Empowering Farmers in Laikipia County on Cyber Hygiene to Boost and Safeguard their Profits

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Picture of an ongoing training in Nyahururu

Distribution of Training of Trainers (ToTs):

Laikipia West (Nyahururu): 44. Participants from Githiga, Rumuruti, Salama, Marmanet, and Igwamiti.

Laikipia East: 38. Participants from Nanyuki, Thingithu, Tigithi, Ngobit,and  Umande

Laikipia North: 23. Mukogodo East, Mukogodo West, Segera.

Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for a majority of the Kenyan population, especially those in the rural areas. In Laikipia County, the sector plays a leading role in the creation of employment, representing 66% of the labour force and also contributing 44.2% of the County’s Gross Domestic Product. According to the Laikipia County Labour Report 2021, 80% of farmers in the county operate in small-scale subsistence production where surplus is sold to the market to earn families means to afford other services for their daily needs. 

Increasingly, farmers in the county are using digital technologies to widen their market reach and sell more products. Indeed, farmers rely on the internet and other digital technologies to access local markets for their products and to make financial transactions. They mostly use the common social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter and just like other Kenyans. 

However, being new to the use of ICTs, people in rural areas including farmers are increasingly being exposed to cyberthreats and online harms such as fake news, disinformation, cyber fraud, cryptocurrency scams, identity theft, mobile money fraud and forms of social engineering which could result in loss of profits in their businesses. Also, the levels of awareness among these previously digitally excluded and marginalised communities remains low, and as such, they remain vulnerable to digital threats.w Therefore, these groups need to be equipped with practical knowledge on how they can protect themselves from common cyber threats.

Between 4 – 9 July 2022, KICTANet in partnership with the Africa Centre for Women Information Communication Technologies (ACWICT) held two cyber hygiene training sessions in Nyahururu and Nanyuki. The sessions targeted at least 140 farmers, women, persons with disabilities, farmers, care givers, community health workers and youth, and persons with disabilities in the counties. The Training of Trainers (TOT) sessions are part of KICTANet’s cyber hygiene campaign launched early this year, to increase awareness on cyber hygiene and contribute to improved digital safety, security, resilience and inclusion and participation of vulnerable and marginalised communities in Kenya’s digital economy. 

The participants were taken through a practical six-module cyber hygiene curriculum developed by KICTANet. The curriculum covers the practices that helps people use their devices safely; practices that will help avoid unauthorised access to important devices, applications and information; practices that helps a person keep safe while online; practices that helps users keep safe when they connect their devices to networks; and practices that help one keep safe when using financial technology applications and carrying out financial transactions online. In addition, the TOTs will be taken through an instructor’s manual that shall enable them to cascade and disseminate the information to their counterparts at the grassroots level. 

According to James Mungere, ACWICT Digital Access Program (DAP) County Coordinator, farmers sometimes leave their email and other account passwords with the public cyber cafe attendees because they find it difficult to remember them, and this poses serious risks.  “This training therefore comes at a very crucial time where cyber threats are increasing but farmers don’t know how to protect themselves or use these technologies.” He adds.

These trainings are part of KICTANet’s Cyber Hygiene project titled ‘Towards promoting cyber hygiene awareness among 30,000 excluded and marginalised digital populations in Kenya’ with  support from the United Kingdom Digital Access Program (UKDAP). It is implemented under the Digital Access Programme in partnership with the ICT Authority, the Communications Authority, Kenya Film Classification Board, British Council in Kenya, Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya, ACWICT among others.

KICTANet is a multistakeholder platform that aims to catalyse ICT reforms through stakeholder engagement, capacity building, research and policy advocacy. Our mission is to promote an enabling environment in the ICT sector that is robust, open, accessible, rights-based through multistakeholderism. This cyber hygiene campaign falls under KICTANet’s capacity building pillar, which seeks to promote the use of ICTs and understanding of ICT policies and regulations for inclusive policy development processes.

Laikipia West (Nyahururu): 44. Participants from Githiga, Rumuruti, Salama, Marmanet, and Igwamiti.

Laikipia East: 38. Participants from Nanyuki, Thingithu, Tigithi, Ngobit,and  Umande

Laikipia North: 23. Mukogodo East, Mukogodo West, Segera.

Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for a majority of the Kenyan population, especially those in the rural areas and in the counties. In Laikipia County, the sector plays a leading role in the creation of employment, representing 66% of the labour force and also contributing 44.2% of the County’s Gross Domestic Product. According to the Laikipia County Labour Report 2021, 80% of farmers in the county operate in small-scale subsistence production where surplus is sold to the market to earn families means to afford other services for their daily needs. 

Increasingly, farmers in the county are using digital technologies to widen their market reach and sell more products. Indeed, farmers rely on the internet and other digital technologies to access local markets for their products and to make financial transactions. They mostly use the common social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter and just like other Kenyans. 

However, being new to the use of ICTs, people in rural areas including farmers are increasingly being exposed to cyberthreats and online harms such as fake news, disinformation, cyber fraud, cryptocurrency scams, identity theft, mobile money fraud and forms of social engineering which could result in loss of profits in their businesses. Also, the levels of awareness among these previously digitally excluded and marginalised communities remains low, and as such, they remain vulnerable to digital threats.w Therefore, these groups need to be equipped with practical knowledge on how they can protect themselves from common cyber threats.

Between 4 – 9 July 2022, KICTANet in partnership with the Africa Centre for Women Information Communication Technologies (ACWICT) will hold two cyber hygiene training sessions in Nyahururu and Nanyuki. The sessions will target at least 100 farmers, women, persons with disabilities, farmers, care givers, community health workers and youth, and persons with disabilities in the counties. The Training of Trainers (TOT) sessions are part of KICTANet’s cyber hygiene campaign launched early this year, to increase awareness on cyber hygiene and contribute to improved digital safety, security, resilience and inclusion and participation of vulnerable and marginalised communities in Kenya’s digital economy. 

The participants will be taken through a practical six-module cyber hygiene curriculum developed by KICTANet. The curriculum covers the practices that helps people use their devices safely; practices that will help avoid unauthorised access to important devices, applications and information; practices that helps a person keep safe while online; practices that helps users keep safe when they connect their devices to networks; and practices that help one keep safe when using financial technology applications and carrying out financial transactions online. In addition, the TOTs will be taken through an instructor’s manual that shall enable them to cascade and disseminate the information to their counterparts at the grassroots level. 

According to James Mungere, ACWICT Digital Access Program (DAP) County Coordinator, farmers sometimes leave their email and other account passwords with the public cyber cafe attendees because they find it difficult to remember them, and this poses serious risks.  “This training therefore comes at a very crucial time where cyber threats are increasing but farmers don’t know how to protect themselves or use these technologies.” He adds.

These trainings are part of KICTANet’s Cyber Hygiene project titled ‘Towards promoting cyber hygiene awareness among 30,000 excluded and marginalised digital populations in Kenya’ with  support from the United Kingdom Digital Access Program (UKDAP). It is implemented under the Digital Access Programme in partnership with the ICT Authority, the Communications Authority, Kenya Film Classification Board, British Council in Kenya, Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya, ACWICT among others.

KICTANet is a multistakeholder platform that aims to catalyse ICT reforms through stakeholder engagement, capacity building, research and policy advocacy. Our mission is to promote an enabling environment in the ICT sector that is robust, open, accessible, rights-based through multistakeholderism. This cyber hygiene campaign falls under KICTANet’s capacity building pillar, which seeks to promote the use of ICTs and understanding of ICT policies and regulations for inclusive policy development processes.

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