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Making the Web Accessible and Safe to Women in Kenya

In rural Kenya, the illiteracy level which is borne of poverty is too high. Majority of the women here have never seen a computer, let alone work on it.

The ones fortunate enough to have a little education can access the web via their mobile phones, so long as said ohones are internet enabled, which is not always the case.

To access the Internet full time on these phones needs one to invest in enough airtime for the same, meaning that a lack of money equally means no internet, thus logging in becomes a herculean task.

It is so unfortunate that there isn't a single library in my community. Evenso, my organization, Malkia Foundation, which is undergoing registration as an NGO has plans to change this, if we get access to enough funding.

We hope to build a community library which we intend to fill with enough computers complete with internet, to enable girls and women log into the internet free of charge.

Presently, my organization has invested in 4 computers on which we mount data subscribed modems, and with which interested girls and women get access to their favourite sites on the web.

To feel safe on the web, I ensure that I only navigate safe sites, whose address starts with https:, unlike http: which are easily hackable.

Technology companies and the Kenya government can work together towards the implementation of innovations that are not only safe and affordable to everyone, but also fast and easily accessible to women.

Stringent measures should also be put in place in terms of tough punishments and very high fines to curb cyber crime as this might deter cyber criminals and make the web safer for all.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Women Weave the Web Digital Action Campaign. Learn more »



bitani's picture

sounds nice

Phionah dear, this project sounds nice. It's sad that not too many Kenyan women can access the web. But, with the presence of people like you and organizations like Evenso things will hopefully change soon.

I am curious to ask do you think middle eastern countries like mine-lebanon-have better access for women? I was just thinking that maybe the old wars in both territories are still spreading their disastrous effects on the nations?


Phionah Musumba's picture

Belief in Oneself

Hello Bitani.

Thanks for your comment, thoughts and question.

I want to believe that barring War, anyone can succeed with or via the web.

It only takes believing in one's capabilities.


Centre for Disadvantaged Girls, Kenya

noreez's picture

Great effort

A great woman must not just accept; she must challenge. Therefore you must not be awed by that which has been built up around you but must continue to struggles for expression and better tomorow. Well done!

Dr.Noriah Ismail
APB Senior Lecturer
Universiti Teknologi MARA
Segamat, Johor

Phionah Musumba's picture

Challenge Accepted

Hello Noreez.

I am humbled and at the same time emboldened by your challenge. Setting my sights much higher.

Warmest regards,

Centre for Disadvantaged Girls, Kenya

Fiona J McKenzie's picture

I hope you succeed!

Dear Phionah

I read your post with great interest. You show a practical realistic approach to the scale of the problems you face, but instead of being daunted, you are putting in place stepping-stones that will lead to a different future. You should feel very proud of what you have achieved so far, and I wish you luck with your project for a library/internet centre. Do you have an idea yet of the financial support needed to realise your project? I would be very interested to hear more about it.

Very best wishes,

from another Fiona (same name - different spelling!)

Fiona McKenzie

Phionah Musumba's picture

Thank you

My dear namesake.

I am sorry that it has taken this long to reply to your comment on my post.

I have been super busy running up and down doing my preps for an upcoming Fellowship in the US.

I am humbled that you are showing an interest in our work, and it sure would do us a lot of good if like minded people came on board.

Please let me know if you are still interested so that we can work out the figures.

Wishing you well,

Centre for Disadvantaged Girls, Kenya

Fiona J McKenzie's picture

Figures and practicalities

Dear Phionah,

How exciting to hear that you will be getting the opportunity to go and study in the US. I also had the opportunity to do that many years ago!

I don't have any expereince in fund-raising but saw that you had been offered assistance by Yvette in the US and I wondered if this had come to anything? If you do have an additional information I might be able to get advice from people who specialise in this ort of area.

best wishes,


Fiona McKenzie

carolepng's picture

Hoping for the best!

Hi Phionah,

I read your post and feel connected :) as we face similar situations though maybe for us not as bad as yours.
My association group is also looking at setting up a Resource centre to be equipped also and looking out for donors and funding for this.

You may want to subscribe to -- they have a lot of useful links and resources for funding that may go in line with your project.

I wish you all the best - and hope that one day soon I can be able to see you side of the world :)

Best wishes,

-We all have a special purpose in life. It is up to us to pause for a while, identify it, grab on to it and follow through -

Phionah Musumba's picture

It's a Small World

Hello Carole,

It warms my heart to read your comment.

I hope we can work together towards tackling and finding solutions to the problems we share.

I also hope you are serious about Nairobi.

Looking forward to meeting you.


Centre for Disadvantaged Girls, Kenya

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