"Rally the movement, keep widows alive" Campaign

Elvire
Posted April 21, 2016 from Cameroon

What issue are you are trying to address ?

During the crucial period of making decisions about their and their children’s future, widows are silenced and isolated on account of customs and traditions, which I consider a violation of fundamental human rights and which I seek to reverse through an awareness raising and a digital skills development campaign.

What are your main goal(s) for your campaign and what impact are you looking for?

The campaign will achieve the following:

  • Raising awareness on the impact of shutting women/widows’ voice in the discussions about their future and harnessing solutions to the plight.
  • Encouraging masses and leaders to support the liberation of women / widows’ voices even in challenging times Facilitating the emergence of girls as digital skills development facilitators, starting with the widow in their families and the women in their communities.
  • Digitally empowering women / widows, as primary beneficiaries and agents forchange, so they can join the digital world, lead their development, and give their children a opportunity-focused and fear-free future (free of the devastating stigma of losing a parent at a tender age).

The desired impact is a global community where more equity and justice towards women are observed, where every barrier to women’s voice, including during their time of deep sorrow and loss, is removed, where young girls have a practical access to ICT skills and are digital skills development facilitators.

What audience(s) are you trying to reach and what action(s) do you want them to take?

There are three groups of people earmarked in this campaign:

1-social network users: they will be invited to like a page designed for the campaign AND/OR post a story describing situations widows have unexpectedly found themselves in because, due to tradition, they were unable to participate in social life.

2-Mobile phones users, from the Central Africa countries: they will receive a text message which invites them to reflect on the impact of widows’ isolation on a family’s wellbeing and to consider possible alternatives.

3- Female college students: we will invite them to take digital skills development trainings, after which they will be asked to share their skills with widows.

7. Where is your digital campaign happening.

1- World pulse and Facebook

2- Mobile telephone messaging service

3-Offline activities with college girls

Comments 7

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Stephanie Auxier
Apr 21, 2016
Apr 21, 2016

Hi Elvire,

Thanks for posting this portion of your digital action campaign. It is great to see what you are planning, and sounds like it will be very impactful. Are there laws in place right now that are discriminatory towards widows that you will be trying to change, or does the discrimination come from cultural practices (or both)? I love that you are going to also be talking about solutions while you raise awareness, and am curious about how you might facilitate conversations about solutions (online, in person, with groups of widows or including other community leaders, for example), or who your other stakeholders might be. Engaging female college students to teach digital skills to widows is a very creative idea - and could also bring awareness about the issues to another audience!

I'm looking forward to seeing your entire digital action campaign and learning more about what you are planning!

Best,

Stephanie 

ARREY- ECHI
Apr 23, 2016
Apr 23, 2016

The plight of the widow is something that needs awareness. I am glad to see you doing this and the way you plan going about is inspiring. It will be good to see how it moves on.

All the best

Elvire
Apr 24, 2016
Apr 24, 2016

Thanks Arrey!

The next two months are busy with end-of-school year exams and stuff. 

November - December is usually the period for funerals, family debates on such issues, so I am planning to have it underway in July, which is when people's minds are freed from acad/prof issues and they are turned towards family matters, in preparations for large family reunions of August. So hitting the iron when it is hot will help greatly. 

I count you and other World Pulse friends based in Cameroon as resource persons, I hope to tap into the rich that you all are. 

Thanks again,

Lisa Alfano
Apr 25, 2016
Apr 25, 2016

Hi Elvire,

Your digital action campaign is fantastic. I sense your campaign idea will turn into a project that can have wide-spread impact to not only the widows and their children but to other community members as well. 

I think raising awareness as one goal is a great way to promote the method of empowerment and need for acceptance, equality and self-sufficiency for widows, and women overall. How do you plan to raise this awareness? Will it be through your asking people to tell their stories ... through social media as an example? Do you see a way for widows themselves to take an active role in sharing their stories-- providing them with a safe environment to do so?

Your desired impact is wonderfully expressed. I believe they are goals that are much needed, yet will take a lot of steps to address before they can be reached. What steps, what plan of action do you have in mind to attain a global community where equity is afforded to women and girls and where barriers are removed? 

I sense your commitment and dedication to the cause of equity, empowerment, and removing barriers so widows can attain self-sufficiency while erasing stigma that societal norms puts upon them. I wish you much sucess and look forward to reading more about this excellent campaign. 

In gratitude,

Lisa

Elvire
Apr 26, 2016
Apr 26, 2016

Thanks very much Lisa! 

It aches my heart to see the underprinvidged and vulnerable being taken advantage of. 

Telling a story is part of the plan, suggesting alternatives to current practices is also part of the plan. In addition, I envision that widows will start raising their voice at some point, but their healing, regaining self-esteem and training need to happen first, so that the experience is an uplifting one, which paves the way to greater confidence. 

Just as the ocean starts with a drop of water, I feel the urge to do this, to add my little piece to what is being done, so that together, we will reach that desired world we are dreaming of. Hopefully, this campaign will create a ripple effect, beyond what we are presently thinking. 

I go with the thought that what is strongly wished for is worth waiting for. 

Again, thanks very much! 

Sally maforchi Mboumien
Apr 26, 2016
Apr 26, 2016

great way of taking this conversation to another level. i feel you will create a lot of awareness following your target population. i was wondering what plans you have to address the issue of power failure and no internet connection rampant in Cameroon? digital skill empowerment depends largely on this which implies a possible set back in this awareness campaign in most of our rural area where widows are still being marginalised.

Elvire
Apr 26, 2016
Apr 26, 2016

Thanks very much Masalien’s.

Good point on power and connection challenges. I thought lengthily about it, that is why the radio programme was finally preferred,  for broader access. Everything could not be mentioned here, unfortunately.

In fact, that is why the online action targets the global community worldwide, while local actions include radio programmes and skills development. Radio programmes are well listened to, using electric power, batteries and solar systems, we have experienced that across the national triangle and picking programmes with high audiences, those people are already strongly attached to is part of the strategy. It is interesting that most rural people like the radio more than other channels and we are building on that.

About the skills development  approach, current internet connection offers (please allow me not call companies’ names here) do not go everywhere yet, but they do work where telephone networks are available, which currently gets to surprisingly remote areas (cf la carte géographique numérique du Cameroun"). We have a set of laptops and mobile connection devices that will help during trainings. Because of the relative newness of the idea, it will be combined with the traditional method of using handouts, especially at the beginning.

As I look at it, our  biggest point is the college girls’ enthusiasm with and commitment to the campaign. With that secured, I think the rest will be manageable.

Again, thanks for this great comment and please where in Cameroon are you? Will you be willing to be a part of this?

Best,

Elvire