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Mobile Technologies bring luster to women in Bulawayo

http://wwwcreativecommunication.blogspot.com/

BULAWAYO: Diana Svosve had no dreams of ever owning a mobile phone. Her only major form of communication was through writing a letter, which took days to reach its destination. Her main access to local and international news was through the state controlled radio. Today, Svosve lives in a different world.

Four years ago, a sim card for a mobile phone was going for as much as USD100 or more. A handset was also going for as much. The local name for a mobile phone is mbozhanhare, literary meaning a phone for the rich. Today a sim card can be purchased for as little as USD1. The mobile phone has now proliferated into all the corners of the country, changing people’s lifestyle and way of seeking, sending and receiving information.

Over the years, Zimbabwe has seen an increase in the number of women owning a mobile phone. This motivated the Creative Centre for Communication to develop a programme with a goal to increasing access to information on (women's) human rights using mobile technologies.

The objectives of the exercise were to raise awareness of the 16 Days of Activism in Zimbabwe using mobile phones and to promote women and girls' communication rights through making information available in a format that they can use and in a way that is affordable.

With a generous support from the African Women Development Fund, the organisation embarked on an advocacy campaign using free open source software called Freedom Fone that was developed in Zimbabwe by Kubatana Trust and awarded a Knight Frank award in 2008. The Freedom Fone provides for round the clock personal access to information. It uses mobile phones and marries it with interactive audio programming – allowing users to conduct SMS polls, collect user generated audio content via a voice-message system, and allowing callers to listen to content on the cell phones.

The project had a big impact in the community. The project resulted in increased access to information to women and girls on issues of Gender Based Violence. The project offered women a platform to reveal GBV cases that they experience without fear of intimidation and harassment. Women and girls particularly from the church now have a platform to get information and help.

During the implementation of the project, the organisation received information through the Freedom fone about a case in which a father raped his daughter, resulting in her falling pregnant. Participants in the programme met and decided to come out with a drama, to highlight this and raise awareness about this form of violence against women in Zimbabwe.

The Creative Centre for Communication and Development now plans to use the Freedom Fone to advance other women’s human rights. The facility is cost effect and has the capacity to reach a wider audience considering the increased proliferation of the mobile phones in the country.

For women in Bulawayo like Mrs. Svosve, the mobile is no longer just a gadget for sending and receiving messages, but a great source of news and information on pertinent issues pertaining to women.

Follow this blog: http://wwwcreativecommunication.blogspot.com/

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Comments

Thank you for sharing this hopeful news. Knowledge is power, and when technology helps spread knowledge more more cheaply and efficiently to all, then it promises the possibility of increasing the power of all.

We are looking forward to expanding this programme because its potential is great considering that mobile phones are viewed as Africa's silver bullet.

Gertrude

olutosin's picture

Welldone sister

This is beautiful, welldone and thank you for going this good work.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

cad_communication's picture

Thanks

Hi Olutosin,
Thank you for comment. I will keep you updated on our work and how we are using technology to advance women's rights and issues.

Gertrude

larenpaul's picture

Really good job. In the

Really good job. In the modern age crimes against women have also became very
rampant, media was an active tool in voicing against such acts and bringing such illegal
acts to the eyes of the concerned authorities and thus keeping the issue as a hot spot
which requires urgent attention. Media has both positive as well as negative effects on the rights of women. Media has
been a cause for the increase in infringement of the right to privacy of a woman. cash for phones

Indeed, larenpaul.

Technology - especially wireless communication - crucial to finding solutions to some of the world's greatest challenges and the Creative Centre for Communication and development is working towards harnessing mobile technology to meet pressing communication rights challenges in Zimbabwe.

You can follow our blog on http://wwwcreativecommunication.blogspot.com

Warm regards,

Gertrude

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