It was a great delight when I received a mail invitation to signify interest as a facilitator on the Women Web Alliance programme. It has turned out to be a great learning journey not only for me but also for all the wonderful women who have participated at the different meetings which held. Personally I always love facilitating discussion session with women and this has turned out to be one meeting I enjoyed thoroughly. It had very impactful and engaging sessions where the discussion models allowed for free flow of information and exchange of ideas.
A few challenges were identified as reasons why the numbers of women online as well as those taking advantages of the opportunities available remain low. Global statistics reveal that percentage of persons using online platforms have increased over the years especially recently, however there is still exists huge gaps in the number of women benefiting from them especially in developing and under developed countries where internet accessibility is still a growing trend. A common reason conscientiously agreed upon was the woman’s economic power in terms of her financial capacity to purchase data.
Like in Nigeria, the rates charged for data purchase by organizations providing internet service still remain high. This limits a lot of women especially those with low income earning capacity from using the internet use because it is regarded to expensive to sustain. In a country where people still live below a dollar a day and where the income earning capacity for many women still remains low, being able to purchase data for use remains a challenge for most women in Nigeria. This was identified as a reason why lesser number of women are using available online networks. The country’s recent harsh economic reality which has stifled earnings of most citizens according to some of the women does not encourage continuous purchase of data which they regard as luxury.
Another concern was that of the majority of women available online most of them spend their time mostly on social media sites. Greater numbers of the women are not aware of the huge opportunities available online which also are not being tapped neither being exploited. In the view of available online benefits and how they can be take advantage of them. From our discussions not having awareness of these opportunities and benefits remains a key reason why many women are not accessing these opportunities to their advantage.
Again also most women do not have the basic skills and knowledge of how to seek out and benefit from opportunities that are most beneficial for them. During discussions a few complained of not knowing how to access opportunities online or where to navigate to when seeking for such. More concerns were also drawn up on cyber bullying and how safe it is to be online.
It was very interesting for them to learn about the Airtel free basics platform that gives women access to online features without data requirement for surfing. Navigating the internet together with the women the excitement could be literally felt while we were doing the practicals at both sessions. It was delightful for them to know that the challenge of resources for data purchase has been addressed. I saw that while a lot of women loved to be online data purchases was a major deterrent for them. This was one very unique feature in the sessions for me because it allows women have access to information without costing them resources they do not have.
Sharing about the World Pulse platform was also another interesting feature for me. Speaking about my online story and encouraging them to read through inspiring stories of some few women change makers on World Pulse had great impacts on the women. It was very inspiring for most of them to know that other women are leading the way, sharing their voice and causing great change on the platform. I even got a few who instantly were already reeling out names of women they believe need to be on the platform. It was an eye opening session for most of them, who were delighted to know that their own voices could also be heard on a global scale.
In addition guiding other women to join this amazing World Pulse community platform was another pleasing feeling feature of this experience. This Women Web Alliance facilitation opportunity is one I hope to treasure for long. Also I look forward to how much impact these women would add to this platform through their engagements here as they join to amplify the global voice of women.
In all this experience has been truly worth it, every step of the way has been inspiring, impactful and informing. Thank you World Pulse for the opportunity to guide women onwards their Online Journey.