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"VOF Week 1: (Bridging the distance)."

During one get together where our extended family had met for the first time in my memory, we the younger ones watched in amazement and amusement even when our parents were crying and hugging. I remember one of my aunts who I was meeting for the first time was so much in tears that I wondered if she was enjoying the party! My grandpa was a polygamist with five wives hence it was quite a re-union. This particular aunt whose name I had only heard, had not met her siblings for over 20 years! We kept asking our parents how come they never talked or met “distance my children” they said. I felt sad for them, 20 years without any idea how the other siblings were doing!

I started imagining how life would be if I were to stay for 20 years without meeting my friends or having an idea how they are doing let alone siblings. I am quite a social person and communication means a lot to me. It is therefore exciting for me to have Web 2.0 where I can not only share my thoughts but also keep track of my network of friends. The most exciting aspect of Web 2.0 for me is the social networking tools that enable me keep in touch and get to know new persons and issues. Many thoughts and issues are never shared in the mainstream media and hence this media for me has become the way to share thoughts that nobody can edit! Unlike letters to the editor in newspapers, here I share my thoughts and they are published exactly as I want them. I also get views on issues that are dear to me.

Web 2.0 therefore offers opportunity to women’s empowerment as well as building strong movements by sharing information. Many resources are available online for women and hence women can come together around common interests. Grassroots women have often being left out of development processes and their issues not brought into the limelight as their roles in development remain invisible. However, the mobile phone technology ensures that even in remote areas, community members can access internet via phone. This has gone a long way in reducing the technology apathy that was associated with women where technology was considered a male domain. Women can therefore share their thoughts and seek for solutions. They can also be heard world wide.

I have felt empowered by Web 2.0 as I share my thoughts and realise other persons are also sharing the same thought. I have been able to connect with new and old acquaintances online hence bridging the physical distance, for with Web 2.0 every one is just a click away. I have met many persons online and shared a lot without having met them physically. My parents didn’t have the opportunity, but I have it and am utilising this to the maximum, there is no distance!

Comments

Gemma's picture

Comments on Assignment One

Sophie:

I really enjoyed reading your post. With relatives around the United States and other countries, your description resonated with me. I was able to imagine your family hugging and crying with happiness of seeing each other again. With the power of Web 2.0, it is very hard to imagine not staying connected to friends. It is also a tool to meet new friends in cyberspace and forging relationships around the globe.

I agree with you completely that in addition to getting to know new people, it also provides an opportunity to learn about new issues. Just in participating in the World Pulse community, I have learned about issues in countries that I was unaware of previously. What are some issues that you have learned more about through World Pulse, or the use of web 2.0? I am interested (and it would compliment your writing) in knowing what issues are dear to you and how web 2.0 has furthered your understanding or given you an opportunity to influence.

Where have you found commonality on the web? You talk about sharing thoughts and learning that others have similar thoughts. What are those? Who have you met and how have your sharing with them influenced you?

I loved that you put some of yourself into this post. I feel connected to you in reading your post and am eager to read more of your writing.

Gemma

Sophie's picture

My passion for women and girls

Hi Gemma,
Thanks for your comments.

At one time I felt that issues of women in Kenya and within my locality are so different from those of other women in other places. In fact sometimes I imagined that women in other countries have more advantages than Kenyan women and girls. I have a great passion for women’s and girls’ empowerment and any actions that make life better for girls and women speaks to me. Through web 2.0 especially through different networks that I sign into often I have come to see that it is really the same world for women all over. Some of the situations could be different but at the end of the day women suffer some level of discrimination world over. I have gained a lot of knowledge through this interactions and when I find women from different regions passionate about a similar issue then I realise, we are really ‘women’s world’.
In particular I have been given an opportunity to influence when I can participate in campaigns online against a particular issue. I have also felt that I have played my role in the wider society when I give comments on issues pertaining women’s rights. Recently I read a post in one network where the author had given some feedback on women’s involvement in peace process in Sudan and related this with some key women in the Bible like Esther who had ‘stood in the gap’ for their people. I found quite inspiring and logged to give comments. However when I got to the blog to give comment I found some comments from some men that made me realise, the patriarchy and negative masculinities are reflected all over. Some two men commented how irrelevant this information was and that ‘who cares about Sudan women…there are other more important global issues.
I strongly gave my comments on the same and whether the men read this or not, I had spoken; my message, we can not have peace until all women are safe and all women are on the globe matter, regardless of where they come from. It has been exciting to learn that women despite our differences have more in common than I thought. My observation is that while commenting on similar issues that relate to rights, women or men, there is a common thread on thoughts of women! We are not one another’s enemies as society has made us often believe. Sometimes we just don’t speak out as much in the society for fear of being different. Web 2.0 then has given me more confidence in airing my thoughts through writing without fearing that my thoughts are not correct or appropriate. By sharing thoughts with others I have more information while (verbally) speaking out in any forum.
Thanks to pulse wire for this safe space!

Sophie Ngugi
Child of the Universe -www.sophiengugi.blogspot.com

JCalbery's picture

Remarks for Assignment 1

Dear Sophie,

I really enjoyed your article and the personal touch and anecdotes you included. I think that you have been able to convey how Web 2.0 technolgies can be important in personal life and also this can trascend into how they can contribute to the global women's empowerment movement! I also appreciated that you touched on the issue of confidence in your reply!

J

Sophie's picture

Web 2.0 and personal life

Hi,
Thanks for you comments!

Sophie Ngugi
Child of the Universe -www.sophiengugi.blogspot.com

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