Tech Solutions for Covid-19

Indeed Liz. Good that you will conflate the two threads as they speak to the same issues.

I couldn’t agree more to the views expressed by majority of listers on the need to make Internet a basic right. Cory (as Noah has referred to covid) has necessitated remote working and use of internet to deliver services, and is now becoming the ‘new normal’.

See how some everyday tasks are panning out during this covid19:

Education: we have seen several institutions/companies offering their online content to students and pupils for free.

Health: Health providers have sent out text messages that people can now access a doctor from the comfort of their homes. One only needs to download an app and sign up with their health insurance membership.

Access to food, water and basic commodities: Most of us have received messages from Nairobi Water urging us to utilize their pay bill number in line with observing social distancing.
Supermarkets have texted us to utilize their online services to avoid crowding, and even farmers choice now has a ‘kwa estate’ delivery service.

Churches have gone online with sermons including today’s Palm Sunday Mass from Holy Family Basilica streamed live.

These are all basics for citizens. But how many are able to access these online services? I have in mind the children in our rural schools where there is no internet, or where people have to prioritize between food and bundles. Further, there are many who do not even have the tools to access these services mostly smart phones. Let us not forget that these tools (phones, comps, tablets) are also being taxed heavily presenting another challenge.

Of importance though is that the Senate has this golden opportunity to put in place a policy or policies that prioritize the Internet as a tool for offering basic services. For example, we need a policy that will allow for schools/students and hospitals access a fast, stable and secure internet. There needs to be a policy that compels service providers to support such services as part of public service/good. And here, the idea suggested of having some ‘internet days’ would work so long as speeds are not throttled.

There is also the Universal Service Fund which should be used to address to these connectivity gaps or else it may find itself being moved to support non ICT stuff.

#Stayhome stay safe.

Rgds
GG

“Usiwai jidharau…ona sasa haka ka emoji (?) kamepata kazi hivyo tu kimchezo!”

———————————————————————————-

Grace Githaiga

Twitter: @ggithaiga

Skype: gracegithaiga

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/gracegithaiga

…the most important office in a democracy is the citizen. So, you see, that’s what our democracy demands. It needs you!—-Barrack Obama.

________________________________
From: kictanet <kictanet-bounces+ggithaiga=hotmail.com@lists.kictanet.or.ke> on behalf of Liz Orembo via kictanet <kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke>
Sent: 05 April 2020 11:17 AM
To: ggithaiga@hotmail.com <ggithaiga@hotmail.com>
Cc: Liz Orembo <lizorembo@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [kictanet] Internet Should Be A Public Utility Service

Thanks Dorcas ET all,

I’ll also record the contributions on this thread. What are the immediate actions that need to be taken? How can the government and the rest of the tech community collaborate?

On Sun, Apr 5, 2020, 10:47 Dorcas Muthoni via kictanet <kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke<mailto:kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke>> wrote:
Thanks Muraya,

If CDF is being used to put up bodaboda sheds, I don’t see why it cannot be used to put up Internet infrastructure at constituency level.

We need to begin advocating for access right at the grassroots level coupled with basic digital skills.

Local village polytechnics should have curriculum to support artisans and other graduates with digital skills.

The spectrum is a public resource and there in lies the opportunity to change model to enable universally accessible and affordable Internet.

This cannot be the bundles currently unavailable to the masses.

Regards, Muthoni

On Sun, 5 Apr 2020, 10:13 S.M. Muraya, <murigi.muraya@gmail.com<mailto:murigi.muraya@gmail.com>> wrote:
Hi Muthoni,

This also addresses the Senate query posted by Liz Orembo concerning how our industry can help with emergencies such as the pathogenic one we are in right now. Will try to summarize some thoughts in one long paragraph 🙂

Energy (to power the internet) is connected to water infrastructure (cooling data centres). Data centres (even in a single container) require physical planning (national & county level approvals always require kickbacks). County offices have been burning (arson – evidence destruction/ data protection). Schools are under counties, therefore ward level internet infrastructure (providers) also needs protection. Community policing (public participation) is required. Technology to enable public participation (including online learning) is not being prioritized until now. Local radio stations may be the most important but are not enough. Infrastructure to download recorded (digital) data should be available in all public schools.

www.govtech.com/em/safety/Arson-Homeland-Security.html

Now think of all the on going criminal cases in Kenya relating to the above, sure to be delayed/destroyed in our courts. In this decade, will we “succeed” like in the past 5 decades in fighting AGAINST (transparency, education) in Kenya? Remember these 2012 threads? Bitange Ndemo at his best!

lists.kictanet.or.ke/pipermail/kictanet/2012-January/015115.html – enjoy – over 10 pages – clicking next “thread”

On Sun, Apr 5, 2020 at 12:17 AM Dorcas Muthoni via kictanet <kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke<mailto:kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke>> wrote:
Hi John,

Thanks for mentioning the other pioneers I may have missed. Big thanks to them too.

Regards, Muthoni

On Sat, 4 Apr 2020, 20:05 John Kariuki, <kariuki_jn@yahoo.com<mailto:kariuki_jn@yahoo.com>> wrote:
Hi Muthoni,

I agree with you on the need to consider Internet as a Public Utility. It is not difficult to implement it. It is not expensive either. Bundles will never fully meet users needs for internet service. Remember the cost curve of ICTs. Regarding the beginning of internet in Kenya in the early nineties, there was some work done by USAID (Leyland Initiative) lead by John Mark though not often acknowledged. Even more work was done by African Online. It is worth checking on it.
Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android<go.onelink.me/107872968?pid=InProduct&c=Global_Internal_YGrowth_AndroidEmailSig__AndroidUsers&af_wl=ym&af_sub1=Internal&af_sub2=Global_YGrowth&af_sub3=EmailSignature>

On Sat, Apr 4, 2020 at 16:53, Dorcas Muthoni via kictanet
<kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke<mailto:kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke>> wrote:
Hi all,

This is an article I wrote recently: www.afchix.org/blog_post/internet-should-be-public-utility/

Happy to here your thoughts.

The regulatory framework needs to be future looking. The COVID-19 situation is bringing us back to the table to revise what we otherwise thought was reasonable use and penetration of the Internet in Kenya and across Africa.

Good time to revive like APC, KICTANET etc to revisit policy advocacy on universally accessible and affordable Internet access. Internet should be considered as critical as other services like water, electricity, sewerage etc.

We all know the school calendar is in total jeopardy and talks on having kids repeat 2020 on the table.

Universally accessible and affordable Internet access is what will give us a continuity strategy for education and support telemedicine. These are some of the areas where growth must happen.

Regards, Muthoni
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