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It was at a community event in Nakawa in May 2014 that it became pronounced that indeed grassroots women are inwardly burning to associate with and get onto the digital agenda. This was at a community project competition organized by the Kampala Capital City Authority. Project competition ideas covered various thematic areas, mostly the traditional type vis; agriculture, nutrition, crafts, health. Adding spice to the competition was the evidently different and bold project idea of computer and internet training for community women, presented by one of the community initiatives, Nakawa Blessed SACCO. The presenter of the latter project excited the audience by dramatizing the power effect of ‘clicking’ on the computer as a tool for socio-economic advancement. This presenter was immediately flooded by (the few) women from the audience who were proudly announcing their digital competencies and flashing their business cards with e-mail addresses and other web details such as skype accounts and websites. This reaction attracted another warming response of women clearly expressing interest in computer training. These developments further highlight the intent and desire for digital literacy and are a pointer to the urgency to provide this service.

Further to above, interactions at various grassroots women meetings reveal that older women who are also the least internet literate, are taking strides to use social media; face book, WhatsApp for quick communication; this comes by as a result of positive pressure from their children/the young generation. At least 4 mothers in the past few weeks have with pride narrated that their teenagers have initiated them into some form of social media. This should be scaled up and extended to more mothers/women to enhance social and business communication. The young, web compliant generation is slowly but surely taking the lead in transmitting all kinds of information. Among this vital information are announcements related to births and also death and the associated support. Unlike the web compliant youth, the older women and their circles continue to suffer the consequences of poor information flow. In one recent incident, over 15 members of a community group, Nakawa Blessed Community Based Organisation (CBO) were frustrated when their meeting was abruptly re-scheduled due to another important event, the launch of the Beijing Platform for Action +20. Information of the cancellation of the CBO meeting did not flow smoothly to the members; this would not be the case if the members were internet literate so as to use this fast, cost effective communication option. The re-scheduling resulted in a waste of the CBO members’ resources (time and transport money). Internet literacy ought to be pursued as this will cut communication costs for individuals and the organization in addition to a host of other benefits.

The Nakawa Blessed SACCO is utilizing the above experiences to galvanize support and consolidate its digital training project.

Take action! This post was submitted in response to WWW: Women Weave the Web .

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Comments

Hello Miria,

It was nice to read how internet integration is taking place in your community at a grass roots level and that members of the older generation are taking steps to be included in this transformation. It is amazing how forms of communication have changed in such a short period of time. Your story of having to reschedule a meeting is a good example. With the internet, one can send out an email or text and everyone is immediately notified of the change instead of having to call or track down everyone to let them know the meeting was rescheduled.

Kristina

Dear Miria--

It is so wonderful to hear about the inclusion of computer and internet training being included into the more traditional community project competitions. For people who have never been exposed to the internet, it is like magic to see how you can "click on" the computer and have access to a world of information. Brilliant idea!

The idea of having younger women initiate older women into the digital world is such a great one. It recognizes an important contribution the young women can make to their elders, and strengthens that intergenerational connection that can sometimes be challenging during the teenage years.

Thank you for the wonderful work you are doing to move digital literacy forward!

With gratitude and appreciation. Bheki

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