I hosted a digital empowerment training for young women in my community. I had four (4) participants in attendance, between the ages of 24 and 34 years old. Interestingly, my participants were all journalists and were excited about the opportunity to learn about how to use the internet to advance global social change. The goal of my training was to empower young women to use their knowledge of digital tools and resources to contribute to global social change. I used the World Pulse Digital Empowerment Trainers' Toolkit to facilitate the training so I introduced my participants to World Pulse and also shared a bit about my local organization, Girls Voices Initiative. My participants feedback survey reflected positive feedback about the information shared at the training, the facilitation and delivery of the training as well as the next action steps the participants were inspired to take following the learning from the training.
On the whole, I had a great experience facilitating this digital empowerment training and I am inspired to host another training with a larger audience of young women. And my future plan is to adapt a similar training for girls.
Tell us about at least one thing you learned about teaching from this experience. How was it to share this activity with other women?
Planning and facilitating this workshop was a huge learning experience for me. I always had the opinion that a training had to be such a formal activity that had to hold in a classic venue, engage a large audience and feature 2-3 facilitators at the minimum. So, it was humbling to learn that I could host a training in my home. And this is a learning experience from the VOF training program that inspired me to identify resources I had but did not realize it. I was able to re-purpose my home which I find is able to host a training for up to 10-25 people. I was able to transform my living room into a boardroom-style arena and conveniently hosted my participants for the digital empowerment training.
I had expected to train 7 participants, but 3 ladies sent in apologies at the last minute and I ended up training 4 participants who were still engaging and exciting to work with. It was a learning experience for me to work with such a small group but I found it a much easier group to work with and it is a lot easier to monitor the progress of each of the participants. I have scheduled a follow-up meeting to walk them through creating the profiles on World Pulse and they have also committed their interest to volunteer with my local organization, which present us with increased sources of inspiration for our girls.
My past experience facilitating trainings has been within in a group of 2-3, each taking turns to facilitate different sessions. So, I was extremely anxious to be solely facilitating this digital empowerment training. And I was surprised to find that I was able to run the entire training session. In fact, I was concerned that the time was limited to exhaust all I wanted to share with the ladies. I was so passionate and fired up with so much information to share with the participants.
Prior to the training, I was also worried about diversity of voices, other than my own, and I tried to explore opportunities to motivate my participants to contribute their thoughts. In an introduction exercise, I encouraged everyone to introduce themselves and share why they were at the training. So each participant verbally shared:
My name is....
I am here today to ...
Again, I encouraged participants to share their thoughts after watching the World Pulse video and it was great to have the participants excited to share their understanding too. We also worked through the definition of digital empowerment together so the participants could see their contributions to their understanding of the concept. And at the end of the training, we had individual video interviews to share participants voices and we made a highlight video to amplify the diversity of voices we had at the training.
All of these engagements encouraged diversity of voices in the room and encouraged full participation throughout the training.
What worked well?
Using the World Pulse Digital Empowerment Trainers' Toolkit certainly worked well for me. The toolkit already provided the manual that I cleverly presented to the participants over my television screen.
The Toolkit also provided helpful notes that provided the best guide on how to lead the presentation. And the suggested activities helped to make the training engaging. I was able to screen the World Pulse video on my television and I also projected the slide presentations on my television so that all the participants could experience the visuals along with the discussions.
All the supplemental materials provided in the toolkit also supported me in delivering an engaging training that featured various exercises and encouraged participation and information sharing.
What was more difficult? How could the difficulties be addressed the next time you train others?
The only difficulty I experienced was in the area of the time. I planned to deliver the 1hour training and had scheduled to complete the training in 1hour 30minutes incorporating the additional information about my local organization and volunteer opportunities available to work with girls. I had a bit of difficulty keeping to the time and this was because I had so much information to share and the participants were attentive and interested in the information they were receiving.
In my next digital empowerment training, I plan to use the 5hour training toolkit and my training agenda would schedule 8hours 30minutes (inclusive of a 30minutes tea break and a 1hour lunch break). This would allow for sufficient time for the presentation, the activities, and break-out sessions. And still allow for participants to return home before dark.