Empowering Girls and Women Key for Realization of the Sustainability Goals.
Approximately 61 million African children will reach adolescence without even the most basic literacy and numeracy skills, indicates a report by Brookings institute. In Kenya alone, as little as one in 15 girls in marginalized areas enroll for primary school every year.
Thematic studies have identified closer collaboration between stakeholders as a bridge to these gaps. EmpServe is frontiering this close collaboration with one of its ambitious program called DigiLabs.
In a statement during the official launch of DigiLab initiative, Martin Irungu, executive director of EmpSeve pointed out the key role of digital literacy for young people in rural areas in achieving social transformation.
“We are embarking on a mission to establish at least 47 fully equipped ICT resource centers in rural areas of Kenya with a view of training cohorts of 500 young people yearly over the course of the next 5 years” said Mr Irungu.
Young people can be the champions of economic empowerment, inclusion and sustainability if empowered with necessary skills, he added.
To mark this milestone, one of these ambitious 47 Digilabs in Kenya, the inaugral center was launched officially in a ceremony in Kajiado County. The DigiLab-an abbreviation for ‘Digital Labs’- is an integrated resource center with the aim of reshaping the empowerment agenda by setting up ICT labs across grassroots in Kenya to empower the marginalized communities with digital literacy skills key for Education, Leadership, Gender equality in opportunities, ICT, innovation and entrepreneurship.
Inaugural Digilab in Kajiado,
The official launch was graced by HELGA board representatives, local chiefs , representatives from the county government of Kajiado, Anglican church of Kenya leadership, stakeholders drawn from Plan International, Red-cross, local gender & rights departments, W4(women worldwide web), local radio representatives and EmpServe team.
The starting point for the launch was a celebration of progress and timeliness that led to the day.
Speakers of the day acknowledged the importance of girls’ and women’s education and embraced the DigiLabs program as a shift in the outcomes of the #education4girls since it advances the discourse from merely access to basic education to equipping girls with ICT skills which are up to date and relevant in the ever changing technology world.
Women and young mothers too were encouraged by the local chief to participate in the program.
Empserve strategic partnership with HELGA was driven by the impetus of HELGA. The organization has been in existence within the area with an enviable portfolio of rescuing girls from FGM, Forced marriages, neglect and marginalization and supporting them through tertiary education all through to University and job uptake.
HELGA Rescue Center
The center provides a safe haven where Maasai girls can escape early marriage, FGM, teen pregnancies and other forms of neglect to pursue education. Founded in 1986, the center has hosted and taken over 700 girls and women through its support system comprising Shelter, education and healthcare.
“This center has been a personal fulfillment and a course I believe God purposely set me on, I am delighted by the progress we have made and as we embark on the Digilabs flagship project in partnership with EmpServe I believe the future for our girls and women can only be better. I want the girls to excel and in line with giving back to come and advance this mission even in my old days” Remarked Priscilla Nanguari (HELGA’s founder and Director)
The objective of the #digilabs initiative is to overcome the gender digital divide and contribute to improved digital skills and employment opportunities for girls and women in remote areas in Kenya.
It is essential that girls are not only exposed to technology, but properly educated and equipped with the necessary tools and digital literacy skills to successfully join the workforce, innovate and venture into sustainable entrepreneurship that will not only fuel economic growth but also champion actualization of the #SDG’s by 2030.
Digilabs action Plan
The program in Kajiado will open its doors for local youth beginning of 2019.The Initial focus will be to provide exposure to computers, internet and the benefits that this technology can play in the rural communities.
After a basic to intermediate digital literacy knowledge base is established we will begin a transition towards advanced ICT skills training including graphic design skills, coding and web design as well as hands on exposure experience within organizations in Kajiado and beyond.
The long term goal is to have cohorts with necessary skills to become trainers of trainers to ensure graduating students with keen interest on furthering their skills or becoming ICT trainers who will be nurtured to not ensure that the program is self-sustaining but also to extend the community based mentorship narrative.
Empower and Serve Kenya is an organization based in Kenya with a mission to empower young people with skills, capacity, networks and mentorship with the view of enabling to become champions of change and empowerment within their own communities. EmpServe believe that empowered young people will serve their communities as professionals, innovators and entrepreneurs. Key focus area is mainly in the neglected grassroots.
Empserve would like to take this earliest opportunity to thank partners, donors and volunteers who made this milestone possible and call upon other stakeholders keen on bridging the education and skills gap to collaborate for resource mobilization and capacity building.