IGF 2023 WS #503 Bridging the Gender Digital Divide in Kenya via ecommerce


Digital Divides & Inclusion
Gender Digital Divide

Organizer 1: Dorcas Owinoh, Lakehub

Speaker 1: Dorcas Owinoh, Technical Community, African Group
Speaker 2: Susan Wanjiru, Intergovernmental Organization, African Group
Speaker 3: Magdaline Chepkemoi, Private Sector, African Group
Speaker 4: LILLIAN NJORO, Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization
Speaker 5: Purity Akoth Obwar, Private Sector, African Group


Susan Wanjiru, Intergovernmental Organization, African Group

Online Moderator

Purity Akoth Obwar, Private Sector, African Group


Purity Akoth Obwar, Private Sector, African Group


Panel - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

How can we ensure the implementation and sustainability of digital skills training programs for women with no formal education in informal trade?
What measures can be implemented to encourage greater participation of women in the digital space at the grassroots level?
How can public-private partnerships support the training and empowerment of women in informal trade through digital platforms?
How can policymakers and stakeholders collaborate to create an enabling environment for digital entrepreneurship among women in the informal sector?
What strategies can be implemented to address trust and credibility issues on digital platforms faced by women-owned businesses in the digital marketplace?

What will participants gain from attending this session? Throughout the event, we will delve into the Chichwa Ecommerce Platform, showcasing its remarkable impact on women entrepreneurs in Kisumu. By gaining a deeper understanding of this platform, participants will witness firsthand how it has transformed the lives of women in business, empowering them to thrive in the digital economy.

Participants will gain new knowledge and insights into effective approaches for bridging the digital divide and promoting women's economic empowerment through digital technologies.

Access to the training manual that can be used to train women with no formal education on how to leverage on digital skills for their business.

They will also gain a deeper understanding of the Chichwa E-commerce Platform and its impact on women entrepreneurs in Kisumu.

New digital skills and knowledge to effectively utilize the Chichwa e-commerce platform as a good case practice in other open-air markets in the global south countries.


Bridging the gender digital divide and providing women entrepreneurs with the necessary digital skills and tools presents an opportunity for promoting gender equality, economic empowerment, entrepreneurship, and inclusive growth. However, it is crucial to equip these women-led businesses with essential digital skills to maximize the benefits of platforms like Chichwa- An ecommerce platform for women traders in Kenya.
Women entrepreneurs face numerous barriers that impede their participation and success. To this end, the Digital Transformation Centre Kenya has funded Lakehub's development of immersive digital skills training programs tailored specifically to upskill female traders operating informally. To address these challenges, the Chichwa E-Commerce Platform in Kenya has emerged as a solution, empowering women entrepreneurs in the informal sector to showcase and sell their products and services online effectively. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the urgent need to address the gender digital divide, particularly for women-led enterprises operating within Kenya's informal sector.he he digital divide remains a significant challenge today, with a substantial portion of the global population being excluded from the benefits of the digital economy. Lack of networking opportunities, scarcity of suitable role models and mentors, insufficient business skills, cultural and social imperatives that discourage interactions with men, and the difficulty of balancing work and family obligations all contribute to their struggles. Institutional shortcomings, including a dearth of women decision-makers in customary courts, weak autonomy of these courts, and instances of corruption and favoritism, further exacerbate the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs. It is imperative to prioritize initiatives that address the barriers faced by women and create an enabling environment that fosters their success in the digital economy.

Expected Outcomes

Increased awareness and understanding of the importance of digital inclusion for women-owned businesses in the informal sector.
Policy recommendations for creating supportive frameworks and initiatives to promote informal entrepreneurship and economic empowerment.
Publication of session proceedings and recommendations to be shared with relevant stakeholders.
Exploration of partnerships and collaborations to replicate and scale up the Chichwa model in other contexts.
Integration of session outcomes into follow-up events and processes focused on empowering women in the informal sector through digital technologies.
Publication of training materials and best practices for wider dissemination and replication.
Potential for further collaborations and partnerships to expand the program's reach and impact.

Hybrid Format: The session will utilize a combination of in-person and virtual participation, ensuring remote attendees have equal opportunities to engage, contribute, and ask questions.

This will be achieved through live streaming, interactive online platforms for Q&A, and dedicated facilitators to ensure the inclusion of both in-person and virtual participants.