Disadvantaged youth in Machakos County are bound to benefit from the’ Vusha’ Program, a project which aims to improve their employability prospects as well as enhancing their income generating capacities while leveraging internet connectivity.
The Vusha Program is run by The African Center for Women Information and Communication Technologies (ACWICT) with funding from the Rockefeller Foundation Digital Jobs Africa (DJA) grants program. The program is designed to harness the positive economic impact of the internet. It builds on the fact that mobile and internet platforms have been seen to increase access to improved agriculture, education, health, and governance services by otherwise undeserved communities
The ACWICT run program has also entered a partnership with the County Government of Machakos through her Ministry of Education, Youth and Social Welfare. The County has offered a room fully furnished with 30 computers, desks and other relevant equipment to the comfort of the trainees who range between 20 and 29 years of age.
Launched in March 2014, the Vusha program has targeted the youth, mostly those in their transition points in their education from high school/ vocational and / or tertiary education to the world of work and provides them with technical skills and life skills training, on the job experience coupled with job placement support.
The program expands employment options for the youth by equipping them with new and additional skills for accessing and engaging online work for generating additional income in a bid to spur their counties’ economic growth. It also incorporates financial literacy skills and healthcare planning skills to enable the young people plan for their lives while gaining support and asset building.
In the national context, the program covers the counties of Machakos, Kiambu, Mombasa, Kisumu and is designed to empower 4,500 youths. It is to be implemented over a period of 3 years (2014-2015) will see at least 80% of those that successfully complete the training placed in digital jobs and on the work in various parts of the county and country at large.
Founded in 2001, ACWICT is a Kenyan based Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for development organization with a regional reach whose aim is to promote womens’ access to and knowledge of ICT as a tool for social, economic and political advancement.
ACWICT has been identified as a potent force in transforming social, economic and political lives of women globally and that although ICT’s present a unique and powerful tool for accessing and disseminating information and knowledge necessary for advancement of women, there exists a broad concern on the growing gap in knowledge and information between those that are accessible to the technology and those that are not.
Low literacy and education, language barriers, time, cost of access, geographical location of facilities, lack of ICT literacy skills, social cultural norms, non-gender responsive ICT policies, lack of privacy and security among other factors have been highlighted as constraints to women’s access to and control over ICT’s.