Gender, Mobile, and Mobile Internet| Mother, May I? Conceptualizing the Role of Personal Characteristics and the Influence of Intermediaries on Girls’ After-School Mobile Appropriation in Nairobi

Ronda Zelezny-Green


Education interventions for girls in the Global South often seek to expand their present and future life choices. Increasingly, this goal is pursued by enhancing preexisting mobile phone access. Girls’ personal characteristics, particularly their age and gender, and adult intermediaries influence their mobile appropriation—and the outcomes they can realize when using their phones for any reason. Drawing on data from research with community members of a girls’ secondary school in Nairobi, this article seeks to understand how girls’ mobile appropriation during after-school hours is shaped. Building on Kleine’s Choice Framework as a capability approach operationalization, a schema is proposed to conceptualize additional considerations needed when engaging girls in mobile for development work. The aim is to demonstrate how and why girls’ after-school mobile use was influenced by the convergence of intermediaries in their lives, age, and gender. The analysis presents implications for mobile for development interventions with girl children.


after school, age, capability approach, choice framework, gender, girls’ education, intermediaries, mobile for development, Nairobi, personal characteristics

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