Impacts of a Telecentre on a Rural Community in Kenya


  • Rosabel Wanjiku Githinji



Telecentres are an important resource in enabling millions of people in rural areas to participate in their development while bridging the global digital divide (Rogers & Shukla, 2001). Since most of these people in the rural areas are unlikely ever to own their computers, community telecentres increase access to ICT and are viewed as community resources that offer access to information and other services that community members need to make informed decisions to improve their livelihoods. Championing of the telecentre model by governments and international development partners has increased in developing countries. However, there is little information on how rural communities benefit from telecentre projects and whether information accessed through telecentres impacts their lives and livelihoods. The study set to find out whether information obtained from the Telecentre improves people’s welfare. Finally, the study looked at the prospects of telecentres in rural development. The study was based on fieldwork carried out in Nguruman Telecentre through evaluative and descriptive research designs and used both ethnographic the participatory research approach. This study shows there is a complex relationship between ownership, management, and sustainability of telecentres that needs further research. Nevertheless, community participation in telecentre activities is an essential element for the sustainability of such initiatives at the community level. Key informants pointed out and affirmed community participation. This is what improves local ownership according to Etta & Parvyn-Wamahiu (2003), which brings about the success and sustainability of the telecentre. Ownership suggests control but it is evident that the Nguruman community was not in control of the CKC. Instead, the CKC staff and volunteers who were employees of Arid Land Information Network- Eastern Africa usually had more say in the decisions affecting the daily activities of the center. Telecentres have a definite role in the development process. They play an important role in information and education, which is key to development and seen as an important human right. Therefore there is a need to provide support in initiating, maintaining, and running telecentres. This study suggests forging partnerships (also referred to by a key informant as public-private partnerships - PPPs) for the financial sustainability of telecentres in rural communities.  The design of telecentres should have non-users in mind. This requires taking into consideration the practical needs and realities of non-users who have reservations about using the centers, whether this is because of inappropriate location, access in terms of opening hours, lack of trained staff, and poor publicity.


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How to Cite

Githinji, R. W. (2022). Impacts of a Telecentre on a Rural Community in Kenya. African Journal of Empirical Research, 3(1), 49–59.