The Internet: A world of possibilities

Godess Bvukutwa
Posted July 14, 2014 from Zimbabwe

I do not know where to start when it comes to the doors the internet has opened for me as a women's rights activist in my country Zimbabwe but one amazing experience immediately shoots up in my mind. My Community Solutions Fellowship in the United States for four months under the women and gender thematic area. I found out about this amazing fellowship which is funded by the United States Department of State through a Zimbabwean online newsletter which I am subscribed to, Kubatana.net. The whole application process was online, and I would go to one of the few internet cafes that were in the small town I worked in then, Chinhoyi because at my work place we didn't have internet then. I will always remember the day I had to submit the application, because the internet was down in all the internet cafes in Chinhoyi that day and it was the day before the deadline. The next day, I was travelling deep into some remote areas for field work and so I had to submit it that very evening after work and yet I walked up and down the whole town trying out the internet cafes. Finally, a man who owned one of the internet cafes loaned me his modem since the wireless was down and that was when I managed to submit the application, around 8 pm at night. Phew! Good news I got this fellowship in the end.

Under this fellowship, one of the things we had to do was to create e-portfolios of our projects, showing how we were going to implement our follow on projects. We learnt how to do this through videos on Youtube and created the e-portfolios of out projects and we voted for the best projects, and the 12 best projects were presented in Washington DC at our End of Program Conference. Mine was one of the 4 projects chosen under the women and gender thematic area, and I presented my pitch and created a Prezi presentation (I also had to learn how to do this on the Internet). Well, I presented my pitch, with the assistance from my supervisor, from the Women's Initiative for Self Empowerment, the organization I had been working with in Minnesota during my fellowship and my project was voted the best under the women and gender issues thematic area. You can find my e-portfolio here, http://www.irexcli-12.com/user/view.php?id=107 E-portfolios allowed a lot of people to get to know more about our work, who we were, and what we are doing in our countries

However, the internet is still quite inaccessible to a lot of women. It is easy to tell this just by counting the number of women and men in any given time in an internet cafe, and always the number of women will be outnumbered by that of men. The young women I work with, do not even know much about the Internet and even about how popular social media sites like Facebook work. Through the internet I found amazing opportunities and I managed to pitch my project in front of hundreds of people in Washington DC.

WWW: Women Weave the Web

Comments 13

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Mary S
Jul 22, 2014
Jul 22, 2014

Hello!

Thank you for sharing your story. That fellowship was an amazing opportunity, and I can see that you learnt a lot from it and were able to share your project with many people. Good luck with continuing your project! Are you hoping to teach some of the young women you work with how to use the internet?

Mary

Godess Bvukutwa
Jul 22, 2014
Jul 22, 2014

Thank you Mary. Yes it was an amazing opportunity. Well in many places in Zimbabwe, you still cannot access the internet, except talking to them about it there's nothing much I can do at the moment. I am hoping to teach them at least how to use computers etc

Thanks Mary once again.

Sincerely,

Godess

Mary S
Jul 24, 2014
Jul 24, 2014

Someday there will be easy access to the internet everywhere! If you are able to teach them the basics of using a computer, at least they will know things like how to use keyboard, mouse etc when they do finally get the chance to get online, And, depending on where they are, even basic computer skills can be useful when looking for a job.

Mary

Godess Bvukutwa
Jul 25, 2014
Jul 25, 2014

True that Mary. Basic computer skills will never be in vain.

Godess

Godess Bvukutwa
Jul 22, 2014
Jul 22, 2014

Thank You Mary. Yes the fellowship was really an amazing opportunity! Unfortunately, there are still so many places where you cant access the internet in Zimbabwe and so besides talking to them about the internet there's nothing much I can do at the moment. I am hoping to be able to teach them how to use computers at least.

Sincerely,

Godess

Kadidia Doumbia
Jul 24, 2014
Jul 24, 2014

Godess,

Thank you for your testimony. It has always be proven that tenacity will lead to success. You are right, we still have the challenge of getting more women interested in technology. The difficult access and the price might be a challenge, nevertheless, we are at a stage where the female community cannot afford not to use it. It is our main venue to have our voices heard.

Godess Bvukutwa
Jul 25, 2014
Jul 25, 2014

hi Kadidia. Thank you for your comment. You rightly put it when you said '...the female community cannot afford not to use it...' However access is a huge challenge still.

Godess

Kadidia Doumbia
Jul 25, 2014
Jul 25, 2014

Godess,

Access will stay a challenge for a while. Nevertheless, if women can understand the power they may have by using technology, many more will try to access it. it is not how often they use it but how hard they try to access it. Speaking up once a month for some women may be as effective as being on the net everyday for other women depending on the geographical location.

Godess Bvukutwa
Jul 28, 2014
Jul 28, 2014

True that! Thanks Kadidia

Cali gal Michelle
Jul 30, 2014
Jul 30, 2014

Godess-

This looks like an ambitious and exciting program, and I know you have put a lot of work into it and into your portfolio. Starting the training at an early age is so beneficial, and the mentoring piece is a wise choice. I am sure many will reap good things from your hard work.

Thank you for sharing this with us, and we look forward to hearing updates on the project!

Godess Bvukutwa
Jul 31, 2014
Jul 31, 2014

Hey Thanks CaliGal Michelle.I will indeed update everyone with the progress we will be making!

Godess @GodessRumbi

Pushpa Achanta
Aug 01, 2014
Aug 01, 2014

Dear sister,

Thanks for your story of perseverance. I believe the Internet includes and excludes women. Continue the great work.

Warmly, Pushpa

Godess Bvukutwa
Aug 02, 2014
Aug 02, 2014

Thank you Pushpa!

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