Girls'Net: Citizen journalism for girls' education (South Africa)
This is yet another project sponsored by the People Project Foundation (PPF). The project will continue with the same set of girls from Orange Farm that were on the Technology, Maths and Science; and Gender Equality project. Through this citizen journalism project, we will help increase the girls' capacity to use information communication technology (ICT) to address social ills/issues in their communities through the development of diverse, critical, reliable, relevant and unique information provided by girls.
Girls'Net is a South African social and multi- media programme that gets girls actively involved in the use of technology for their development. Our aim is to use ICTs to help girls realize their full potential.
Girls'Net is a project of Women'sNet and was established in 2003. It builds on Women'sNet's past experiences of training 12-18 year old girls in rural areas in digital audio production training during 2002/2003. The training was supported by UNICEF, where girls produced audio spots on themes of their choice, with a view to raise awareness of their gender based experiences. The purpose of the girls' digital audio training was for each training session to generate 3-4 audio spots, produced by the girls, to be disseminated to community radio stations for broadcasting. The training involved basic computer training but the bulk of the time was spent taking the participating girls through a process where they decided which issues they wanted to produced radio spots on, wrote the scripts, recorded the spots, and finally edited the audio material on the computer. The audio spots were disseminated to the members of the National Community Radio Forum.
In 2003/2004, Women'sNet implemented the first phase of the Girls Tech Clubs initiative. The first phase of the project targeted girls in 4 provinces: Eastern Cape, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Limpopo and Gauteng.
The aim of Girls'Net is to grow a girl social movement through the use of ICTs. Girls are the creators of digital and textual information. This information is disseminated digitally (currently Girls'Net link on Women'sNet website) and by script (through the Girls'Net Newsletter called Gist).
In principle, Girls'Net does four things:
1. It opens up innovative opportunities of ICTs to girls
2. It encourages girls to make use of ICTs
3. According to the above, girls are able to be active participants in the "Information Age"
4. In this way, they are able to speak on their own ‘issues' and be empowered
Girls'Net operates in the following spaces: Girls Tech Clubs, Girls'Net website developing), Gist Newsletter.
Our vision is for the Girls Tech Clubs initiative to facilitate the formation of small groupings of girls in all the 9 South African countries who will work together. The meetings are mainly for the mentor and the girls in a club to discuss issues affecting the girls and contribute ways of dealing with them. Girls also have the opportunity to access ICT tools as they learn how to apply them for their own development and hence take part in the social and global activism.
Gist production shows the events that the girls in different clubs get up to. Here, girls post poems or any other form of expression on a chosen theme. Through the website, girls will be able to communicate with others and access information on different topics affecting them. This is also a chance to use different ICT innovations.