The Frontlines of My Life, A story of Limited, Unffordable Internet Access

Immaculate Amoit
Posted February 9, 2017 from Kenya
 Women In an Empowerment Workshop
In one of WETECs' Economic Empowerment Training.The training includes dìgital literacy sessions.

Recently I visited my rural home to exercise my civic duty as a Kenyan woman which was to register as a voter in the coming Elections in my country Kenya later this year. I got wind of the voter registration exercise online through friends sharing on twitter and Facebook. Zero or Limited internet access may not be a daily occurrence for some of us who live in semi-urban or urban areas but it is a thorn in the flesh for many youth and women in rural Kenya who are forced to travel for kilometers just to use the cyber café which is very expensive and with unreliable bandwidth connection. I shared their plight during this visit.

I came to face to face with the harsh reality of limited internet access. In my rural home there is only one cyber café which is 20 kilometers from my home. Then came this important call and email that I was to apply for Commission on Status of Women 2017 Youth Forum and the deadline was the very day precisely a few hours short. I quickly called for a motorbike and in tow with my son went to the cyber. I used the cyber for only an hour. The cyber cafe operator claimed that the site I was using used a lot of airtime and it was getting expensive for him, he even disconnected me. I had to plead with him to allow me finish my application as it meant so much to me and the group of youth I was applying for, he did allow me and gave an exorbitant figure as payment. I realized that while in other areas I enjoy cheap internet access in which is less than 60 Kenyan shillings less than (1USD)per hour yet this particular day I was being charged 700 Kenyan shillings (7USD) for an hour!

Being a frequent user of the internet, I questioned his pricing, he got really furious and abusive and I had to call a friend to talk to him. I felt cheated and disrespected. This got me thinking of the daily struggle women go through in the village to make ends meet and how they are losing out on huge opportunities just because they can’t afford and access the internet. African women have issues that need urgent action the issues range from gender disparity, poverty, HIV/AIDS , low representation ,malnutrition, gender based violence against women and girls among others .In as much as this has changed over the years there’s still more to be done when it comes to advancing the women rights. I am of great happiness that this can be done through the internet where organizations are advocating and raising this awareness but we should remember to use other means of raising awareness for grassroots women who have very minimal access to the digital world.

In a world where all information and communication goes through the internet, including selling and buying, sharing of stories and action is taken by activists. Can you imagine how many women are losing opportunities and their potential lies dormant and inactivated? Can you imagine how many women and youth are leaving in poverty and ignorance for lack of access to information? The good news is that in Kenya, we have Huduma Centers which have eased this problem for smaller towns but not the rural areas where access is still not possible. In our Empowerment Training women are encouraged to explore on the opportunities abound online including joining World Pulse, Empower Women and other helpful social media sites.

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Comments 20

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Austina
Feb 10, 2017
Feb 10, 2017

Dear Immah,

Aptly captured! Women everywhere in Africa suffer these challenge, may we find succour someday soon, especially for those who even though they access to cybercafe, cannot even go because of the insecurities involved.  Thank you for sharing, sending you love as you spread your voice for the voiceless.

Immaculate Amoit
Feb 13, 2017
Feb 13, 2017

Sure Austina we find succour someday.

Much love

Adanna
Feb 11, 2017
Feb 11, 2017

Dear Immah,

Reading your article reminds me of the challenges many women in Africa face daily. You really illustrated some of these challenges in your article well!

In a global competitive world where one needs access to information, resources and opportunities both online and offline, one can only imagine how this affects millions of women in Africa. 

Unreliable internet services and high cost of internet connectivity are the major challenges many women in Africa face today when it comes to taking advantage of online opportunities.

Love,

Adanna

Immaculate Amoit
Feb 13, 2017
Feb 13, 2017

Dear Adanna 

Thank you for your insight.Through speaking up and highlighting about this limitations that hinder women, progress is likely to be made.

Much love

Much love

mashakel
Feb 11, 2017
Feb 11, 2017

Dear Immah,

I'm really disheartened by the Cafe owner's actions. Sadly I know this feeling and have experienced this a lot in Egypt. When people see that we are in need of something, they take advantage of it and change it to further benefit them. They are basically taking advantage of our needs. I'm proud to see that you are speaking up against this corruption and I will join with you in trying to make a change. I'm truly moved by your efforts in standing up against this.

Best regards,

Omar

Immaculate Amoit
Feb 13, 2017
Feb 13, 2017

Dear Omar,

Thank you for reading.Its heartbreaking to know that its an experience of so many women around the globe.We will keep fighting for our space in whatever sector.

Much love

Araba
Feb 12, 2017
Feb 12, 2017

Immah, it really sad that so many people in the rural areas do not have access to the internet. i join in your crusade to voice this out and find solution.

Immaculate Amoit
Feb 13, 2017
Feb 13, 2017

Thank you Araba, internet access is also a womans right.Thanks lets push for reforms and policies

Much love

Sally maforchi Mboumien
Feb 13, 2017
Feb 13, 2017

Dear Immah thank you for highlighting this problem. How can we really boost of total empowerment of the woman when they are denied access to the internet? Poverty and long distances to cover by women who are more like servants in their homes are hindrances to this women in our rural communities to access the internet. I believe very soon this challenge will be overcomed

Immaculate Amoit
Feb 13, 2017
Feb 13, 2017

Dear Sally,

Its our resolve and determination that will enable us overcome this challenge.I believe most women do. By raising our voices the march begins and so much would be achieved.Through this stories solutions will be found.

Much love

rosemary_ntoipo
Feb 13, 2017
Feb 13, 2017

Dear Immah,

Absolutely right. This what are the challenges women are facing . Lets raise our voices and those of others together

Immaculate Amoit
Feb 27, 2017
Feb 27, 2017

Dear Rosemary,

Thank you. Together we rise and help others rise

Much love

Shirley Kimmayong
Feb 13, 2017
Feb 13, 2017

Dear Immah, 

I feel you. We do not have internet cafe's in my village and we do not have unrealiable internet access as well. 

All the best!

Peace,

Shirley

Immaculate Amoit
Feb 27, 2017
Feb 27, 2017

Thanks for sharing your plight Shirley dear, We need to advocate for internetr access for rural women. We can do it. Internet Access in this day and  age is a human right

Much love

Shirley Kimmayong
Feb 27, 2017
Feb 27, 2017

Indeed! Hopefully that time will come in the near future.. :)

Karolina Lobrow
Mar 08, 2017
Mar 08, 2017

It's going to be an incredible day when every woman in the world has the ability to access knowledge and opportunities. Knowledge is power, so thank you for highlighting the continued struggle of women to even gain access to the resources that so many of us take for granted. 

Immaculate Amoit
Mar 19, 2017
Mar 19, 2017

Dear Karolina,

It is this struggles that seem invisible that limit us women from achieving our dream when actually we are limitless.

Thank you too for reading the article.

Much love

Mar 19, 2017
Mar 19, 2017
This comment has been removed by the commenter or a moderator.
ngozimoguguah
Mar 19, 2017
Mar 19, 2017

I believe that the people in charge of providing the facilities should be informed about the opportunities that abound in such places. With people like you and I bringing this to the forefront, they will be motivated to act. 

Immaculate Amoit
Mar 19, 2017
Mar 19, 2017

Dear Ngozi,

It is true that people with this facilities should be sensitized of the opportunity it presents to women and the more we work hard to achieve this the more women will be emancipated and empowered.

Much love