Basic computer skills and Internet access can change the lives of girls and women by connecting them to a world of economic and educational opportunities and increasing their self-confidence. A mobile caravan, the latest addition to the Intel® She Will Connect program, is helping to empower young Kenyan women looking for opportunity by bringing technology to them.
Rose Wanza dropped out of high school and got married when her father was unable to pay her school fees. Now separated from her husband, the 24-year-old struggles to provide for her two children through occasional hairdressing jobs.
Diante Mbulla was raised in an abusive family. Forced to leave school after eighth grade, she subsisted by doing housework before landing an entry-level job at a supermarket. Now 19, she would like to gain the skills she needs to advance in her job and someday start her own business.
Rose Kithuka, age 19, moves from house to house laundering clothes to earn a meager living. She dreams of landing a higher paying job so she can help her younger siblings complete high school.
Hope for a Brighter Future
All three of these young women live in the Mukuru kwa Njenga neighborhood of Nairobi, Kenya, where poverty and lack of education frequently force girls into child labor or early marriage. All three now also have hope for a brighter future after completing an Intel She Will Connect digital literacy training.
To reach women where they are, a large Intel mobile caravan packed with laptops and training software rolled into Mukuru with the goal of providing basic computer skills to 60 young women. Mukuru was the first stop for the caravan—essentially a classroom on wheels designed to bring information and communications (ICT) training to women in under-served Kenyan communities. AmericaShare, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of vulnerable and impoverished women in Mukuru, hosted the training, and Airtel Kenya provided Internet connectivity for the mobile classroom. Other partners included Kenya’s Joyful Women NGO, the Global Peace Foundation, and the Chandaria Foundation.
The training sessions, based on the Intel® Learn Easy Steps digital literacy curriculum, introduced the participants to computers, the Internet, and computer programs for word processing and productivity. Prior to the Intel training, Rebecca Mwende, age 18, had never touched a computer and was afraid to try using one. Being with other computer-illiterate women in the course gave her the courage to explore, and she now hopes to use the skills she gained to teach others in her community.
AmericaShare will continue to mentor the young women who participated in the training, and provide them with access to computers at a local learning resource center so they can further advance their skills. Kithuka believes that in addition to helping her younger siblings finish school, she will also now be able to pursue her own dream of becoming a journalist. When she reaches that goal, she says, she will write her own story for the world to read.
“We are very grateful for this partnership, as our desire is to see all women become digital savvy. I look forward to the day when all women will be using tablets to just swipe and access all the information they need to better their lives.”
– Her Excellency, Hon. Rachel Ruto, the Spouse of Kenya’s Deputy President, and Founder of women’s empowerment NGO Joyful Women Organization – JoyWo.
- The Intel® She Will Connect program helps young women acquire digital literacy skills so they can connect to the educational, health, and financial information they need to improve their lives, as well as economic and entrepreneurship opportunities.
- The program, which aims to reach 5 million women in sub-Saharan Africa, combines digital literacy training, an online peer network, and gender-relevant content.
- On the International Day of the Girl, 60 women came on board the caravan during a one-week stop in the disadvantaged Mukuru kwa Njenga neighborhood of Nairobi, Kenya, gaining skills that are empowering them to change their lives. Watch what the experience meant for one woman.
Intel She Will Connect is one of Intel’s social impact programs focused on empowering the next generation of innovators.