As they say once you empower a woman you empower an entire community. As such Intel has partnered with Joyful Women Organisation (JOYWO) to train over 1 million Kenyan women in digital literacy by 2020. This digital literacy training will be done via the Intel She Will Connect program that aims to bridge the technology-gender gap in Africa.
The Intel program was introduced as a response to the findings of the Women and the Web Report. This report examined women’s access to and use of the internet in low and middle income countries. It found out that on average there are nearly 25% fewer women than men online in developing countries. This represents 200 million fewer women than men online today. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the size of the gap is 43% which apparently is the largest across all the regions in the study. This translates to a figure of 1 in 19 women being able to access internet in Africa. At the moment over 800,000 women and girls have so far been reached by the Intel She Will Connect program in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.
JOYWO was started back in 2009 by Rachel Ruto, wife to our Deputy President. It started out under a tree with about 80 women but now has around 180,000 members. Members of JOYWO are basically women chamas that save together and then get loans and other benefits from the organization. To join JOYWO women chamas have to save at least Kshs 200 each. To this end JOYWO has a 2 billion revolving fund that it lends out to its members. The organization is so far in 44 out of the 47 counties. The NGO seeks to empower women both economically and socially, they do this through table banking, livelihood activities, market access and capacity building.
The She Will Connect program by Intel will see 15 trainers from JOYWO armed with the BRCK Kio Kit train at least 1 million Kenyan women in digital literacy. The women already benefitting from the training fondly refer to the digital literacy program as ‘Panguza’ which means ‘to swipe’ in reference to the tablets being used in the training. In as much as technology cannot fix things, it is an enabler which means that digitally trained women will be better entreprenuers.
While announcing the collaboration, Intel General Manager for East Africa Danie Steyn had this to say, “Intel aims to empower women to leverage the internet and technology to pursue their goals, while providing them an opportunity to learn, connect and share online. We believe that empowering women will give them an opportunity to positively impact their communities. Collaborating with JOYWO will allow us a unique opportunity to tap into their extensive network, reach more women across Kenya and eventually augment our efforts to bridge the internet gender gap.”
Mrs Ruto also had this to say, “We are excited to be collaborating with Intel Corporation as both organizations have a mutual interest of empowering women in Kenya. I believe empowering women will go a long way in unlocking the potential of our country to achieve sustainable economic growth.”