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AMPLIFYING MY VOICE

What’s my community? Nuclear would be Abuja, the city I lived in before resuming at Birmingham City University, and the extended is my beloved country Nigeria. Abuja is the Federal Capital Territory and seat of government for my nation. It is where ‘everything’ happens, where major, life-changing contracts are given, where young people are referred to as ‘upwardly mobile’, an overused cliché (in my opinion).

That established, there are two challenges: First is people thinking that social media advocacy exists only online, promptly forgetting the real world, offline interactions that actually drive these projects. Second is that in my community, there are still too few people using social media platforms to actually constitute a sizable enough force, at least numerically. (Having said that though, a lone voice may often achieve more than a mob!)

I have been a blogger for about four years now and because I have a decent following, it has become my voice, the strongest tool for pushing/publishing causes I believe in. For example, in January a few friends put together a ‘bowling for boobs’ event to raise money to run subsidized breast and cervical cancer tests in Abuja. I had recently lost a colleague to breast cancer so I wrote about it and used it to publicise the event. There have been several other instances before and since then but most notable for me was the incident with the April 2011 elections in my country. There was this horrible outbreak of violence in the Northern part of the country, and most people were quick to say it was a Christian/Muslim ‘war’. I was in Birmingham at the time but I had read that it wasn’t a religious issue so I got in touch with a native from one of the troubled areas and interviewed him for my blog. It was a totally different perspective, with a historical bent and coming from a native, was a lot more plausible. By tweeting the link and putting it up on Facebook, LinkedIn etc., not only did we start a knowledge based discussion on the blog, but we disabused people’s minds from the religious angle to the crisis. Again, I got the highest number of visits to the blog on that day.

The way I see it, the more ‘relevant’ online communities I belong to, the stronger my voice is, call it amplified even. Rhonda's story is enlightening but it was Sheila's account of breast ironing in Cameron getting picked up by CNN, that not only inspired but encouraged me to keep campaigning the way I do now, not forgetting of course the place of offline collaboration as well.

Statistics show that of the 150 million people in my country, 70% are within the 16-40 bracket, and that is the same demographic of the online community. With World Pulse, my voice is amplified and believe me, I've got a lot of causes to shout about.

Comments

YAOtieno's picture

I like this

}Hi Chioma,

You are a very good writer! I think I need to subscribe to your blog ASAP! I believe i could learn a lot from you about amplifying my voice.,I am glad I stopped by to red your article

Cheers,

Y

A candle looses nothing my lighting another

Chioma Agwuegbo's picture

Thank you!

Thank you for stopping by Y, the blog link is www.fairygodsister.wordpress.com! Have you got a blog as well?

CNCA
@chiomachuka on Twitter

YAOtieno's picture

Hi

Morning and Yes I do. You can check out http://yaotieno.wordpress.com/2011/09/

Your website is off the hook!!! I am now checking out your blog ;-)

Cheers,

Y

A candle looses nothing my lighting another

Chioma Agwuegbo's picture

You've been around!

I'm excited for you, wish I had the opportunity to spend a year anywhere! I love travelling, and your descriptions and chronicles of your time in Nepal are very vivid! You must have struck a warm chord there, you've got quite the following!
Well done girl!

CNCA
@chiomachuka on Twitter

YAOtieno's picture

Struck a chord...:-)

Thanks Chioma, those are very kind words.

Cheers,

Y

A candle looses nothing my lighting another

Jency's picture

Share your blog

Please share your blog link if you write in English. your experience is truly inspiring.

Jency

Chioma Agwuegbo's picture

Thank you Jency!

It's called 'The Fairy GodSister' and the link is www.fairygodsister.wordpress.com. The links to the posts in the week three assignment are
The post on breast cancer awareness - http://fairygodsister.wordpress.com/2011/01/24/for-ngozi-anywanwu/
The post election crisis - http://fairygodsister.wordpress.com/2011/04/23/an-hour-with-elnathan/

Thank you Jency, I'm privileged that I can inspire you!

CNCA
@chiomachuka on Twitter

sallysmithr's picture

Love it!

I think what you are doing is amazing! You seem like a very determined and inspirational person and I think it is important to have people like you to bring these issues to our attention and to fight for what you believe in.

I wish you the very best and thank you so much for sharing.

Sally Smith

Chioma Agwuegbo's picture

Hello Sally!

Thank you for your kind words, just sent you a friend request now! I must say that sometimes it gets disheartening when an answer doesn't come as fast as we expect....can't do much but keep pushing anyways!

CNCA
@chiomachuka on Twitter

nadinerose's picture

Your voice is far reaching!

Good evening,
You have done a wonderful job of changing the world with your voice. It is so easy to be confused by the media and I like how you have connected with individuals to bring the truth out. You are obviously personally connected to all of these issues and you make me feel invested in your community, even though it is far from where I live. Social media is about drawing people together and sharing information and you have definetely understood this. Thank you very much for sharing!

Chioma Agwuegbo's picture

Hello Nadinerose!

Wow...thank you for the encouragement and all the kind words, I truly appreciate them. Nigeria is very personal for m, sometimes I feel like (and refer to her) like a real person!
Thank you!

CNCA
@chiomachuka on Twitter

SharonK's picture

Hi Chioma, Thanks for your

Hi Chioma,

Thanks for your post! You made it very personal and detailed, and I think that's what makes it so engaging. I'd like to know what your ideas are for getting a larger proportion of that 16-40 demographic connected to social media.

Looking forward to your future posts!

Sharon

Chioma Agwuegbo's picture

Hello Sharon!

I'm glad you enjoyed the post, and I'm sorry it's taken me this long to get back to you.... There are a lot of ways, either using their education (as is done in my university where we are asked to start blogs,etc), peer groups (get them to leave Twitter/Facebook handles at events instead of phone numbers), etc. The enabling environment for that (infrastructure and cost effective services) needs to be in place so that it doesn't automatically segregate between those who will be able to afford it and those who cannot.

CNCA
@chiomachuka on Twitter

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