With the long weekend fever came another promise from the president. The Wi-Fi promise; just in case you did not get the memo, Africa’s second largest slum will soon get wireless connection which is only a start of the project that will be extended to all the slums, according to his excellency Uhuru Kenyatta. Who mentioned it to Kibera residents on the 12th of December after launching the lighting project in Kibera slum.
The project targets talented youth in slums that will use the connection for beneficial purposes. Well, this might be in line with the governments flagship agenda during their reigning term but again a totally misplaced priority Mr. President. The last thing Kenyans need right now is Wi-Fi leave alone kibera residents.
Why the project is a flop
Kenya has recorded 67 per cent smartphone penetration which you can bet Kibera’s contribution is minute in the population of smartphone users who have also recorded high percentage in data use and penetration. The residents of Kibera live from mouth to foot and a phone is luxury anyway leave alone data connection. A majority of them have feature phones which they need for basics in the name of making ends meet.
The youth who are the targets of this very project don’t even own smart phones and if they do, it is that phone you lost! The situation is more serious and lacking and Wi-Fi is not the solution in any way. It is always good to be and act realistic and the lighting project was realistic considering the area lacks proper lighting and many of these residents cannot afford the luxury.
Let us assume these youth know how to use the internet at least for beneficial purposes as it should be. The project is an opening to more criminal activities and rates in the quest of utilizing the free connection and is definitely not the intended result for the project.
Kenyans have reacted differently to this with others saying it like it is and others obviously congratulating the president because they believe promises require a tap on the back or rather any project is worth praise and they have no audacity to question it whatsoever.
Not to forget the Nakuru Wi-Fi project by the presidential digital team that was an enormous flop with blames back and forth the government and county representatives. Wi-Fi projects have been shoved around the country with the same result of failure and the Kibera one is still not to be believed
What Kibera needs
Priority in this slum goes without saying; basics first; the population needs sanitation upgrade and the government should look at establishing a good number of lavatories and good drainage to take away contaminated environment and diseases then our youth will be in good health to use this very luxurious commodity.
The youth in the slums have talent. However, it is practical talent that is most common in the residential and considering the level of education , they would need a physical tutor and not a Youtube one which definitely calls for more social halls and trained personnel. What the government is giving Kibera is not a solution. It is just a ‘beneficial’ project that the government is well aware of its unrewarding state.