According to NationMedia.com, US software giant Microsoft and the Ministry of Youth in Kenya are working to establish "digital villages" in Kenya in an effort to provide free ICT training and internet connections to the young, thus enabling them to explore the opportunities available on the web. Microsoft has already presented an initial 30 computers to the Ministry, which has since given them over to district information officers in six provinces. At least 200 computers are needed for ths first stage of the Digital Villages project. Also needed is internet connectivity-- so telephone service providers are being lobbied to support the programme by giving free connection. In South Africa, the first comparable digital centre was established in Soweto in 2001, backed by Microsoft among other donors.
Says Louis Otieno (head of Microsoft's East and Southern Africa operations), the project's success will be tied to the effectiveness of local copyright protection, which needs to be in place if the youths are to reap the full benefits of their creativity:
"While developed countries have patents to protect technology, our laws need to be effected to guard against exploitation".