A long road brought us to Cheptais, a village located in the extreme West of Kenya, close to the border with Uganda, with a condition of isolation that is permeating every aspect of the daily life for the farmers who are living here. When we jump out from the car, many kids began to look at us and to shout, thinking that Sandro (the Agritools videomaker) – who wares long hairs and some weird – was Jesus…funny moments!
Probably for them it was the first meeting with a mzungu [white man, in swahili].
Gerry Boiyo is the Project Officer ICT at the Anglican Development Service,a local Ngo that is working in this community, filling a gap uncovered by the national and the regional institutions in the field of agriculture. Some of the activities promoted by ADS in last years are focusing on the use of ICTs. Video to share information, SMS to access the market prices through the mFarm platform, FrontlineSMS to collect information and ICT trainings for women. The introduction of these tools represented a revolution for the farmers of the Cheptais community and we went into the field to meet them and collect their testimony.
Once again, the relationship between genders and ICTs represents a point of reflection in the ICT4Ag sector and Cheptais had lot of things to say about it. Concerning the influence on women empowerment, ICTs are strong agents that can change the traditional equilibrium in a family, due to the fact that an empowered women is not well accepted in a traditional family contest. But thanks to the ADS trainings, step by step these ladies got the opportunity to reflect about their rights and they are now able to improve their production and incomes, being indipendent from their husbands.
Sowhat to do andhow to do it are the questions that are leading the ADS action in this Western Province village of Kenya. People from the region is finding in ICTs a kind of mirror which allows them to reflect their presence to the outside world and we know that this process, once started, it becomes unstoppable. It could be interesting to come back to Cheptais in few years and see how all these potatoes and onions grew up, thanks to the women work in agriculture.
Soon the videos with the women testimonies available in the Agritools platform.