World Pulse

World Pulse Digital Ambassador Program 2020: A Reflection

Manasa Ram Raj
Posted December 23, 2020 from India
A screenshot from one of our early #ThrivingThursday gatherings in April 2020.

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.

Thank you, Digital Ambassadors for being trailblazers of change worldwide. We are proud to walk with you on this journey as sisters.

Comments 10

Log in or register to post comments
Paulina Nayra
Dec 23, 2020
Dec 23, 2020

Dear Manasa,
Reading this makes me smile because Thriving Thursdays energize me to stay awake, learn and share our thoughts with fellow Digital Ambassadors. It made the pandemic bearable by alleviating the discomfort of isolation. It made the world smaller like you are jist in the neighborhood. Funny, last week I logged in to Zoom and was wondering where is everyone. Good that Memory responded on Whatsapp that it was only Wednesday. See how excited I was?
Looking forward to the 2021 Thriving Thursday. I still have a pending training on “Organizing Community Based Response to VAW”.
Happy holidays!
Huggs.

Manasa Ram Raj
Dec 27, 2020
Dec 27, 2020

I agree with you, Paulina. Every week felt like we're in the same room, sharing experiences and lessons. Even though we are all miles apart, I could feel all your presence next to me. It is truly a transformative experience! I can't wait to be with you all soon!

Tamarack Verrall
Dec 23, 2020
Dec 23, 2020

Dear Manasa,
I so look forward to these meetings every week. They have made it possible for us as Ambassadors to get to know each other and each others' work so much more deeply. The trainings by my sister Ambassadors have been exemplary, and I have learned so much, about self care and about movement building locally and together globally. All through I have felt indebted to you and Dawn who continue to make these meetings possible for us all. Having the rotating MC, EP and Trainer positions have been a loving challenge and an opportunity for us all to share and grow together. I love Thursday mornings. Thank you for all you do to make our meetings possible. We are so much stronger because of them.
Much love,
Tam

Manasa Ram Raj
Dec 27, 2020
Dec 27, 2020

Tam, thank YOU for being an amazing leader! I am indebted to all the Digital Ambassadors for all the lessons I have learned this year. Yes, the roles have made us grow together and support each other. I love our spirit to always try new tools/resources, no matter how challenging it gets, for I know, we will always overcome as long as we are together in this journey! I can't wait to see you all again soon!

Marie Abanga
Dec 28, 2020
Dec 28, 2020

Dear Manasa,

Wow wow wow, you captivate me with your synopsis of the program am so honoured and humble to be a part of.
Thank you so much for all you and the entire WP Team do too
Wishing you a happy new year in advance

Manasa Ram Raj
Dec 28, 2020
Dec 28, 2020

Thank YOU, Marie! See you soon in Jan. Happy New Year <3

Caroline Bokwe
Dec 28, 2020
Dec 28, 2020

What an amazing experience. Thank you so much Manasa..
Your detailed analysis gives me the extra urge to want to do more. May the new year open more doors for us all sisters.

Manasa Ram Raj
Dec 28, 2020
Dec 28, 2020

Thank you, dear Caroline! Wishing you a happy New Year :)

Karen Quiñones-Axalan
Dec 29, 2020
Dec 29, 2020

Cheers to you, dear Manasa, for all you hardwork and for making #ThrivingThursdays possible week after week! May you feel proud of yourself for the great accomplishments the Ambassadors achieve together amidst the pandemic. This all won't be possible without you, dear.

From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you! You deserve millions of World Pulse claps from all of us, that it will sound like fireworks! Thanks to you and Dawn for helping Ambassadors thrive. Together, we all bloom as sunflowers while clouds cover the sun.

May 2021 will a great year for all of us!

maeann
Dec 30, 2020
Dec 30, 2020

Congratulations Manasa. 2020 is not a boring year for me because of our Thriving Thursday. It's not also a scary year because every Thursday is a day of learning and connection with fellow sisters. Thank you and Happy New Year of 2021.