Pasha Digital Villages is an initiative of the Kenya ICT Board in a bid to bring IT (digital) services closer to the people in the villages, who have often have little or no access to these services. The idea is to have centers within rural villages in Kenya where people can get Internet access, computer training, vocational training, ICT retail, access to government services, entertainment and gaming, typing and data entry, printing services, copying and scanning, cell phones and SIM card sales, Mobile Money or other financial services, IT support and services, office supplies and stationary sales, printer supplies, laminating and photography and other IT enabled services.
These centers are more of ICT hubs and less of cyber cafes. Currently, there are about 63 centers (including the 26 centers that were awarded loans to kick start them by the ICT Board recently). This accounts for 30% coverage in the country since 2011. I personally hope that in 5 years we can achieve over 95% coverage, despite the challenges of rural electrification.
One can apply for a loan to set up a Pasha digital village. The project, run through the Ministry of Information and Communication, is a blueprint to achieving Vision 2030, which recognizes that the provision of ICT goods and services in Kenya is important for enabling economic and social development.
The digital village project is an integral part of an innovative public private partnership for taking ICTs to the rural communities in Kenya. Already, the board is collaborating with CISCO and Intel and is currently in talks with Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) to further advance the ICT skills of the Pasha Managers and increase ICT advocacy in the rural areas.
All 210 constituencies are earmarked to benefit from the initiative.