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National and county government institutions in West Pokot to get internet

West Pokot Deputy County Commissioner Wycliffe Munanda has announced that both national and county government institutions currently without internet access will be connected to the digital superhighway through the Last Mile Internet Connectivity programme.

Munanda said the move aims at enhancing communication within public institutions and government offices for an effective and efficient delivery of government services through internet connectivity.

Speaking during the launch of Digital Superhighway Last Mile Connectivity Project at the West Pokot County Kenya Urbans Road Authority offices in Kapenguria town, Munanda stated that several public institutions and government offices in West Pokot County have already been connected, and 24 additional sites which have been identified as not having internet will be connected within the next two weeks.

“The availability of internet connectivity will enable the youth to take advantage of digital jobs opportunities provided by the government through digital hubs,” DCC Munanda said.

He expressed his gratitude to the officials from the ICT Authority who have played a crucial role in ensuring that West Pokot County is connected to the internet, emphasising that this service will provide the youth with valuable digital knowledge.

The DCC acknowledged that there are still areas within the county where internet connectivity is not yet fully established, such as Alale and Kacheliba areas, as well as Lelan area in Pokot North Sub County.

Munanda believes that with internet connectivity, the youth in these regions will have the opportunity to engage in online businesses and get access to job opportunities that contribute to the economic development of the country.

He reiterated that the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA) places great importance on activities at the grassroots level, and internet connectivity serves as a vital communication channel that promotes various sectors including business, healthcare, education, security, and social life.

DCC Munanda encouraged unemployed youth to utilise their laptops, phones, and tablets to work for multinational companies abroad and earn a living.

He said that the government’s plan includes ensuring internet connectivity reaches every part of the country.

The administrator warned that the government will not accept shoddy work and advised them to ensure quality work.

Barran Telecommunication, West Pokot County field manager Dennis Ochieng emphasized the importance of delivering the internet connectivity project in accordance with the Information Communication and the Digital Economy Ministry standards.

To ensure a smooth implementation, he stressed the need for cooperation from various stakeholders, including the national and county government.

Ochieng also pledged they will hire locals to ensure they benefit from the project.

“We are going to primarily involve the local community to carry out the work,” he affirmed.

He urged all stakeholders to help establish the code of work, manage some of the casual laborers, and maintain the expected standards set by the ICT department.

The Contractor assured that the first phase of the project, which aims to connect six government institutions to the internet, will be completed within the next two weeks, with the remaining 18 institutions ready within a month.

Ms Olive Owiti, the manager of the Youth Centre at Chepareria town under the Ajira program, revealed that the Jitume digital skills initiative has enabled young people visiting the youth empowerment centre to access online work opportunities and develop digital literacy skills.

The youth centres in Makutano, Chepareria, and Sigor offer free training programs for the youth in the region. Furthermore, the introduction of internet connectivity in ICT hubs will greatly enhance their access to the digital world,” Ms Owiti said.

Youth will be provided with personal modems to facilitate their usage. This improved connectivity will result in an increased number of young people visiting the centres to access the internet and explore the digital economy.

They will be able to create employment opportunities for themselves and access a wider range of prospects.

In additionally, this initiative will help keep the youth engaged and productive, as they can utilize the internet for content creation and share their creativity with their peers worldwide

Mr Stephen Akuto, the Senior Principal of Chewoyet National School, expressed his gratitude to the government for providing them with internet through the last mile internet connectivity.

He emphasised the importance of digitalization in today’s world and how having internet access in their institution will greatly benefit the students by enabling them to stay updated with global events.

“The internet connection will facilitate interaction between Chewoyet National School and other schools across the country, such as Kapsabet Boys, St Patrick’s Iten High School, and Alliance High School, through virtual learning, ultimately enhancing overall school performance,” Akuto stated.

Mr Akuto divulged that they used to spend approximately Sh7,000 per month on Safaricom internet connectivity, but now, with the government’s free internet service, they can reduce their internet expenses and ensure effective learning delivery.

He also highlighted that the internet speed will be faster, allowing multiple students and staff members to access online lessons unlike before.

By Anthony Melly

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