ICT Paved My Way

Evelyn Fonkem
Posted April 24, 2019 from Cameroon
Selected AFRINIC FELLOWS
Selected AFRINIC FELLOWS (1/1)

It was a bright afternoon precisely on the 18th of February 2018.I was browsing through my phone and came across this call for fellowship program by AFRINIC ( African Network Information Centre) calling on Africans to apply for the fellowship program and get the chance to represent their countries and participate in the in the African Internet Summit in Dakar, Senegal.I was curious about this opportunity and went ahead to look at the eligibility criteria which was that the fellowship is reserved for individuals who are actively involved in Internet operations and development or ICT policies in their countries.I ran and showed my friend this opportunity and encouraged her that we should apply.After going through the criteria, she laughed and said ''Forget about this opportunity. Look for other opportunities. ICT is a male dominated world and you can never be selected to attend this program because you are a girl''.I said to myself, she is right. I shouldn't waist my time applying for this. The whole night I couldn't sleep. I kept on thinking on how I have encouraged girls to use online platforms like World Pulse to share their stories and linked them to other digital opportunities. I thought about my work as a Gender Activist creating more than 8 clubs in Secondary schools to encourage girls get involve in STEM(Science,Technology,Engineering and Mathematics) field. I also thought about how I had trained women and girls with disabilities to use E-commerce to sell their goods online. I remembered my work as an online volunteer impacting the lives of young women globally. I got up from bed and decided to apply.

After some few weeks, I got a mail that read '' Congratulations,You have been selected to attend the Internet Summit in Senegal''. I was overjoyed and shared the story to my relatives and friends. They were all surprised and celebrated with me.After some weeks, I travelled to Senegal without paying a dime as all my expenses were borne  by AFRINIC.During the Summit, I had the opportunity to meet face to face and interact with high level seasoned internet professionals from all over the globe. I also took part and gave contributions to the development of the internet policies. Upon arrival home, many young women and men started contacting me to teach them on how to use digital tools. I have organized events to train them on how to subscribe to different internet registries and make contributions to the development of the internet policies. Thanks to ICT,I am now a role model in my community, many young women and men started looking up to me as an ICT ambassador. I am not just a user of the internet but I give stringent contributions to the development of the internet policies and my voice is heard.

We  must bridge the digital gap by  challenging the stereotypes that stop girls from using and creating technology - and pursuing their dream careers.For young girls,ICT can be leveraged for better access to education and jobs,financial inclusion and acess to basic health information.

This story was submitted in response to Girls in ICT Day.

Comments 9

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Dawn Arteaga
Apr 24
Apr 24

Wow Evelyn, I am so grateful you listened to your instincts and applied - soooo many girls are benefiting from your knowledge and generosity now! World Pulse is so lucky to have you as an Ambassador! Well done!

Evelyn Fonkem
Apr 24
Apr 24

Thank you Dawn for your kind words.

Jill Langhus
Apr 25
Apr 25

Hi Evelyn,

Thanks for sharing your inspiring story. I'm so glad your story had a happy ending. I was getting nervous where it was going, but kudos to you for not diminishing the voice inside telling you to pursue your dreams. This voice will never fail you. You are a great role model to many, and probably more than you realize. Great job!

Evelyn Fonkem
Apr 25
Apr 25

Thank you jlanghus for your words of encouragement .Thank you dear sister

Jill Langhus
Apr 25
Apr 25

You're welcome, dear:-) Hope you're having a good, safe day!

ARREY- ECHI
Apr 25
Apr 25

Dear Evelyn,
Very well done. I am happy you listened to your instincts and applied... it is easier for us to let society and its perceptions stumble us as women. It takes the courageous to follow their hearts and dare to be different. I wonder what your friend said when you got selected?

Congratulations for all you do and keep on impacting.

Lisbeth
May 04
May 04

ICT "Gurus" that ooo haha. Its amazing to see girls flourished in ICT. It makes the glide :-).

Hello, Evelyn,

Wow! I’m so happy that you participated on this fellowship! Congratulations! You deserve this opportunity and may more doors open for you.

Feka
May 12
May 12

Our instincts rarely tell us a lie. Thank God you listened, followed it and it worked.