This is the information age! An era when having the right information is worth more than gold – literary. I’m seeking funding to ease access to computer services for the people in Kakamega County by creating digital villages.
Budget Breakdown (approx)
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We stand before the open door of the future, yet it is so difficult to see inside and harder still to know how to take the first step across the threshold. Advanced technology solutions are critical to alleviate poverty. One underlying cause of poverty is the asymmetry of information between the poor and the rich, including the middlemen. Commitment to building a framework for empowerment of the poor must therefore start with access to information and connectivity. We know that the internet has brought the potential for empowering even the most marginalized groups in our societies. We know that it will benefit all of us if we can unleash their entrepreneurial energy and creativity. Among the first steps is surely the challenge of how to achieve access to the internet for the groups at the bottom of the pyramid, so that they can participate fully in shaping their own future. One of the answers to this challenge is the creation of ways for the poor to have shared access to Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).
Computers and connectivity are still too expensive for private ownership by the poor. The people at the bottom of the pyramid need to have reliable, affordable access to technology and connectivity. So many people take computer technology for granted because it’s such a major part of our society now, but imagine not having the education or access to computers? People at the bottom of the pyramid are at risk of being left behind and overlooked for jobs because they have not received education and training like their wealth elites. Most of us do not live in the digital age. Over a half of the world’s population are still offline with 75% of them living in Africa? Without removing crucial deterrents to internet adoption, little will change and more than 4 billion people may be left behind. In little more than a generation, the internet has grown from a transient technology to a tool that is transforming how people, business, and governments communicate and engage. The internet economic impact has been massive, making significant contributions to nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) and fueling new innovative industries. It has also generated societal change by connecting individuals and communities, providing access to information and education, and promoting gender transparency. It is unacceptable that over 75% of the offline population are concentrated in rural, low income, elderly, illiterate, and female. Despite the increasing utility of the internet in providing access to information, opportunities and resources to improve quality of life, there remain large segment of the offline population that lack a compelling reason to go online. Barriers to this category include a lack of awareness of the offline users, a lack of relevant (that is, local or localized content and service and a lack of cultural or social acceptance.
I am Mr. Mapesa Lwanga Bitonye. I am a social innovator, a civic tech leader & across boundary leader of global recognition who is passionate about using digital technologies to turn around the society and bring a lasting social change on the planet earth starting with Kakamega County in particular.
If our Future is Digital, how will it change the world? By 2050 THERE will be 9 billion people to feed, clothe, transport, employ and educate. We’re committed to a growth driven economy that must inflate for centuries supplying limitless consumption to everyone. With new tech can we add a digital world that helps everyone succeed and prosper while working together? Can we become a successful world where greatness is normal? I dream to create state of the art technology centres/Innovation Parks in rural and Peri-urban Africa & beyond. I dream to launch Cross Boundary Leaders Launchpads that shall help people at the bottom of the pyramid unleash their potentials while they launch a career of Impact and Purpose. Boundaries are everywhere, between sectors, specializations, geographies, generations, backgrounds and beliefs. We shall nurture the next generation of global leaders who shall cross boundaries.
We shall keep the big picture and start small by creating a telecommunity at Mutsuma village and its environs in Kakamega County. A telecommunity shall comprise of each of the 10 villages around Mutsuma village and its environs having a Digital Village. A Digital Village is basically a public place where people can access the latest technologies, computers, the internet and other digital technologies that enable them to gather information, learn, and communicate with others while they develop essential 21st century digital skills. Digital Villages enable people at the bottom of the pyramid to use digital technologies to support community, economic, education, and social development, reduce isolation, bridging the digital divide, promoting health issues, creating economic opportunities, reaching out to the poor. Digital villages are facilities that offer the community members the ability to use Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in a public shared manner. They are places where people can meet, talk, share stories, and learn new skills, access information resources and online courses. People use them as technology centers, to typeset, print, laminate, bind, scan, and make photocopies, to access the internet, to contact family members at distant places; people use them as business centers to lookup business opportunities, to advertise services, to develop marketing materials among others.
We shall create 10 digital Villages one at Mutsuma Village, Lutaso Village, Musaga Village, Sawawa village, Burundu village, Chombeli Village, Namirama Village, Bukhakunga Village, Kalenda Village & Samitsi Villages and create The Village Bank which shall be an online banking platform for the poorest of the poor and use each Digital Village to reach at least 5000 locals. Our Digital Villages’ topography of services shall include: Informational services computer training which shall be either funded with vouchers or provided for a fee; we shall offer computer basics short courses, education, job listing, government schemes and procedures, news, market prices, computer-aided education (e-content related to school curriculum), internet browsing, utility bill payment, computer-based services (digital photography, desktop publishing, data entry), Skype, PayPal, disability empowerment, land records, photocopy for birth registration, book publishing, newsletters, promotional materials for businesses, graphic design for politicians/businesses, web design etc. We shall disseminate generic (non-customized) information, such as agricultural practice, health, weather forecasts, and contact information. We shall offer transactional services such as internet access (e-mail and web browsing), word processing, printing, lamination, binding, scanning, photocopying, which shall be offered at a fee. Courier services, sending fax, facilities for children’s clubs, women clubs, youth clubs, farmers clubs, community health mapping, community resource mapping and biodiversity mapping. Obtaining loans & insurance, entertainment/ringtones, e-banking/remittances, e-commerce transaction etc. On the other hand we shall offer e-government services; this shall be transactional services that involve local, state or national government, providing land records, submitting complaints to local officials, and confirming a user’s presence on electoral rolls. Downloading and submission of forms, status of pending work, land records, ration cards, government certificates, licenses/permits, below-poverty-line lists and vehicle registration.
Each Digital Village shall be headed by a Digital Village Manager with the aid of a Smart Community Council and a network of Digital Village Sponsors and a Digital Village patron. We shall create the Digital Village Network. The Digital Village Network shall be a mega community initiative coordinated by Village Knowledge Center to support and sustain a network of Digital Villages in rural and peri-urban Africa & beyond. It shall bring together locals, rural vendors, service providers, development partners, donors, non-profits, foundations, community based organizations, civil society organizations, faith based organizations, medical facilities, educational institutions, Micro Finance Institutions, Banks, corporations, governments, angel investors, impact investors, venture capitalists, equity funds, ICT4D organizations etc to ensure the success and sustainability of the program. Individuals, organizations or institutions shall be provided with an opportunity to adopt a Digital Village by simply identifying a village of their choice and donating ICT devices.