Thriving together as we lift up the voices of women and girls in our communities!
This time last year, Digital Ambassadors were renewing their terms, applying anew for a (then) six month commitment and sharing plans for International Women's Day. We planned a group call at the end of March to celebrate their events in 30 countries. Instead, when we gathered in March, it was a different kind of call. In place of celebration there was more silence, deep breaths and then a question:
How can we help each other survive a global pandemic?
The answer to that question was one that I think will forever changed the trajectory of the Digital Ambassador program at World Pulse. Karen, World Pulse's Encourager Couch and Digital Ambassador, pointed out how Digital Ambassadors are much like sunflowers. When the sun is out, the sunflower turn towards the light, but when darkness looms, they turn towards each other to thrive. In the midst of global shutdowns, the Digital Ambassadors were looking at budgets and wondering who would need to be laid off, planning how to stretch food budgets around the entire table, and getting calls in the middle of the night from girls needing to flee their stay-at-home orders. Despite multiple challenges, the Digital Ambassadors made the choice not just to survive together, but thrive.
From this, #ThrivingThursday was born in early April. We set up a shared document with a framework for the agenda and roles to fill. We shared that for any call to take place we needed a Mother of Ceremonies (MC), an Executive Producer and a Trainer. We thought the calls would go for a few months and we'd let them end when the energy decreased. Since the first call on April 9 we have gathered 35 times. We have learned new tools together, ensuring that each call has live captioning and translation for everyone who needs it. It's not unusual for the call to include live translation in Hindi and French, depending on who is attending. And we have a full list of Digital Ambassadors already signed up to lead calls well into 2021 with no end in sight.
During the calls, the Digital Ambassadors have led peer training on various topics including:
- Hosting a successful webinar;
- Mental Health and self-care;
- Leveraging social media for social change;
- Community resilience;
- Using online sisterhood to cope amidst the pandemic;
- Online safety for leaders, for parents and for children;
- Conflict Resolution;
- Disability inclusion;
- Writing online proposals;
- Creating personal and professional branding.
You can read about the #ThrivingThursday calls and other Digital Ambassador activities here! You can also find clips from the trainings on our YouTube channel dedicated to Digital Ambassadors here.
The act of leading trainings and sharing of personal experiences, success stories and spreading resources have created a space to overcome and keep pushing as a strong and resilient sisterhood. The #ThrivingThursday calls have enabled Digital Ambassadors with resources to further their impact, and above all, its given us a chance to pause, look within ourselves, to care for us and for our loved ones, so together we can create transformative change.
Subsequently, we also introduced the #TrainingTuesday to bring in World Pulse partners to train the Digital Ambassadors on different topics.
One such was the training led by Brittany Evans from Women Enabled International on Digital Inclusion and accessibility. You can watch her training here. The other was conducted by Block Party App, a tool that can help prevent and address online harassment on Twitter. The Digital Ambassadors also lead two community wide calls to celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child on October 11th and International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls on November 25th, to commemorate the start of the 16 Days Campaign.
And between the weekly gatherings, Digital Ambassadors have been leading trainings with their own communities online and in person.
From January to August alone, Digital Ambassadors led:
- More than 1,000 in-person trainings
- 203 online trainings
- On 37 different topics
The most popular topics for trainings were: Digital literacy, digital empowerment, leadership, COVID-19, entrepreneurship and gender-based violence. In addition, Digital Ambassadors reported conducting outreach via media outlets and social media. They estimate this reached 25,969 people. If you add this to the total reached by previous cohorts of Digital Ambassadors since January 2019, they have reached a collective 1.2 million women and girls worldwide with training and outreach on digital empowerment topics.
Digital Ambassadors shared their vision for 2021.
On December 17th, 2020, we gathered for one last time this year. Each person who shared spoke to a drive that unites all the Digital Ambassadors: a desire to impact women and girls within their communities, the thirst to create a global change, and the vision to implement community solutions are deep rooted within these visions. In the words of Busayo from Nigeria, "we have received more strength from one another, we have been encouraging each other, we are being trained by each other. In fact, I can't just quantify what I have achieved through the #ThrivingThursday because I always look forward to hearing from my sisters...we're going to be stronger. We are going to be greater, we are good to achieve better, and it's going to be possible for all of our voice to go out and be louder and louder until the world will listen, and that is what we will achieve."
As we move forward into 2021, we look forward to unleashing women’s collective power worldwide. We are invigorated to find ways to improve and grow, applying the valuable feedback from our Digital Ambassadors. Hand-in-hand we are energized to equip more community leaders with the tools they need to uplift voices all over the globe.