Featured Storyteller

NIGERIA: Tech Helps Girls Rise Above the Pandemic

Carolyn Seaman
Posted October 7, 2021 from Nigeria

Carolyn shares how safely connecting girls to technology can help build future leaders.

“At Girls Voices, we raise disruptive girl leaders who will demand their seats at the table. 

Digital tools have completely transformed my life and my ways of getting things done. From online meetings and events to paying the bills and shopping online, there is an increasing need for us to constantly be online to maximize technology and the internet for increased productivity. An expanding number of applications are improving work and collaboration online, and the innovation grows every day as technology and the internet make life and work easier. 

While I have the privilege of understanding the power of technology to improve my productivity, many women and girls lack the knowledge, and their phones still fail to serve additional purposes outside calls, messaging, and social media. That’s why I am passionate about digital empowerment for women and girls—and why I work to bring technology to girls in Nigeria.

My nonprofit, Girls Voices Initiative, works to educate adolescent girls and women about their rights in law. We empower them with the skills to use technology and digital media to lead advocacy for the protection of their rights and welfare in society. At Girls Voices, we are raising disruptive girl leaders who will demand their seats at the table. 

Technology is an important tool for raising leaders. We can go a long way to improve lives and productivity by helping women and girls use their phones to schedule and attend meetings and events, pay bills, shop online, learn new skills and advance their education, and even pursue online advocacy and campaigns. It will also save them stress from long queues at the banks and utility agencies to pay bills, leaving their families to advance their education, or traveling long distances to buy things they can simply order online. Technology makes our lives and work simpler.

The COVID-19 pandemic has revolutionized life and work, and Africa was not left out in the global revolution. Although we had no physical contact with the girls in our Girls Voices Initiative organization, we were able to gather in a WhatsApp group and challenge them to develop small groups and hack solutions to the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns on girls. 

The online hackathon was productive, with the girls exploring design thinking, research, and coding mobile apps that they designed to help girls report gender-based violence, school dropouts, and child early or forced marriage. This is a proud development for vulnerable girls who lack access to electronic devices and can only participate in such activities through their parents’ or siblings’ phones, tablets, or computers. Our organization won a global award as the gold winner in the category of the Next Generation Workplace by the Business Council of Peace. 

The moments when we just connect to appreciate one another and share the good things we celebrate or learn from this experience helps us to truly thrive as a tribe of sisters. Yet, there are technological risks that persist, and women and girls must protect themselves.

Digital security continues to be a huge concern for anyone that engages with technology and the internet, and must be constantly adhered to. I did not suffer any threat during the pandemic, but I have experienced an email hack in the past. So, I practice some digital security steps from time to time to change my passwords periodically, then, I always sign out of online spaces that I sign into, so I am not exposed. Also, I never use the option of ‘remember me’ when I sign into online spaces, so I don’t expose myself to potential threats online. And I delete emails or social media invites that look sketchy without opening them. The two-step authentication also helps to protect me online including on WhatsApp. These are just some of the digital security practices I maintain to keep me safe online.

Technology is the future of the world. While I think the world always knew this, it took a global pandemic to remind us of the urgency of technology education and internet access for everyone. Several measures are being taken by individuals, groups, organizations, institutions, governments, and other entities to close the technology and internet gap in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we all need sustainable strategies to help us navigate the future that is highly dependent on these tools to work. The world needs technology and the internet, and we can all collaborate to make it happen!


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Comments 28

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maeann
Oct 07, 2021
Oct 07, 2021

Helo Carolyn, congratulations on your story being featured.

We must continue to be vigilant either online or offline. Awareness on having a digital security is one way we can say that we are safe online, but most importantly is to choose what to share on public.

The world needs technology and internet, i hope this will not replace our being humane.

Carolyn Seaman
Oct 27, 2021
Oct 27, 2021

Dear Maeann,
Thank you so much. I appreciate your kind words. It's truly a huge honour to have my story featured and your kind words are an icing on the cake.
You have raised very valid concerns and we have to pay attention to digital security and stay true to our humanity irrespective of the technology advances.
Love,

Carolyn

Olanike Adesanya
Oct 07, 2021
Oct 07, 2021

Thank you and Congratulations.
The world really need technology.
It really thrived and most helpful during the pandemic..
There was sit at home, though, but we were able to reach out to people.
You're right.

Carolyn Seaman
Oct 27, 2021
Oct 27, 2021

Dear Olanike,
Thank you for your kind words. You couldn't have said it any better. It is a huge comfort for some of us who stayed relevant and in communication with the world despite the COVID lockdowns around the world. However, this also raises the concern for the rest of the world who suffered exclusion and isolation at that critical time. I had the best intimate meetings with some World Pulse sisters during the lockdowns and imagine how many more women desperately needed such sisterhood but are unable to access it. I truly hope we close the digital gender gap.
Love,
Carolyn

Jill Langhus
Oct 08, 2021
Oct 08, 2021

Hello Carolyn, Dear,

Congrats on your Featured Storyteller award and all the stellar, hard work you do to uplift women and girls!!! Keep up the great work. We will continue to cheer you on all the way! XX

Carolyn Seaman
Oct 27, 2021
Oct 27, 2021

Dear Jill,
Thank you for your kind words. And thank you for being a huge part of amplifying our work to the world. I treasure and celebrate our sisterhood. And what an inspiration your work on world pulse and around the world continues to be for me. I acknowledge you Sis!
Love,
Carolyn

Jill Langhus
Oct 29, 2021
Oct 29, 2021

You're welcome, Love:-) You bet!

