“Ensuring That No Woman Is Computer Illiterate”: The Story of Kenyan Women Accomplishing More Than They Ever Thought Possible

by | Sep 4, 2019 | Seeds: Our Blog

A part of the East Africa Leadership Program Series

This year, TPP entered a new stage of its East Africa programming. Focusing specifically on grantmaking to burgeoning community leaders in Kenya and Uganda who have the potential to make real, lasting change, TPP and its East African Leadership team—all TPP grantees themselves—mentor and support these early-stage changemakers to help ensure their success.

It’s not easy to learn a new skill. It almost always causes feelings of trepidation, inadequacy, and frustration. When, however, after many hours of hard work you’ve finally mastered that skill—well, there are few better feelings of accomplishment in the world.
The women of Kwale Kinarini village in the Coast region of Kenya know that feeling of pride well. In 2018, Ramadhan Maulidi founded the Tufunze Tujue Project, the purpose of which is to teach computer skills to low-income elder women and young mothers who were unable to finish school.

As Maulidi says: “Most of [the women] do not know how to use computers. This has many negative impacts on them, including lack of access to information and services and exploitation by middlemen who attempt to con them when they seek access to information. The goal of the project is to equip women and young mothers with basic computer skills [including how to use Microsoft Office, the internet, Facebook, and WhatsApp] to help them access useful information and services easily.”

Awarded a grant by TPP in November of 2018, Maulidi received mentorship from TPP East Africa Team Member Maulidi Hamisi Mwinyikai, who coached Maulidi on how to partner with other reputable colleges in Kwale to provide training and issue certificates to his students upon graduation—certificates that help his graduates secure future employment. Mwinyikai also helped Maulidi use Facebook to increase his project’s visibility and attract more students.

Since then, the Tufunze Tujue Project has gone on to achieve incredible success. Focused on servicing elder women and young women who were forced to drop out of school due to pregnancy, Maulidi, through TPP funds, was able to purchase computers and rent a venue for classes.

Maulidi admits that teaching the classes was often difficult because the elder women did not believe they could learn how to operate a computer, and, often, the young mothers were slow to learn. Despite initial challenges, however, the Project not only “reduced the cases of computer illiteracy among women but also boosted their self-esteem in the community … some of them have even been employed in cyber cafés.”

The Project’s success has even attracted additional funders—Maulidi received a grant for Search for Common Grounds for $2,000 earlier this year, and the Project will be expanding to serve more populations.
“We hope that we will be able to reach all villages in the county or possibly the whole country and ensure that no woman is computer illiterate in this digital era.”

TPP is so proud of Maulidi, a true changemaker, for supporting these brave Kenyan women!
TPP thanks East Africa Team Member Maulidi Hamisi Mwinyikai for his assistance in writing this article.

Written by Carolyn Ashworth