly designed for the youth, business people who desire to expand their business opportunities, women and the community at large. Over 200 digital villages will be established in Kenya. The pilot pasha centres will provide photocopying Printing, faxing, scanning, e-mail and Internet, electronic banking and money transfer services, in addition to e-governance which will ensure  public access to government services such as national identification and Youth Enterprise Fund loan application forms,  Police abstracts, P3 forms and driver's license applications forms.

The set up of digital villages’ project will be in two models specifically the enterprise and community set-up. Individual entrepreneurs such as micro-finance institutions, small and medium size enterprises will run the enterprise model. The community model will be run by the youth, women and faith-based organizations. A digital village school will be established to serve as an ICT educational centre. Digital village schools will be established in every location. Young people will acquire ICT training in their home towns and will no longer waste meager resources traveling to Nairobi and other major towns in search of this knowledge. A digital kiosk will be a commercial enterprise to be established at constituency level, while a digital centre will be a development ICT facility to be established in very district.
Digital villages spell a bright future for the rural areas of Kenya where 80% of the people live engaged in agriculture as their main economic activity. The ICT users will connect with business associates and stakeholders via email, teleconferencing and social media. The youth will be able to watch documentaries on You tube and play games with their counterparts from all over the world. Time and resources saved through e-governance will result to increased farm productivity, food security and rural poverty reduction when channeled to farming activities. Moreover information on new agriculture technologies which is rotting in the research centres and public universities shelves will be disseminated faster, cheaply and easily to the farmers. Farmers will be able to access information on produce market prices, market trends and farm inputs. Farmers will also have an opportunity to develop useful collaborations with local and international agriculture value chain players and the sky is the limit.