Topic: Cyberbullying in the Sierra Leone online community
Where? London, UK
Date: Thursday 14th April 2016
Time: 10am to 11am - I had planned to have the training in the afternoon but changed the time after most participants agreed it would be good to have it in the morning due to work schedules.
Trainer: I was the trainer but I also tapped on the experience of participants who were not only older than me but with wealth of experience in their different fields that made the whole exercise very fulfilling.
Participants: I had anticipated having eight participants, four to be physically present and four virtually.
I intended to blend virtual and physical to test outcomes and to learn best practice. However, two of the participants that were to be physically present called later to cancel. One called to say she had been given an afternoon shift while the other said she had to attend a school function with her child. One of the participants that was expected to connect online from Sierra Leone could not do so due to internet connection problem in Kono, eastern Sierra Leone where he was on work assignment.
Three people participated virtually; two from Manchester and one from Sierra Leone.
Among the two that were physically present, one is a nurse and the other a psychotherapist and church counsellor.
Among the three that participated virtually, one is a social worker, one is a nurse and the last one is a bank manager.
Age of participants: Participants to the training were aged between 36 and 45. It was not a deliberate attempt to choose participants from within this age bracket. Yet, this helped a lot in the discussion as they brought in knowledge and experience that made my work easier.
Gender: I intended to have more women in the training as cyberbullying among Sierra Leoneans is mainly women-centred; both as perpetrators and victims. There were three female and two male participants.
Nationalities of participants: Even though the focus of the topic was Sierra Leone online community, I managed to get a Nigerian participant and this helped us broaden the scope of the debate, share commonalities and differences which I believe could be helpful in any future workshop on cyberbullying.
Training Strategy: The training was delivered from my laptop as I had planned. Together we decided on the rules for the training. Considering that some participants were online, it was necessary for the presentation to be separated into two parts, first a 15 minutes presentation on cyberbullying, questions, suggestions and relevant discussions followed and then the second part of the presentation was on using digital media for social change, followed by questions, suggestions and discussions.
Training Outcomes: While participants were aware that cyberbullying exists, most did not understand it in the context of intimate partner.
Awareness was raised on the different forms of cyberbullying
Participants acquired new knowledge on how to seek redress on cyber bullying
There was a unanimous commitmentto stop aiding cyberbullying in online groups by using one of the different suggested ways discussed.
Participants learned about the various ways they could use the internet to impact positive change to society.
While most have heard about blogging, some did not know how it works. Hence the training was an eye opener to blogging for some participants.
Experience: It was my first time to do such training. i was a bit nervous at the beginning but as the training proceeded, I regained my confidence and i was able to deliver to the admiration of participants.
I felt great sharing my knowledge of cyberbullying with fellow women and to the men I refer to as HeforShes. Female participants were happy that men were in attendance. It was really good because of cultural considerations. In our culture and community, Men are intrinsic in changing the way women think about themselves. For us to have men in our midst was a great success for the training.
Challenges: I struggled a bit with trying to get the involvement of participants online and offline while delivering the presentation. I wanted to stand but I thought if I did It would be against my online participants. Therefore I sat most of the time of the training.
The WhatsApp call line to Sierra Leone kept going off and whenever a call came through the participant on the WhatsApp call was disconnected. Yet, after any call, I had to do a summary of what he missed out on during the call break. It was quite challenging but I wanted to test this out in order to learn best practice.
Overcoming Challenges: In the future, I intend to use a different digital platform which will not be through a mobile phone to prevent call breaks and to maintain schedule.
What worked well? I think the interraction between participants was great. Particpants exchanged ideas, brought in their experiences and suggestions came from different angles on how to face and deal with cyberbullying. I also enjoyed the humor through which some experiences were shared. It was quite exhilarating and at the same time informative and educative. I hope to take this with me and in any future training I will ensure to make it quite interractive.
Testimonies: Isata : 'the training was very useful. In just an hour I learnt a lot about cyberbulling in our community which I didn't know exist'
Mercy : 'This was a great experience. I now know our communities share a lot in common. I will take the message to other women in my circle and see how we can help end this'
Sylvester: 'My knowledge of cyberbullying was mainly related to paedophilia but this training has taught me more. It is a great experience though. We need more of this training'