We are convinced that the Smart Village model can unlock the potential of rural Scotland. With the catastrophic impact of Covid-19 on peoples lives and livelihoods we know we are going to have to work harder and SMARTER when we hit the Recovery Period. A Smart Village will not be a panacea however it will help alongside other methods to help economies and communities recover.
There are many uplifting elements of working on this project but one in particular has been connecting with like minded individuals from across the world who are trying to bring about positive change through the Smart Village model. We have engaged with groups from Indonesia, Lithuania, Finland, Sweden and across UK and Ireland. We recently connected with an amazing organisation in Kenya- Kijiji Yeetu I asked them two questions which we hope will help develop a knowledge transfer relationship:
What challenges do you face?
Why did you chose Smart Village as a vehicle?
Thanks to Rapudo Hawi for sending us the article to share and we hope to hear more about the projects running on the ground.
SMART VILLAGES ARE THE NEXT BIG THING FOR KENYA: KIJIJI YEETU EXPERIENCE
We are developing a smart village ecosystem across Kenya for young people and women in small towns, villages and communities. Kijiji Yeetu, has been registered as an association to activate village resources, knowledge and aspirations towards development and devolved governance in Kenya.
However not everyone is convinced – some local people wonder whether Kijiji Yeetu will really inspire change in the area. They hope to build an ecosystem for future generations of young people, women, and their families through smart villages in counties of Kenya and beyond Africa. This story will take a look into digital village champions, why it presented as an idea for this project, the vision for how it will impact the community, and how locals feel about how the development will affect them and affect the future of their villages.
Through Kijiji Yeetu, created with the help of United States International University-Africa, Internet Society Kenya Chapter, Kenya flying Labs, we joined COVID can inspire and sharing village stories, because their voices are needed more than ever today. The ongoing partnership are on the focus areas:
E- Education (on-line school solutions, e-mentorship, digital library),
E- Agriculture and trade (e-marketplace, online extension, digital economy),
Elderly, women and youth (e-information portal, online advisory, soft skills and employability solution for non-technical persons, child online safety)
Current Societal challenges
Villages are experiencing huge agricultural losses due to limited agribusiness skills and marketing knowledge. Young girls and boys have dropped out of schools into drug addiction and alcoholism, criminal and extremism as a result of limited employment and business opportunities. Shockingly children are dying more in hospitals despite funding from county governments as a result of mismanagement.
Communities have resorted to rumours and gossip due to limited access to information and scare internet facilities in the 21st Century era of digital transformation and computers being expensive. Government allocations for youth and women are inadequate to cater for their needs.
How do we disrupt their community engagement to reinforce village development?
Thankfully young people and women quest to develop their villages and bring life and vibrancy back to the Kenya communities that have been viewed in a negative light for the past few years - helpful or harmful?
Why we chose Smart Village as a vehicle;
For most targeted beneficiaries, their fate has been tied to local village domestic work, vending in the marketplace or seeking handouts. The even bleaker alternative being early marriage, a life of crime, susceptibility to extremist radicalization and the incapability to escape the cycle of poverty.
Kijiji Yeetu is trying to change this, one village at a time, with a digital village champion. The 50 digital village champions, are community leaders being trained on digital transformation and social development, we feel each one has a unique and special story. We don't take the champions without knowing what homes they come from, we follow up go to their homes. The trips we have taken all the way to Machakos, Gem, Kakuma, Kegogi villages among other to be visited in different parts of the country. This initiative started documenting experiences and achievements from the villages to disseminate to right forums, present community proposal to county government, engage in public education and identify potential partners who can directly support the project.
The world is undergoing tremendous shifts with the emergence of COVID-19, partnerships are key to achievements and experiences in achieving smart villages in the 21st century.
For more details, contact
Tel: +254 720975498
Dr. Collins Oduor
Chairman / Lectruer (USIU-Africa)
Tel: +254 714814385