In September, program manager Revi Sterling and field coordinator Grace Githaiga visited the the World Vision APD office in Matete, Kenya, to talk to recent Women and the Web graduates. The graduates will be profiled over the months to come and have promised to stay in contact. Several Women and the Web past participants have found opportunities either in the ICT sector or because of the affordances of ICT. Several dozen have received microfinance funding to pursue new and enhanced livelihoods, and some have gone on to study ICT in more depth. These profiles demonstrate the impact of the Women and the Web program on the lives and livelihoods of thousands in Matete, in conjunction with the stellar training provided by World Vision.
Please meet Mary and her laptop:
Mary inspires. She did not attend the first few Women and the Web trainings because she thought that she would need to know how to read and write to be successful in learning ICT. She mustered up the boldness to attend cohort 5, and with the help of trainer James, who made her feel very welcome, she succeed in the class and beyond.
Admittedly, Mary says the training was challenging. She learned how to write her name, and she learned the various exercises in class, but then would forget them in-between trainings. To address this, she bought a used laptop so that she could train herself on the day’s lessons. As a subsistence farmer, she sold her trees for timber in order to pay for the laptop. Not only was she able to practice her lessons, she became an ICT shop of her own, and also purchased a used printer.
Now, she has so much work from the community that she needs to expand her business and buy faster printers and computers. Her printing and photocopying work is so lucrative that she now hires people to manage her farm – she is creating jobs in her community.
She says that Women and the Web changed her life – she feels much younger, and she tells everyone that they can succeed in learning and using ICT even without having had a formal education. Now she trains people who were like her – afraid to take that initial step: