Technological advancements have successfully started turning some parts in West Pokot County branded as battle fields for banditry attacks into a haven of peace and security.
Masol Location in Pokot Central Sub County has been one of the marginalised areas with no mobile phone networks but currently the residents have started enjoying since the installation of a telecommunications tower that has helped improve security.
Speaking during the launch of a Digital Community Programme courtesy of the American Tower Corporation (ATC) Kenya at Akiriamet sub Location on Wednesday, Area Deputy County Commissioner Jeremiah Tumo mentioned that people have now been making calls from the sites where insecurity cases occur unlike before when it used to take security agencies around three days to get alerts about the incidents.
Tumo added that the mobile network connections have slowly started assisting youth in the remote areas get jobs and alternative sources of employment hence slowly abandoning cattle raids.
“Those who were being involved in cases of livestock theft have mended their ways and with the launch of this digital community programme, it is going to help reformed warriors to be of value to the community. Cases of cattle theft have gone down since this telecommunication tower was erected,” stated the DCC.
He lauded the ATC-Kenya for the project noting that the phone charging component will assist the residents be on all the time since the area has no electricity connection.
Tumo appealed to the youth in the location to shun engaging in consumption of illicit brews instead visit the centre for free internet access so that they join the rest of the world for development.
Before January 2022, when ATC Kenya built a tower in Akiriamet, network connectivity was a major challenge and the village had zero power connectivity and residents were forced to cover at least 56kms to Sigor- the nearest shopping Centre – to charge their phones.
With the launch of the Digital Community centre, the community now has access to free charging booths, internet connectivity, community centre with state-of-the-art seats and tables, as well as a borehole.
Meanwhile area residents are passionate about the programme appealing to both the county and national governments to start a technical training institute for skills improvement of the youth within the location.
Pastor Michael Woyeta of Deliverance Church in the area expressed regret that the area lacks learning institutions hence small children find it challenging to trek long distances to access education since the available schools are several miles away.
“We need an ECDE centre, primary and secondary school near this facility for our children to have maximum benefit from this technology. Education and technology will liberate our children from ignorance and to have them exposed to modernity,” stated Woyeta.
There is a temporary structure being used as an ECDE centre that came up six months ago after launch of the telecommunications tower.
Masol Ward MCA Wilson Chekeruk echoed the sentiments reiterating that the area was in need of learning institutions since the children at the place have the hunger for education.
He lauded the residents for embracing peace and their cooperation which he added has started attracting community development organisations access the place.
“As local leaders, we are going to ensure that we work together to ensure our community interests are fulfilled for the benefit of the marginalised areas like this one,” noted the MCA.
Cheseruk said it is now a relief to the residents since they can now buy mobile phones and have been saved the trouble of walking for long distances in search of strategic points with mobile networks for them to make calls.
By Richard Muhambe