The internet in my Region

Posted July 1, 2011 from Kenya

I have use the internet only countable times. I have used it six times only, but the difference it has made in my life is big.

I am a student. We don't have a computer in our school. We are less privileged than students in some schools in the urban areas, where they have have computers and they are able to access the internet and connect with the world.

The internet has advantages. I am surprised by the speed. I used to write letters to my friend and also sponsor through the post office. We could write to each other a maximum of 3 letters every year. We thought that was normal. Now we know that it was not normal, because we can write several emails back and forth every day once we have the advantage of getting a computer.

Access to the internet is not easy. I have only asked for permission to use my guardian's computer. The cyber cafe is too far and also expensive. This is the reason why many girls are not able to use the internet.

Also in my rural community some people have never understood the internet, and they think it is only supposed to be used by girls who are bad and spoiled. Many people think otherwise once they are able to witness what other people have gained from the internet. Some people from my village have got letters of scholarship by email.

We girls are not privileged enough to get the maximum gains from the internet. We miss information and knowledge. We also miss expertise. My sisters and brothers have never used a computer, even my parents have never touched it. Majority of the people in my community will remain backwards if a way is not found to avail the internet to the people, even by paying a little fees.

The young people who are exposed and have traveled to the bigger cities are able to use the internet through their phones. They are a good example of possibilities to the rest of us. But we feel we need the services to be brought closer to us, so that we can also develop like everybody else.

Now is the time, since every minute lost without the internet is an opportunity lost!

I am sure this is not only my voice, but the voice of many girls like me especially the ones who live in the rural regions of Kenya.

In a time when freedom of expression and equal access to knowledge and ideas has become synonymous with access to the Internet, World Pulse is asking women worldwide: What does "Universal Internet Access and Digital Freedom" mean to YOU? This month, we invite you to raise your voice by writing about the everyday obstacles you face and risks you take in accessing the Internet, or how you have used it to change lives and bring about positive change in your community. Click here to learn more about this campaign and how to participate.

Universal Internet Access

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Breese McIlvaine
Jul 05, 2011
Jul 05, 2011

Over the last month, PulseWire members from around the world expressed their views on the importance of Internet access, and the barriers they face. The testimonies address real barriers—like cost—where paying fees at an Internet café can mean skipping a meal that day, or battling frequent power outages can make blogging one post, a multi-day task. Women have also shared security risks faced in connecting online—from the dangers of walking to and from Internet cafes to government censorship. Yet despite the challenges and risks women endure, what has emerged is that the benefits of Internet access outweigh these challenges, and connecting to the web has enabled friendships across oceans, access to fellowships and funding opportunities, and a venue for any woman—anywhere—to have a global voice.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, emphasized the vast benefits of Internet access in his report to the Human Right Council arguing that access is a universal human right, and urging governments around the world to pass laws protecting the freedom of internet access and information. "Given that the Internet has become an indispensable tool for realizing a range of human rights, combating inequality, and accelerating development and human progress, ensuring universal access to the Internet should be a priority for all states," - Frank La Rue, UN Special Rapporteur and author of the report.

This Action Blogging Campaign will not be the last of our efforts to advocate for universal access to the Internet. Here at World Pulse we hear your concerns and are committed to addressing them. As an online community of women leaders, we want to make sure that women’s voices and their specific concerns about this important issue are heard.

Read the testimonies from PulseWire members around the world >>

Read the UN report >>