Pasha Centers

pasha

The Government of Kenya, through the Ministry of Information and Communication (MoIC), recognizes that the provision of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) goods and services is important for enabling economic and social development by improving communication and facilitating information flow.
However, the ICT sector is currently more active in urban areas, resulting in wide regional disparities in the distribution of ICT facilities.
In order to address this disparity, the Kenya ICT Board (KICTB) is supporting the roll out of new “electronic centre’s” which shall be named Pasha Centre’s (and are also commonly referred to as Digital Villages). Existing e-Centre’s may also be upgraded.

Pasha Centre’s are hubs that provide a host of services to the public via computers connected to the internet, or by using and marketing other ICT-enabled applications. This work shall be done under the Kenya ICT Program (KICTP) initiative, which has an aim to provide internet access and e-services at the grassroots level via multi-stakeholder partnerships.

Background

The achievement of an information-based society is one of the main priorities of the Government of Kenya (GoK) towards the realization of national development goals and objectives for wealth and employment creation. ICT is one of the fastest growing sectors in the country. Harnessing of ICT will therefore help the Government to realize a number of its key public policy objectives.

Most ICT facilities in the Kenya have traditionally been located in urban areas, this has resulted in glaring disparities between urban and rural areas in the distribution of ICT facilities. To redress the disparities, the Kenya ICT Board is implementing the Digital Villages project (DVP).

Project Objectives

The project has two (2) objectives:

  • To support the development of affordable access and use of ICT resources in rural communities in a sustainable way;
  • To simulate the creation of economic opportunities that will spur rural economic development.

The project has been branded to “pasha” which is a Swahili word that means to ‘inform’. The digital village project (DVP) is an integral part of an innovative public private partnership (PPP) for taking ICTs to the rural communities in Kenya. DVP seeks to harness the vast untapped potential of the rural sector by making ICTs more accessible and affordable to the wider population through the development and utilization of ICT facilities in the rural areas.

Role of Pasha Centers

To provide Kenyans in rural areas with access to information; the increased access to information will serve to:

  • To enhance business skills and knowledge in rural areas as well as expose rural communities to world news and trends that may positively enhance their lives.
  • Provide employment for Kenyans both directly through economic activity that the centre will generate and secondarily through the opportunities that the information will provide.
  • To bring online services closer to rural communities.

Digital Villages- Pasha Centers

What is a Pasha Centre?
Pasha centres provide a suite of services to the public via computers connected to the internet. Pasha Centres are generally modelled under three (3) categories: Basic, Standard, and Advanced.

Each category is defined by the number of computers and services to be offered will depend upon the scale of the Pasha Centre proposed by each applicant, but importantly should include a blend of the following: 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, m-Pesa and/or other financial services, IT support and services, office supplies and stationary sales, printer supplies, laminating and photography and other IT enabled services.

Who runs and owns the Pasha e-centers?

The Pasha Centres are run by private entrepreneurs. Prospective entrepreneurs who apply for the Digital Villages Revolving Fund and are successful will be eligible to set up Pasha Centres

Revolving Fund

How the revolving fund will be administered;
Steps-

  1. A call for application shall be made by Kenya ICT Board for prospective entrepreneurs to submit Digital Village Revolving Fund loan applications;
  2. Prospective entrepreneurs submit complete applications to the nearest Bank that is working in partnership with the Kenya ICT Board to disburse the revolving fund (Family Bank);
  3. Submitted applications are vetted by Family Bank and Kenya ICT Board’s Grants Committee;
  4. Successful entrepreneurs are informed and invited to sign a loan agreement and Kenya ICT Board service level agreement;
  5. Successful entrepreneurs begin loan repayment after a grace period of three (3) months.

The funds allocated to each entrepreneur will be repayable over a three (3) year period. These repayable funds received by the entrepreneurs can be used to finance set-up costs and or upgrading of an existing facility.

A call for proposals was done on January 24th 2011. On the application deadline of February 25th 2011 a total of 689 applications were received, with over 800 enquiries. Of the 689 applicants, 469 where received on the last day. The applications have a countrywide representation with 29% of all applicants being women.

Evaluation

Family Bank is doing the first level of evaluation. Family bank will then forward three (3) of the best applications per constituency to a Grants committee at the Kenya ICT Board. The Grants committee (including a member from Family Bank) will then further evaluate the three (3) and select the successful applicants who will receive the Pasha loan

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