Building and Strengthening Feminist Movements through Zoom

Zoneziwoh Mbondgulo-Wondieh
Posted April 13, 2020 from Cameroon
Some of the participants at the April 6, 2020 Webinar
SheTransformsTech Beijing25 Generation Equality

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:

November 11, 2019

December 9,  2019

January 13,  2020

February 10, 2020

April 6, 2020

To attend our monthly webinars, register at: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/u5IucOmqqD8i8S8ZhByeauijLX5q2-u9Tw 

This story was submitted in response to #SheTransformsTech.

Comments 15

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Tamarack Verrall
Apr 13
Apr 13

Hi Zoneziwoh,
This is so hopeful to know, that so many strong sisters are regularly meeting on Zoom as the Beijing25 Central Africa working group, and that so many young women are being trained, informed and active at the global level. So essential now for us all to be able to communicate this way. Thanks for the links to your meetings. I've begun the first on and it is like being there in the audience to such powerful connections and planning. How wonderful to know how organized you are. An inspiration.
In global sisterhood,
Tam

Dear Tamarack,

Thanks very much for your comment. Indeed, each time i get to re-watch the recordings, it always feels like a new and unique experience. I hope you are all staying safe and well in Canada.
In solidarity

Tamarack Verrall
Apr 14
Apr 14

Thanks sister,
Yes staying safe and all of us careful here as in my city we are in a "hotspot", hottest in our country at the moment. So glad to be in touch through World Pulse.

Hello, Zoneziwoh,

Congratulations on the online movement you and your Beijing25 Central Africa sisters began! This is great news. Keep up this important work, dear.

Thank you for sharing with us!

Thanks.
Sisters galvanising for their rights.

You’re welcome, dear.

Kika Katchunga
Apr 15
Apr 15

WOW, Great, great job, thanks for sharing. Good luck on your projects
love

Anita Shrestha
Apr 15
Apr 15

Thank you for sharing

Oluwatoyin Olabisi
Apr 16
Apr 16

Thank you 4 ur write up,its very enlightening.Is data cost very affordable for young people in your country?Please can you enlighten me more about Zoom,I have tried to use it on several occasions even for World pulse webinars but being very unsuccessful.
Lastly please follow me back.

Oluwatoyin Olabisi
Apr 16
Apr 16

Very enlightening write up.Thank you 4 sharing.Good to see that many young people are actively involved in Beijing 25 Working Group.Keep up the good work, stay safe and please follow back.

Thanks very much Oluwatoyin for your comment. Your comment and question is well very pertinent especially around internet data cost which is not cheap. This means it cost participants at least $1 in terms of data cost to participate in the webinar and that's sacrifice as feminist we have to make in building and sustaining movements. Also because of the challenge, we record the webinar and it's shared on facebook and our social media platforms. Note, however, we have a guidelines as everyone who attends is told that the meeting is recorded and shared online unedited.

Looking forward to reading from you

In solidarity,

Sinyuy Geraldine
Apr 20
Apr 20

Hello Zoneziwoh, thanks for sharing your story. It is good to know that you ars using technology to reach out to these numerous women and young girls. Keep on.

Thanks Sinyuy, if you are interested in joining the campaign, meet us on May 11.

Beth Lacey
Apr 21
Apr 21

This is such a wonderful, powerful use of technology

Thanks Beth. Technology is such a great tool for empowerment and we can attest to it, seeing the women and girls today facilitating online sessions and meetings and above all accessing these digital platforms gives me so much joy as these are the type of transformations we want to see in the lives of women and girls who continue to be alienated from critical spaces including those online