So do I:-)

Aw, you're so kind. You inspire me, too. More than you know:-)

Hope you're doing well, and that you have a great weekend!

XX

megsmueller
Oct 08, 2021
Oct 08, 2021

Hi Carolyn and congratulations to you on your Featured Story!
Keep up the good work sister.

Much love and success to you!

Carolyn Seaman
Oct 27, 2021
Oct 27, 2021

Dear Meg,
Thank you for your kind words. I celebrate you too Sister! Together, we are changing our world for girls and women. Let's do more!
Love,
Carolyn

Efe Omordia
Oct 08, 2021
Oct 08, 2021

Well done for helping the younger generation by making them aware of their rights

Carolyn Seaman
Oct 27, 2021
Oct 27, 2021

Dear Efe,
Thank you for your kind words. I celebrate you too Sister! Together, we are changing our world for girls and women. Let's do more!
Love,
Carolyn

Shirley Asiedu-Addo
Oct 08, 2021
Oct 08, 2021

Carolyn dear congratulations on your story. The role and impact of technology on our lives and growth cannot be underestimated. Thank you again. Great job.

Carolyn Seaman
Oct 27, 2021
Oct 27, 2021

Dear Shirley,
Thank you for your kind words. I agree with you that the value of technology cannot be ignored. And it is very important to keep opening opportunities for girls and women to build digital skills.
Love,
Carolyn

himani deswal
Oct 09, 2021
Oct 09, 2021

Without Technology it's so difficult to think

Carolyn Seaman
Oct 27, 2021
Oct 27, 2021

Dear Himani,
Thank you for your comment. And rightly said, it is quite challenging to think or process our thoughts and ideas without technology. And this is why we want more girls and women to build digital skills. We know girls CAN!
Love,
Carolyn

Tamarack Verrall
Oct 10, 2021
Oct 10, 2021

Dear Caroline,
Congrats on this featured story, it is great to see it on the "front page". I have followed your work for some time now and love telling people about all these empowered young women you are mentoring. It has been an extra gift to have been able to meet them personally online across such great distance, and to share information back and forth. We are able to all be connected here as leaders, and this continues to amaze me. Thanks for the safety tips! May the wind stay beneath your wings.
Deep Sister Love,
Tam

Carolyn Seaman
Oct 27, 2021
Oct 27, 2021

Dear Mama Tam,
Thank you for your kind words. And thank you for being my World Pulse Mama. I am so grateful to World Pulse for meeting you and knowing you. I lack the words to express my gratitude to you for your investments in our work and with our girls. You have sown so much into our girls and also opened them up to your phenomenal network of powerhouse women leaders. And all of this awesomeness is possible thanks to World Pulse and technology. And here's to women leveraging technology and building girls and women's digital skills to do same.
Love! Love! Love you!
Carolyn

Busayo Obisakin
Oct 10, 2021
Oct 10, 2021

Technology is it! Kudos to you Sis for the great work you are doing
Love
Busayo

Carolyn Seaman
Oct 27, 2021
Oct 27, 2021

Dear Busayo,
Thank you for your kind words. Indeed, technology is it! And what great work you are doing empowering girls and women too in your community. What a blessing that we get to share our learning with other girls and women. Thank you.
Love,
Carolyn

Catherine Djiemo
Oct 11, 2021
Oct 11, 2021

Congratulations for such a brilliant job. This is exactly what our communities need. Empowerment to young girls.
Hugs

Carolyn Seaman
Oct 27, 2021
Oct 27, 2021

Dear Catherine,
Thank you for your kind words. And rightly said too, digital empowerment is what our young girls need to thrive in society. Hugs back dear Sister!

Grace Iliya
Oct 11, 2021
Oct 11, 2021

Congrats Caroline, I am always Super Proud of what you do. Technology is indeed a key that can open many doors.

Much Love Sis

Carolyn Seaman
Oct 27, 2021
Oct 27, 2021

Dear Ceegrah,
Thank you for your kind words. Indeed, technology is a key that opens many doors of opportunities. And these are opportunities that girls and women need to start leveraging and so it is a pleasure to build their digital skills and capacity to access more opportunities in society.
Love,
Carolyn

Phinnie
Oct 11, 2021
Oct 11, 2021

Carolyn--
Congratulations on the Story Award and on following your passion on behalf of women and girls! Girls Voices Initiative sounds like an incredible organization and how wonderful that you have used technology to be creative in reaching out during the Covid pandemic. Take care and many blessings to you on your journey!
With appreciation, Phinnie

Carolyn Seaman
Oct 27, 2021
Oct 27, 2021

Dear Phinnie,
Thank you for your kind words and well wishes. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to run Girls Voices Initiative and the opportunity to build digital skills for girls is such a great blessing. And I also appreciate that we were able to challenge the girls to explore solutions to the challenges that the COVID pandemic had on girls. I appreciate your kind wishes.
Love,
Carolyn

Regina Afanwi Young
Oct 15, 2021
Oct 15, 2021

Wow!! Congratulations sis!! Amazing work you are doing out there with the girls. Would love to connect with you as I am also passionate on empowering girls with hearing impairment with digital tools. From my little experience it helps reduce the communication gap. Keep up the good work sister.
You rock!!!

Carolyn Seaman
Oct 27, 2021
Oct 27, 2021

Dear Regina,
Thank you for your kind words and your best wishes and what a remarkable solution you are looking to innovate. I am happy to go through some ideation process with you on this and we'll see how things go from there. I celebrate your vision dear Sister!
Love,
Carolyn

Regina Afanwi Young
Oct 27, 2021
Oct 27, 2021

Thanks my dear. Hope you are keeping well and safe.