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Accessing the Internet in My Community

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The internet is an important tool. I have not known how to use i perfectly, but right now I am picking up in many ways.

The first time I ever used the internet was three years ago. My main purpose on this particular day was to have an email address, so that I could make connection with other people from all corners of the world.

That day I went to the cyber cafe, five kilometers from where I lived. My long trek was full of excitement though, because I knew that from this[point I would have friends, and also get different types of information. I therefore had all the reasons to spend my hard saved pocket money to have this access.

I looked for email addresses of my close friends and relatives,and sent them emails. They wrote back and this was the beginning of all the difference.

Now I am different because I am able to access the internet more widely, and also get what I want through it. This includes information from Google, ask my friends what is happening and where they are.

Majority of my friends do not have access to the internet, and also are not able to access it, for distance, lack of money or lack of information for the benefits that come with it.

My country have many youths in this similar situation. This has to be addressed, so that we are able to gain more from the internet, as our community offers very limited alternative ways of getting information. The question is: How do we address the government to consider his, not as a luxury but as an essential means towards change? Many young people do not have the funds and resources to go to college, but again they are not aware of the possibilities of looking for courses and even finally learning through the internet.

I suggest that we use the World Pulse forum to see ways that we can be able to help our communities have more access. I look forward to hearing what has worked for other people and also their views.

Thank you.

Written by Emma from Kenya.

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In a time when freedom of expression and equal access to knowledge and ideas has become synonymous with access to the Internet, World Pulse is asking women worldwide: What does "Universal Internet Access and Digital Freedom" mean to YOU? This month, we invite you to raise your voice by writing about the everyday obstacles you face and risks you take in accessing the Internet, or how you have used it to change lives and bring about positive change in your community. Click here to learn more about this campaign and how to participate.

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Over the last month, PulseWire members from around the world expressed their views on the importance of Internet access, and the barriers they face. The testimonies address real barriers—like cost—where paying fees at an Internet café can mean skipping a meal that day, or battling frequent power outages can make blogging one post, a multi-day task. Women have also shared security risks faced in connecting online—from the dangers of walking to and from Internet cafes to government censorship. Yet despite the challenges and risks women endure, what has emerged is that the benefits of Internet access outweigh these challenges, and connecting to the web has enabled friendships across oceans, access to fellowships and funding opportunities, and a venue for any woman—anywhere—to have a global voice.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, emphasized the vast benefits of Internet access in his report to the Human Right Council arguing that access is a universal human right, and urging governments around the world to pass laws protecting the freedom of internet access and information. "Given that the Internet has become an indispensable tool for realizing a range of human rights, combating inequality, and accelerating development and human progress, ensuring universal access to the Internet should be a priority for all states," - Frank La Rue, UN Special Rapporteur and author of the report.

This Action Blogging Campaign will not be the last of our efforts to advocate for universal access to the Internet. Here at World Pulse we hear your concerns and are committed to addressing them. As an online community of women leaders, we want to make sure that women’s voices and their specific concerns about this important issue are heard.

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