Engagement for vulnerable communities can be done in many different ways. Besides activities and projects in health and hygiene, infrastructure set up and income generation as well as education there is one very important area which often is neglected: digital expertise just because when hunger, poverty and other basics are so obvious, it does not seem to be the most urgent one. But it is, simply because without digital knowledge nowadays it is very difficult to grow. And empowering those in need should always be done in a way that people start to be able to empower themselves, shouldn’t it?
The GoDigital program
In the past months under the umbrella of the Making More Health Initiative my colleagues engaged with our communities in Western Kenya, farmers, NGOs, students. They provided them not with devices only, but also made sure that community members learned intensively on how to use laptops and basic programs such as Word and Power Point and what to do with mobiles (beyond doing calls and using WhatsApp). In the past I often had realized that e.g. simply surfing in the Internet and finding information was a big hurdle to many men and women in the communities, be it in the rural villages, be it in the slum areas where we are active. Furthermore, with the basic business training sessions we discovered that it was a huge hurdle to those who wanted to set up micro businesses. Administrative tasks, writing emails, finding information… without a good basic digital knowledge it is nearly impossible today.
Now our communities in Bungoma county and other parts in Western Kenya where we have invested also in many other activities have also a good basic understanding on the digital world and access to information.
Just imagine you have no smart phone, you don’t know on how to get an email address and how to write emails, you don’t know how to write a letter, how to go to the Internet if we need some information, how to prepare a presentation… What seems so normal in our Western world, is not – in many vulnerable communities.
One of our local NGO leaders has sent a very encouraging feedback
“I just wanted to bring to your attention some of the unintended impact of the GoDigital Programme. A few days back, cooperative officials for the Kibistar cooperative ( in bungoma county) we are working with participated in an online leadership and management training… It is almost miraculous, some of the officials are attending such a forum for the very first time and have marvelled how they can be connected realtime to somebody across the globe. Indeed this GoDigital literacy initiative is helping connect the world. The village that was otherwise remote is now connected to the rest of the world. I just wanted to say a big thank you for the great opportunity this is offering.
On behalf of the many beneficiaries of this initiative, pass my appreciation to everyone of your colleagues who has contributed to this revolutionary project,” explained Cleophas, leading the NGO Core Health and Wealth.
I can just send a big “thank you” to my colleagues for this great support!