In less than a decade, Web 2.0 has created the most widely used social media platforms to date. Now, it is hard to even imagine the days we didn’t have blogs, Facebook, Twitter or Youtube videos. It amazes me both in its breadth of impact on everyday life and the speed of its development. Freedom of speech is easier than ever. Web 2.0 and New Media has bypassed the obstacles of traditional media outlets and has given a powerful voice to the ordinary.
What excites me the most about this tool is that it requires only one person with a message (and internet connection) to reach the millions.
While working as a community nutritionist in a remote village called Usolanga in Iringa, Tanzania, I experienced first hand the lives of the women. As water shortage is a major issue in the region, women and children walked two hours to collect dirty mud water from the river for drinking and cooking. Women in labour had to carry their own buckets of water to the clinic for delivery. Whenever I had the opportunity to go into a town with electricity, I would blog about my villagers. At that time, my father who was in China (there were no blog restrictions in mainland China then) translated my blogs into Chinese and maintained a Chinese blog site. Through speaking to his friends about the stories of my villagers, within two weeks, he was able to raise $27,000 USD for four giant rainharvesters to be installed in the village clinic by my organization, Emmanuel International. The harvesters provided 96,000 litres of water for the clinic. Now, pregnant mothers no longer need to carry water to the clinic. Web 2.0 brought the lives of my villagers to an international audience and to my surprise, used the citizens of yet another developing country to bring water to Usolanga.
A person like you or me can make a change in someone’s life by simply writing, videotaping, talking about the lives of those who are not being heard. Every woman has a voice and Web 2.0 gives her an amplifier large enough for the whole world to hear. The barriers to communication have come down and with these tools in hand, there really are no limits to what can be done for the empowerment of women. Web 2.0 engages the participation of likeminded individuals and organizations to bring transformation to the world.
Thank you God that I am a woman who lives in this day and age!