We launched a project called Women and Youth's League for Democracy (WYLD) in 2012 in order to let Malagasy women and youth know that they have full rights as citizens and are strong vectors of political change. We are teaching democracy principles and human rights through grassroots activities and want to teach women and youth to take a stand, expressing their daily problems and their dreams, and acting in their own community.The project has now been implemented in 9 regions of Madagascar and I have to tell that Internet has helped us a lot fostering our project. Here is how:
First of all, Internet helps us to reduce the distance between our 9 regional leagues. As we don't have means for travelling from one league to another, we mainly use e-mails and social medias to communicate with our Delegates and train them. At the very beginning of the project, most of our Delegates (especially women from 25 to 60) didn't even had an e-mail account , and we had to teach them the importance of Internet as a tool. Though using Internet is not really easy i Madagascar, because of a low rate of penetration, and high costs, we really wanted them to jump into the move and made the possession of an e-mail account mandatory for being a WYLD member. Now, all our Delegates are connected and we are pushing them to use our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/WYLDMadagascar to speak up and raise their voice.
Moreover, Internet has helped us make the project more visible and known by Malagasy societies and medias. though we haven't have yet conducted a fundraising campaign - believing on the true power of volunteering and self-funding, even at a small scale - our presence on the Web has attracted new partners who gave us books and other useful tools, or have take part to our training workshops for women and youth.
Finally, Internet is a good way for mobilizing connected people, spread strong messages and create online debates. A lot of young people spend for instance a lot of time on Facebook , playing or chating, and we want to attract them to something more serious, in order to value more their use of Internet and impact on their community's life. As a matter of fact, we have organized for two years now a national essay contest related to democracy, including online entries. We are also currently working on an online campaign around the upcoming municipal elections, in order to educate people and encourage women to become candidates.
We - at WYLD, haven't for sure mastered all Internet's possibilities, but we are anyway trying to use this tool at its best. We are still learning but I think we have already made good steps in the right direction! :)
Take action! This post was submitted in response to WWW: Women Weave the Web .