- Improved Women Capacity through Confidence Building
- Increased Women Voices and advocacy with digital tools
Women and Girls are the future of the World. Their potentials must be developed and harnessed fully for sustainable world where they have access to internet and technology. A world where women and girls can take their space without barriers or obstacles to actualize their goals, aspirations and ambitions. Women in Media must be encouraged to thrive through provision of financial facilities the assist them grow in Media and Technology.
A Digitalized woman is an Empowered woman. Technology is the breath of Fresh Air and freedom that every woman need. Knowledge that can empower them to be what they have dreamt to be but have not had the guts to follow it through. Dreams they thought is farfetched but can actually be achieved with a little push. That little push can be accomplished through sensitization, mentorship, training and capacity building topped with technology.
These trainings and capacity building is most effective for those that are ready to learn. I have found out through constant engagement that there are women and girls who do not have personal ambitions, drive and goals. They have accepted their status even when they are not comfortable being there because they do not believe in this new learning for women and do not intend to lift a hand to assist themselves.
I learnt about the Corona 19 on the television before the social media took over dishing out all sorts – fake and correct information and we have continued community engagement through social media when we could not do physical engagement. I have used this period to learn so many digital skills – flyer design with my mobile phone, word & video animations, online courses and participate in online meetings. This pandemic time has been a very trying time for everybody but we must utilize it for good. The new normal has become technology since physical meetings has been put on hold; so women and girls must be equipped to face the new normal.
My first high point was in 1996 when I got my first job as a secretary because I had the knowledge of the use of computer. It was an exhilarating experience. I may not have been most qualified for that position but the advantage of computer knowledge was all I needed and the job was mine. When I was into formal private sector, newly employed female secretaries were sent to me for refresher course which was another high point in my life.
With continuous engagement and interactions with women and girls, I have realized that there are no mentorship programs for women and girls at the grassroot. We have successful women and girls who come in once in a while into their gatherings like the women meetings – Annual General Meetings and youth meetings but have not given a thought of assisting these women and girls to be better than what they are now. Establishing mentorship program at the grassroot will surely assist women and girls. It is not about coming to sensitize them but to create a continuous learning program for them and follow their development and growth step by step and guide them through especially on the digital learning and knowledge. I started this program since 2010. I have made some progress but not much. To get a better outcome we have decided with my team to sectionalize them into small support groups along a particular interest and mentor them. We have also established Girls support group since 2017 and we have been working with them since them.
We have introduced Digital Education to go with it. Digital Education for women has become a calling infused into my programs to drive women capacity & empowerment. I have held so many digital educations with rural and urban women on the functions of their phones, for their petty business enhancement. The intensive digital training started at the WP launch of Weave the Web in 2014. I leveraged on my community women residing in Port Harcourt meeting day to organize a short but powerful training tagged Women know your Web. Most of them did not have an android phone so we took through the functions of the different apps on their mobile phones. It turned out to be a new insight for them and for me as I understood that most women have never seen a laptop and do not understand any other app on their phone except to make calls with the help of others around them as well as pick their calls whenever the phones rang for those without formal education. I went with my laptop and thought them what internet modem is, laptop and how it works. I opened WP site and showed them of my posts and other posts, they were intrigued how I was moving from one post to the other. They were interested and wanted to learn. That was their introduction to world on internet and technology. Those that have the capacity to learn have learnt and are now using android phones and can operate their laptops and search through goggles for whatever information they want. Some are still not there because they are petty traders and cannot avoid android phones. We have extended this training to women in our local community.
I have spoken on different forum on women and technology as well as coached ordinary women and girls I meet in my line of work on the use of Ipads or phones to capture images because I realized in so many outings, that I had to seek the assistance of people I meet for photos. This knowledge and skill was gained from one week photography & video training by one of our funders.
As a president of my traditional, religious & social women forum in Port Harcourt and in my rural community, I introduced the use of sms for information dissemination to members, created directory of all members and shared for easy reach as well as how to save contacts on their phones. Notice of meetings through SMS was added to the physical notice of meeting which has to be written in advance and dispatched to members’ community homes awaiting delivery anytime they arrive or through someone; WhatsApp group was also added and continued with sms for those without WhatsApp enabled phones and enlightenment on the use of WhatsApp to reach many contacts in their businesses and reporting of GBVs through the Partners for Peace in the Niger Delta Early Warning Early Response Mechanism(EWER).
Digital engagement with rural women in my community continues, though most of them still do not have android phones so I and my team came up with pairing them with young girls with android phones whenever we engage them on digital education, we also agreed to use our laptops for demonstrations for easy understanding of the internet.
We plan to reach at least 1000 women and girls in my rural locality and another 1000 women and girls in other localities and of course they will be indirect beneficiaries of 5000.
We need a room with at least 2 computers for women use to learn more in my rural community whenever they are free so they get conversant with the use of computer and can tell their stories. We will need logistics to reach other cluster communities.
For me I want us to raise our voice that telephone manufacturers should add internet access into small phones that may not be fully android automated to enable poor women and girls to have access to internet. Some girls and women have done unthinkable things to become android phone owners. Stealing, buying stolen phones, sleeping with men they feel can give them money to buy android phones. If manufactures can build little phones that can access internet, it will really go a long way to bridge the inequality and poverty that comes with internet access.
I also want to add my voice that internet should be made safe and safer for women and girls by having stiffer penalties on the perpetrators of online harassment and hackers of peoples account on social media and internet mailing system.