The real challenges is using Web 2.0 to bring about change on the ground
The challenges and barriers to creating change in my community are MANY! And unfortunately, it is difficult to identify the solutions to overcome these challenges when it comes to using Web 2.0, because where I’m from, there is a huge digital divide. Forget about the fact that a good majority of the (s)heroes are not computer literate, many of them don’t even know how to read, let alone write blog posts (in English) of their hard work, challenges and achievements online. I also have to admit, that I find it challenging sometimes to cooperate with such (s)heros. Being a youth and digitally connected, I want to push them to do more! I want to see them bring about even more changes than they already have without considering the drastic cultural changes it can implicate, cultural changes that might be too fast for them to adopt, let alone endorse.
Patience is quite key when it comes to promoting women leadership, empowerment and equality, but sometimes us youth are too anxious to get the ball rolling! What we fail to see many times is the advantage we have. Do we take enough time to download the toolkits and translate it in our local languages? Do we take enough time to see the fundraising opportunities and turn them into sustainable projects? Do we take the time to empower our fellow women with the tools made available to us via Web 2.0? Do we train others, especially the younger generation, to uphold the legacy of our (s)heros who have sacrificed so much for us to get this far as youth leaders? These are a bunch of loaded questions, loaded with plenty of responsibility and requires hard work. And many-a-time, it is very difficult to come up with a concrete plan to overcome such challenges.
But one thing is clear: to overcome such challenges, we need to make the most of Web 2.0, not to just spread information and to report on the amazing things our mothers have done and continue to do, but to also mobilize young women to take on similar action. I am part of a youth volunteer group created to support the women’s movement in my country. We meet regularly to discuss how to empower ourselves as well as the women’s empowerment movement in our country. By using Web 2.0, not only do I share with our group members the resources I find via Web 2.0, but I also recruit other young women, especially young professional women in our Diaspora, to be part of our cause so that they may use their professionalism to help us empower ourselves. There is no way that I can over-state the importance of having real face-to-face, on the ground action instead of just sharing information via internet. It takes true dedication and sacrifice to bring about the changes we’d like to see in our societies; it takes true grassroots initiative to uphold the legacy of the amazing (s)heroes who have brought us this far!