Over 2000 youth and women are scheduled to undergo a digital literacy training programme launched by the County Government of Nakuru in partnership with Diamond Trust Bank (DTB).
County Executive Committee Member for Education, Information Communication Technology and e-Government Mr Francis Mwangi said that the programme would equip the youth and women engaged in Micro, Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with skills from the basics of e-commerce to operations, marketing, finance and sales as a way of countering Covid-19 disruption.
Speaking after holding deliberations with the bank’s officials at the County headquarters on Monday afternoon, Mr Mwangi said five digital hubs spread out in Rongai, Subukia, Kuresoi South, Nakuru East and Nakuru West sub counties, vocational training centres and existing markets within the county will be initially used as entry points.
“The collaboration will also factor in the training of youths on Agribusiness skills, entrepreneurship and access to potential markets. The programme has come at the right time. Information, communication and technology (ICT) education will help the county in setting up ICT-enabled enterprises at a time Covid-19 pandemic has rocked businesses,” he said.
Mwangi who was flanked by DTB Nakuru Branch Manager Ms Lucy Rotich, County Chief officer Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Mr Peter Mwaura and Director ICT Mr Leonard Kirui said the program would benefit the county as it has a high number of employed youths.
He added, “Nakuru is set for smart-city development. And this will be possible through the development of ICT. As a county government, one of our pillars is to embrace technology,”
Mwangi indicated that computer skills gained will enable the youths engage in online classes, develop entrepreneurship skills and earn a living through online jobs and marketing.
He stated that there was a growing need for entrepreneurs to join the digital market to expose Kenyan goods to the global market.
“Now more than ever, we need to be innovative to help cushion businesses from the impact of Covid-19 pandemic. We will commit resources to support the initiative, to train vendors and give them the tools to sell online effectively,” he said.
Online trading can help to make more goods and services available for consumers, increase market access for MSMEs and encourage investments,” said the CEC.
Ms Rotich urged the dominant MSMEs in the country to exploit the increased online purchases for growth.
She said that beneficiaries of the program will also be trained on basic computer operation knowledge, how to scale up businesses and proper management of finances using digital platforms.
The branch manager observed that since the first case of Covid-19 was confirmed in Kenya women have been worse hit economically than men.
“This initiative will help empower youths, Women and MSMEs to cushion their businesses and boost their living standards, the majority of which were hit by Covid-19 pandemic. Women run 60.7 per cent of unlicensed (mainly micro) and 31.4 per cent of licensed Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country,” she said.
“Women and youth in small and medium-sized enterprises need to embrace technology to look for new markets, and communicate with stakeholders and potential clients,” she added.
Rotich said the pandemic had further brought about many new opportunities which include online and digital jobs that youth and women could do from home.
“Women and youth, particularly young girls should take advantage of these online opportunities and earn a living for themselves,” she added.
“We should not take Covid-19 pandemic in a negative way but view it as a normal disruption to business. E-commerce is the way to go since using technology will increase business visibility, exposing it to many potential clients,” she said.
By Anne Mwale