With the advent of technology especially online meeting and video conference platforms such as BlueJeans, GoToMeeting, Zooms, maestro, etc, grassroots women and girls have been able to self-organise and strategise through these online platforms to influence and shape policies.
Before coronavirus was declared a pandemic, with measures such as “social” (physical) distancing and tele-meetings recommended, we, of the Beijing25 Central Africa working group had begun using Zooms and Facebook live in mobilising and self-organising towards achieving gender equality by 2030 in Cameroon and the world at large. Even as many did not know what Zoom or digital organising meant, never did we as women ever felt defeated to dare and explore this new platform of organising.
This whole journey began in September 2019, where some 50 women and girls across the national territory decided on meeting virtually every 1st or 2nd Mondays at 12noon GMT+1 to dialogue and strategically position selves in an effort to shape and influence the Beijing25 review processes leading to the generation equality forums and action coalitions. The women of this group included but not limited to market women, petite traders, farmers, members of parliament, councilors, college girls and women human rights defenders and civil society participants.
Gradually what began like a small women’s group meeting is now becoming a model currently been implemented across some central African countries such as Chad and DRC currently adopting our digital means of social organising and movement building. If only we could know that in just a few months, what we started as an alternative means of self-organising would become the new way of social organising with COVID19 pandemic.
The impact of this virtual meetings have not only built the skills of over 99% of the womxn/girls who attend and participate these webinars but it has also made them confident in their unique potential as well becoming efficient in operating and facilitating virtual conferences, a unique skill gained as a result of the monthly webinars and meetings.
As clearly captured by 17-year old Foku Hilux: "[..] I have gained much skills on these platforms..firstly it's thanks to these that I discovered some digital platforms like zoom...through which I have been able to organise meetings with people from everywhere...in addition to using it in talking about intimate partner violence (IPV's)".
To Clemence Leonie, the monthly webinar have been a space for positive conversations, where women and girls across all walk of lives regardless of tribe, age, class and status convene to deliberate, share tactics and practices around the empowerment and total emancipation of women and the girl child.
Meanwhile for Sally Mboumien, [..]such social assembly has not only redefined the leader in her, but have equally shaped her view about the struggle for gender equality as well as endowed in her a firm understanding of movement building where the whole supersedes the parts for greater impact.
It is estimated that over 10, 000 women/girls today have become informed and aware of these processes, with some taking leaderships and have actively engaged at some of these strategic meetings and programs both at the international and global spaces.
And in all - that is what we mean by empowerment at Women for a Change, Cameroon. When we work, we transform. #SheTransformsTech
WATCH OUR RECORDED MONTHLY WEBINARS:
To attend our monthly webinars, register at: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/u5IucOmqqD8i8S8ZhByeauijLX5q2-u9Tw