"Fear of Technology - Be Gone!"
For over a decade and a half, I have carried this question in my mind;
"How can my skills in technology help my community?"
With 9 years of experience as a High School Geology Teacher and over 10 years as a Digital Literacy coach, a Microsoft Office Specialist Master (MOSM) in Microsoft Office 2013, a Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) of the Microsoft in Education community, and member of the YALI (Young African Leaders Initiative) Network, my community impact was almost limited to my school and the students I taught until I was introduced to Social Entrepreneurship by my Mentor early in 2016.
Though I am used to volunteering, my first major impact as a Social Entrepreneur was in June 2016 when I was chosen as one of the three Lead Trainers in the Digital Skills Empowerment and Certification of over 150 Educators in Bamenda. This was during a project under the "21 Days of Yello Care Program for Educators" organized by MTN Cameroon in collaboration with Microsoft.
Since then my interest in community empowerment has steadily grown and it is thanks to my quest for community empowerment through Digital Literacy that I met Sophie Ngassa on 16/04/2018 (Two Years Ago) - more on our exploits in my next post. But I must mention here that she introduced me to several community empowerment opportunities including this wonderful World Pulse community.
From January 2018, I embarked on some serious online research on Women Entrepreneurship and how I could find a common ground with them through my work. Fortunately, being a member of the YALI Network which has a huge library of free online courses for its members, I took a course on "Understanding the Rights of Women and Girls " which solved my worry and I immediately set to work!
On March 1 this year, I received a mail, asking me to make a pledge to Support Women Entrepreneurs in my community. Among the options was an opportunity to train Women Entrepreneurs. Being already engaged in Entrepreneurship Training and Mentorship, I pledged to support the women in my community through Training.
The event which was held under the theme; "PAVING THE WAY FOR WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS IN BAMENDA" was aimed at the following;
- Discussion on the need to support women entrepreneurs and women in the workforce.
- Discuss Strategies to resolve challenges Women Entrepreneurs face
- Form a Business or Entrepreneurship Support Network for Women.
We had an educative video from E. Diane White who is an author and nonprofit executive with expertise in economic development, sustainable investing and gender equality.
This is the link to the video:
Through the hosting of this event I understood that Female Entrepreneurs in my community face some major challenges when trying to start or run a business including:
- Not being taken seriously
- Not engaging in self-promotion or “tooting their own horn,”
- Seeking too much approval or being a people pleaser, and
- Fear of technology.
Thanks to the invaluable support of women in my community, especially Ma Sophie Ngassa, I recorded an attendance of 43 participants (which was more than the 30 I had initially expected!)
We are now in the process of building a strong support network for women Entrepreneurs in Bamenda with the mission to help the Female Entrepreneurs to overcome these obstacles.
The video of the event is available on YouTube here.
The most important thing I got from hosting this event was that I discovered the I can play a major role in helping Women Entrepreneurs in my community by helping them to fight their "fear of technology" through Digital Literacy Training, Mentorship and Technical Support.
Online tools can really create life changing connections and open doors to unlimited resources and opportunities when used for good.