DigitAll: How mobile phone has transformed our lives

Jane Wanjiru, shows off her feature phone outside her shop in Nakuru County on March 2. The phone, she says, has improved the running of her business.

Photo credit: Photo I Pool

What you need to know:

  • The world has gone mobile and people of different ages cannot help but adopt the technology.
  • The mobile phone is now part and parcel of our lives; this technology is probably going to be with us for a long time.

The mobile phone is now part and parcel of our lives. This technology is probably going to be with us for a long time. They serve both personal and business demands. Our lives have changed dramatically with this invention. Four women tell us how.

Jane Wanjiru, 79, is a shop owner in Nyonjoro village, Nakuru County

She admits that her mobile phone aside from making her life easier, has enabled her to run her shop more conveniently.

“I bought my first mobile phone around 2010. Since then, my life has changed for the better. Just today, my stock of bread ran out and I only needed to make a call to alert my supplier to make a delivery tomorrow. Had it been in the olden days, I would have been forced to walk to the depot, which would have been time consuming and tiring.

“Additionally, whenever I go to the market, where I get most of the cereals, I am not tied down. If I need to pass elsewhere, I just call my trusted boda boda operator and he delivers the items while I run other errands. I pay both the operator and the cereal sellers using mobile money, which to me is also convenient.

“In the event that I am short of money, especially now that there is inflation, I can easily ask my children to send me some money to top up. And I love that I can receive money directly from my chama whenever I need a loan to inject into my business.

“There was also a time when I needed a solar device for lighting my shop when I didn't have electricity and I was able to purchase on higher purchase while making the payments through my phone.”

Ann Njeri, a businesswoman in Thika town, Kiambu County

She is grateful for her achievements, thanks to her smartphone. Njeri tells Nation.Africa that she markets her products online, which has helped to increase her clientele base, thereby driving up sales.

“I sell my products online through Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. More than 70 per cent of my clients are as a result of my online marketing,” says Ms Njeri, who sells honey.

Susan Aiyanayi, 27, a small business owner in Kakuma

“The first time I used a mobile phone was three years ago. You see, I grew up in Kalobeyi, a small village in Kakuma, and there was no reason for a young girl like me to own a phone.

“Being the only girl in a family of five, I was also not fortunate to go to school. My parents wanted me to get married to a good man who would pay a lot of reverse dowry for me. This never bothered me until I met my husband in 2020.

“He is a charcoal seller in Kakuma and once we got married, he convinced me to start a business. I was a bit worried because I cannot read or write but he said he would help me. He bought me my first mobile phone for Sh1,500. I did not know how to use it, so he taught me. Afterwards, he invested Sh10,000 on my first clothes' business that we sourced from Eastleigh in Nairobi.

“Today, I can comfortably communicate with my supplier in Eastleigh, Nairobi, through my phone. Since I cannot open a bank account, I use mobile banking to save my day’s income.

“At the end of each day, my husband helps me count money from my shop and deposits it in the nearest M-Pesa agent shop. I make about Sh1,500 on a good day and Sh30,000 in a good month.

“I am so proud of myself because not many women from my Turkana community even own shops. I have a son who is barely one year old that I can provide for and send food and money to my parents back in Kalobeyi.

“In future, I would like to join a chama where we can save money on our phones and grow our businesses. I only have a small shop at the moment, but I am now so informed and know I can do better.”

Christine Odhiambo, a primary school teacher in Kiambu County

She says technology has been instrumental in making her connect with friends, get trendy fashions and designs and shop online.

“As a mother, I am now able to use my phone to monitor what my children are doing at home through CCTV. Since the Covid-19 pandemic period, I have attended many of my meetings online, which has helped to save on time and money,” says Ms Odhiambo.