[Kenya] Machakos students with special needs benefit from government's digital Lab
Konza Technopolis has launched the first ever Jitume Lab for youth with special needs at the Machakos Technical Training Institute for the Blind. The launch was presided over by the Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service, Mr. Felix Koskei.
“I’m delighted to preside over this auspicious occasion where we are empowering our youth with special needs for they have a contribution to make to the digital economy,” Koskei said during the launch that was also witnessed by Eliud Owalo, Cabinet Secretary for Information, Communication and Digital Economy. Similarly, Mr. Koskei and Mr. Owalo presided over the launch of the 46th Jitume Lab at Machakos University.
The Jitume Digital Enablement Program is a national government digital initiative aimed at equipping youths with digital skills and necessary infrastructure to enable them to take part in the economy. The program involves the installation of Virtual Desktops Infrastructure (VDIs) in Jitume Hubs across the country. These VDIs are connected to the internet to help user enhance their digital skills.
This initiative aims at reducing the rate of unemployment in Kenya, which stood at 10.4% by 2020. The program provides on the job training and online courses to young people from all 47 counties and leads to certification upon completion.
The Jitume program will greatly help individuals with visual impairments access digital resources by providing Screen Readers, which converts what is on the screen into speech or braille, allowing visually impaired individuals to understand the content on the screen, Refreshable Braille Display which displays the braille characters enabling users to read the information on the screen with their fingers.
Other services will include, Voice Recognition Systems whereby systems like Siri and Goggle Assistant allows users to send messages, place phone calls, and perform other actions using voice command, Object Identification Apps such as Seeing AI and Lookout which narrates the world around the user. This will allow them read currency, name, color, and even decipher handwritten cursive. Tee Community Support Apps such as Be My Eye will connects visually impaired people with sighted volunteers through a live video call. Volunteers can help with shots, simple tasks such as reading a street sign or troubleshooting.
“Konza Technopolis takes pride in the knowledge that we are digitally empowering our youth with special needs in order to enable them be integral to the digital economy. The country as moved to digital economy and we do not want to leave out anyone,” John Paul Okwiri, Chief Executive Officer of Konza Technopolis said during the launch.
This Digital Labs can be used for different purposes, such as education, work or personal life. There are different types of assistive technology under this program for different operating systems and platforms. The Jitume program powered by Konza Technopolis provides professionals who can assess, instruct and troubleshoot assistive technology for visually impaired individuals. In addition to this, certification for students under this program is guaranteed.