On October 11th, 2021, Women’s Global Education Project (WGEP) commemorated United Nations’ International Day of the Girl Child, and the 2021 theme, “Digital Generation. Our Generation.”
We interviewed Shallon Nkumbuku, former scholar and current intern with WGEP’s Kenya partner, Tharaka Women’s Welfare Program (TWWP), to get a firsthand account of how the digital divide affected her studies through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Despite challenges, Shallon graduated from Karatina University in 2020 with a degree in History & Religion.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed how you use technology?
I used my phone and laptop (which was borrowed from friends because I can’t afford one) to access education while at home during pandemic. I was studying from my parents’ home in Mukothima, Kenya, where the Internet connection is very poor, and I would have to climb onto big rocks or high places to access cell reception to do my studies.
How did remote learning affect you?
It was difficult to socialize while remote learning. I was used to interacting face-to-face with lecturers and my peers, and during COVID, we could not! It was more difficult to ask questions of instructors, and the time for learning was limited while at home.
Do you have any advice or ideas on what the government should do to make technology more accessible to more girls in Tharaka-Nithi county, Kenya?
They should form partnerships to construct internet boosters in rural areas where internet is very poor. The digital divide has consequences for girls: some learners don’t have internet so they cannot partake in distance learning so they don’t graduate and cannot continue their schooling.
What are your goals for the future?
My future goals include becoming an independent woman in the society and being a role model to other young girls. As a teacher I also want to hold the hands of needy girls in the society and ensure that our girls don’t get wasted but instead they benefit the society in one way or the other by being productive financially.
Responses have been condensed for clarity. Make a gift today to support girls like Shallon across rural Senegal & Kenya!