VOF Week 1: Putting Sisterhood on the Agenda
What excites me most about Web 2.0 is: 1) the ability to expand social impact through media, dissemination of information, training and consulting opportunities; 2) the potential to research and develop new initiatives for women and girls of African descent in response to societal trends and needs and; 3) the ability to increase regional, national, and international collaboration through partnerships.
Web 2.0 brings collaboration and resource-sharing into the model for scaling and large-scale impacts by giving grassroots organizations access in the creation of a synergistic, all-inclusive global women’s movement. For example, Sisterhood Agenda collaborates with global partners to create an extensive network to inform and promote the important work of individuals and organizations around the globe. While Sisterhood Agenda’s target population is women and girls of African descent, this global women’s movement includes both genders and all ethnic groups around the world. Importantly, this results in a global mission with local effectiveness leading to massive collective impacts.
Empowerment is a process by which people, organizations, and communities gain mastery over issues of concern to them. Efforts to gain control, access to resources, and a critical understanding of one’s sociopolitical context are fundamental aspects of empowerment processes. Sisterhood Agenda empowers woman and girls of African descent by instilling knowledge, self-awareness, and hope. Web 2.0 is empowering because the global sisterhood networks created by Web 2.0 contribute (in a meaningful way) to a connected, informed and empowered community that reflects its rich diversity.
Females of African descent are disproportionately affected by poverty, teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS, juvenile delinquency, educational deficits, low self-esteem, lack of cultural knowledge, and health issues such as hypertension, diabetes, overweight/obesity. Lack of cultural knowledge, relevant services and positive media has pervasive effects on the individual girls, their children and the community.
The majority of online media featuring women and girls of African descent is limited to pornography and girl fights. Results from a Proctor & Gamble/ESSENCE poll in 2007 shows that 77 percent of African American women are "concerned" about the way they are portrayed in popular media. The vast majority, 71 percent, say that they are portrayed "worse" than other racial groups in the media. Sixty-nine percent of respondents said that teens are negatively influenced by those images.
Current technology presents new opportunities to build community and address gender-specific and culturally relevant concerns among geographically disparate partner organizations and individuals. Sisterhood Agenda is poised to take advantage of this time in history to effectively and efficiently serve its constituents by sharing resources, collecting and dissemination of hard-to-find educational materials.
During the past year, Sisterhood Agenda enhanced its online presence and offered alternative positive media. The response was overwhelming. Sisterhood Agenda has more web-based services planned. Importantly, these new systems are:
• Visually attractive, interactive and fun.
• FREE for everyone.
• A green alternative to reduce paper and chemical consumption to save our environment.
• Seen by millions of website visitors.
• Exciting opportunities to educate the public.