The internet has, and is continuing to change lives around the world in new profound ways. Unfortunately, studies have showed that women and girls are being left behind in internet usage. As it is, on average, there are 25% fewer women than men online. In Sub-Saharan Africa the gap is the largest at 43%. To close the gender gap so that women are not exclude from jobs and other opportunities on the internet, Intel came up with the She Connects program, which aims to eventually open up the huge potential that is on the internet to more women and girls.
Intel has recently completed the training of 400 women under its recently launched “Intel She Will Connect programme”. The training conducted at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) in Nairobi, targeted women drawn from The League of Kenyan Women Voters, and was done in collaboration with the Ministry of Devolution and Planning.
The League of Kenyan Women voters is a non-partisan member organization that aims at providing a forum through which women can take part in national decision making processes and in leadership. It also acts as a medium where women can freely exchange views and ideas with the aim of encouraging their participation in leadership irrespective of their background and political orientation.
The Intel She Will Connect program was launched in Africa in 2014. In Kenya, the programme aims to train 2,000 young women in digital literacy skills by the end of the year through Pasha Centres in a number of counties. It is already live at 35 Pasha Centres in 27 counties.
For the She Will Connect programme in Kenya, Intel is collaborating with the Kenya ICT Authority, The Rockefeller Foundation, USAID, Safari Connect and The Youth Banner – a Pasha Business Development Consultant for the ICT Authority. At the end of the training, the women and the girls will have a chance to start their own businesses or be employed.
Speaking at the event, Anne Waiguru, Cabinet Secretary for Devolution and Planning said,” Through the Gender Mainstreaming Pillar in Vision 2030, the government aims to ensure the needs and interest of each gender, including women, men, girls and boys are addressed in all government policies, plans and programmes. As you may be aware, Kenya’s budget preparation process now includes the use of Internet for contribution. The government is also in the process of rolling out the eCitizen programme, which brings government services to the reach of each citizen.”
“It is therefore important for every citizen in the country, especially the women and the youth, to equally have access to ICT tools and knowledge. ICT can play the important role of bridging the traditional gender gap. I’d like to commend private sector players like Intel, who have taken up the challenge of ensuring that women can benefit from the access provided by technology to take part in Kenya’s development process,” added Waiguru.
The Intel She Will Connect programme has a goal of reaching 5 million women and reducing the gender gap by 50 percent in the sub-Saharan region.