Kenyans in the rural areas are set to benefit from the digital villages to be established in the 210 constituencies in the country by the Government.
These ICT centers will empower and offer people in interior parts of Kenya with internet access.
Through these digital access centers dubbed Pasha, people in the rural communities will gain knowledge and easily connect with the other parts of the country. This will be facilitated by the simple model of the pasha centers that provide a level of connectivity which are affordable access and use of ICT resources to rural communities in a sustainable way.
According to Ministry of Information and Communications PS Dr Bitange Ndemo, the other objective of the pasha center is also to create economic opportunities that will spur rural economic development.
While awarding loans to 26 new ICT centers in various counties around Kenya, Ndemo said the centers will help deliver the government’s objective of ensuring that Kenyans everywhere have access to the internet, use it to access Government E-Services and improve their lives.
“Electronic voting and access of Government services through the web, is only possible if digital villages are near the people. That’s why we are serious about improving Internet connectivity, building local digital content and creating awareness about ICT products and services in rural Kenya,” Said Ndemo.
He challenged the new entrepreneurs to be innovative at the services they will be offering at their constituencies in order to be able to create sustainable businesses. The PS reported that already Treasury had approved the MTE project and this would help connect schools, health and pasha centres in all parts of the country.
The project is an initiative between Kenya ICT Board and Family bank. The two partners on Wednesday launched loan amounting Ksh 320 million to support the establishment of these Pasha Centers across the country. The project took 3 years for the ICT Board to craft, with a vision of bridging the rural connectivity gap and provide access. Pasha Centres are hubs that provide a host of services to the public via computers connected to the internet, or by using and marketing other ICT-enabled applications.
The centers offer a blend of the following services: Internet access, computer training, vocational training, ICT retail, access to government services, entertainment and gaming, typing and data entry, printing services, copying and scanning, cell phones and SIM card sales, Mobile Money or other financial services, IT support and services, office supplies and stationary sales, printer supplies, laminating and photography and other IT enabled services.
The project run through the Ministry of Information and Communication is a blueprint to achieving Vision 2030, which recognizes that the provision of ICT goods and services in Kenya is important for enabling economic and social development.