Testing Digital Inclusion in Kenya
Read about our top findings from our year-long Digital Life: Kenya project, piloting the use of Learn My Way by the Kenya National Library Service.
It’s been an intense first year of our Kenya pilot, and we’ve learnt a lot about digital inclusion in Kenya. Here are our top three findings.
- Learners and librarians are benefitting from Learn My Way but the content needs to be more tailored to a Kenyan audience. Although Learn My Way has been designed for people with a reading age of 8, there are people living in the most rural parts of Kenya who cannot speak English at all, and therefore have struggled. In the UK, our Online Centres use Learn My Way and face to face support to help people navigate the internet, including helping them search for jobs and interact with government services online. However, the systems that these things sit in are very different from country to country. As do people’s motivations for going online.
- We’ve supported over 1,000 learners with basic digital skills, but we aren’t currently reaching the most socially and digitally excluded people in Kenya. We have had a great year working with Kenya National Library Service (knls) and 62 libraries to take basic digital skills training to more people in Kenya. So far approximately 70% of the people the libraries have supported have been men, nearly 60% are under 25, and two-thirds had been on the internet before they used Learn My Way, and could already do things on the internet. And of course, these are the people who can afford to pay 20 Kenyan Shillings a day to use the internet at libraries. They are the people who know where the library is and have the confidence to go in. During the pilot, we’ve met other organisations working in digital literacy and social inclusion like independent NGOs, resource centres and empowerment centres. The question is, what else can we do to reach people who don’t currently go to libraries?
- Network management and advocacy are two of the key strengths of Good Things Foundation, but this is more difficult to do when working at a distance. The pilot was supported by a small team in the UK, working with two members of the knls team in Nairobi. We made two visits and had monthly calls with knls, but faced challenges in communicating with and designing suitable support for them along the way. We also struggled to do research – both in Kenya and at a distance. Even by taking time to understand Kenyan culture, we faced challenges in gathering honest feedback. This is why we worked with the Kenya-based Tunapanda Institute to:
- Understand how people in libraries are currently using Learn My Way, including details of any support they are receiving
- Assess how Learn My Way is benefitting people in Kenya and learn when it is not
- Evaluate whether additional country-specific learning content for Kenya would be beneficial.