Kenya ICT Board teams up with Family Bank to empower villages Peter Nalika
Kenya ICT Board and Family bank have launched a Ksh 320 million loan to support the establishment of Pasha Centers across the country. It has taken 3 years for the ICT Board to craft this project, with a vision of bridging the rural connectivity gap and provide access.
Pasha centres are digital access centers that run on an ICT backbone to empower the rural areas and offer people in interior parts of Kenya with internet access. The centers are divided into Basic, Standard and Advanced categories which depend on the level of services they will be offering. Every constituency in Kenya is set to have at least one Pasha Center.
The project is meant to provide affordable access and use of ICT resources to rural communities in a sustainable way, increase connectivity of these areas to other parts of the country and also create economic opportunities that will spur rural economic development.
Some of the unique services to be offered include e-learning platforms, online courses on vocational training, agency banking services and providing information on health. Others are job bureau facilities, mobile banking, gaming and ICT, business and entrepreneurship training resources.
The centres will be mainly based in the rural areas, and it will help deliver the government objective of ensuring that Kenyans everywhere have access to the internet. These centers will provide avenues for the full utilization of young and innovative skills for BPO related activities.
“The launch marks yet another milestone in our country’s journey towards a knowledge economy as technology continues to play a role in the achievement of vision 2030 goals," says Ndemo, PS Ministry of Information and Communication. As part of this process, the government is paying special attention to the role of ICT as a conduit for development all over Kenya.
The board together with Family Bank will award loans to qualified entrepreneurs. To be liable for this start-up loan, applicants will have to submit compelling business plans as part of their application. The business plans should be able to address the problems faced in the specific areas in terms of connectivity and access to internet services. Five best applications will be chosen from each constituency and the best will be awarded a certificate to run Pasha Center. The Pasha loan will be a three year loan set at very attractive interest rates to help ensure that business are successful and profitable.
Family bank and the ICT Board will float tenders for ICT specialists who will offer technical support to these centres. For the 1st year, the support people will offer on-call and physical visits to the centers as they capacitate the owners with skills to take over.
This project is funded by the World Bank and the Government of Kenya. Under this project, entrepreneur training has a budget of USD 2 million, revolving fund of USD 4 million, and a bandwidth support budget of USD 2 million respectively.