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ACCESS TO INTERNET IS LIKE ACCESS TO LIFE ITSELF (WEAVE THE WEB IN NIGERIA)

The life with untapped potentials is the way I can describe my life until 2009. I felt that something great was missing in my life and I took the big step to collect loan from the bank to buy a laptop, wire my office for internet access. My other colleagues were looking at me as somebody from another planet.” Are you sure you want to spend this so much money just to have access to internet? We wish we can convince you to invest this money on things that will benefit you and your family” They lamented. Here is my story and the story of an average Nigerian women and girls.
I was already a master degree holder seven years before 2009, yet till that year, I was still a pure illiterate as far as internet and web is concerned. Immediately I got myself connected the first thing I did was to go to Google because that is the popular place people go to when they are connected to the internet. I then searched for women organization around the world because I have a vision for years to help and empower the women in my community but I did not know how to go about it. The first organization that came into view was Association of Women in Development (AWID). I went straight to the website and click to join the group. The first newsletter I received from the organization, there was this competition organized by WorldPulse, The Voice of Our Future Correspondence (VOF). Since any woman all over the world could be part of the competition, I went straight into it even though I had no knowledge of journalism and web 2.0. It was during this program that I was able to learn, how to access my mail, how to attach documents to mails, how to chat on yahoo and blogging. I also joined facebook and twither through the program. Light was a serious problem in accessing internet in Nigeria, and so during the program I had to go to public cybercafé where they have standby generator because whenever light went off the internet in the office automatically goes off. The problem of the public cybercafé is also another serious problem because they are very few, always congested and taken over by the “yahoo boys” the boys that engage in internet scam. They are very wide, dangerous, fetish and women is always their target. Therefore whenever I had to go to the café, my husband had to follow me as my body guard throughout the time I had to spend there to protect me from being attacked by these boys. To own your personal modem for browsing is very costly and unaffordable for an average civil servant in Nigeria. This discourage many especially the women from venture into accessing internet and so they are contented in being an illiterate as far as internet is concerned. I was in a MDG (Millennium Development Goal) program two years ago as a resource person to give a training workshop to some teachers. In the workshop, I had 50 participants in my class among which there were 37 women. When I asked that how many of them have the knowledge of computer and internet no matter how small, there was none. I was so sad and concerned that when the chairman of the Local Government came to visit us at the venue of the workshop, I made an appeal that the Local government should organize training for the teachers on how to access internet. I also appealed that the teachers should also be given computer on credit to be paid on installment so that they too could be involved in the happenings around the world. To this present moment my appeals have not yielded any positive result. Do not be surprised that all these teachers (participants at the MDG) were all university graduates of many years yet they are complete novice as regards to computer and internet. In the survey I carried out recently, out of the 45% of Nigeria population whom are women according to the last census, less than 15% of this population has some knowledge of internet while only about 5 % actually have access to internet due to the reasons mentioned above. This development brought about my vision to have ‘Females Only’ cybercafé in every state in Nigeria. The ‘female only’ cybercafé will provide a safe place for women to have access to the internet without fear of attack or being molested. There will always be instructor around to teach women coming to the café that have no knowledge of internet on some rudiment on accessing internet. Therefore the café will be an internet training ground for the women, help them to be well informed of happening around the world and also able to raise their voices on issues that concern them and mount pressure on government or any quarter where the right of women are being trampled upon.
Though with tears and with a lot of struggles, power failure and all other hindrances, I made it a point of duty to stay connected on the internet and within the five years of my access to the internet, I have had series of opportunities:-
-Immediately I got connected in 2009, I was able to enter into the program of Voice of Our Future Correspondence organized by worldPulse, met a mentor that is like a guiding angel in my life, won a scholarship to go for Empowerment Training at Empowerment Institute in NewYork. I traveled out of my country and enter a euro plane for the time.
- Through the training I received during the VOF program and additional training from the Global Press Institute online, I am now a journalist and a reporter. Several of my articles have been published by Global press Institute.
-Through the Empowerment Training I attended in NewYork, I was able to meet David and Gail, the founders of the Empowerment Institute and also the founders of Imagine Initiative who gave me the opportunity of being the Imagine program manager in Nigeria.
- The vision to empower women and girls in my community that I have been carrying about for years not knowing how to make it happen became a reality during these few years. My NGO, Women inspiration development center, Ile-Ife, Nigeria was registered with help of Worldpulse board members and Empowerment Institute. The Center in collaboration with Imagine Initiative has organized workshops for about 430 women and girls on ‘Knowing their own truth’. In the center we have helped several women and girls involved in domestic violence and sexual abuse. We have trained several homeless girls on vocations in which they are using now to take care of themselves and their families.
-I now belong to network of women of more than 100,000 people around the world
All these are happening within the few years of my access to internet and I know the sky is the beginning.
With my single lap-top, I have trained fifty-six women and girls on how to access the internet, some of them even joined worldpulse community but their problem is continuous access to internet for them to be able to participate well in the worldpulse community and other social media community. The email address some of them opened during the time I was training them have been closed down because they were not using them as a result of lack of access to internet.
Hear the word of one of the women I am working with, “I my life is not complete by not accessing the internet but what do I do? I just have to continue like this until I am able to afford a lap-top and internet modem”
Another woman that is connected with internet on regular basis has this to say, " My God, I have been missing all these years, there are so many opportunities on the net, I wish I can convince all other women to be doing this, I have been having a swell time my sister".
Therefore I want to say categorically that "Access to internet is like access to life and so being deprive of it is like being deprive of life and when there is no life, the individual is dead". It is therefore pertinent that women should have access to internet globally and this can only be achieved if access to internet is made cheap and within the reach of a common woman and girl so that they can weave the web without tears

This story was written for World Pulse’s Women Weave the Web Digital Action Campaign. Learn more »

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Comments

Celine's picture

Thank you Sis

Thank you Sister Busayo for sharing this piece with us. I also wonder what life would have been for me without the internet.

Cheers,
Celine.

busayo's picture

My pleasure

Sharing this piece is indeed my pleasure, I don't want imagine life without internet. It is no life at all. Thanks for your comments

Love
Busayo

Busayo Obisakin
Women inspiration Development center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria
busobisaki@yahoo.com
womeninspirationcenter@gmail.com
http://womeninspirationce.wix.com/widcng

hmagnussen's picture

This is amazing

Hi Sister Busayo,

I hope I can follow in your footsteps and open a NGO in Boston. You have lived my dream and I am very inspired by your story. Right now I am looking for a job to empower women and can not find one. I want to do just as you have done and help women around the world. Thank you for sharing your story. you are an insperation to us all. =)

busayo's picture

Thanks for the encouragement!

Actually I want to say that it has not been easy maintaining my NGO, I have spent a lot of time money and energy. The dream is what has been keeping me going. I know you will get there my Sister if that is your dream. Keep pressing on and don't loose hope.

Hugs
Busayo

Busayo Obisakin
Women inspiration Development center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria
busobisaki@yahoo.com
womeninspirationcenter@gmail.com
http://womeninspirationce.wix.com/widcng

jadefrank's picture

YES!

Dearest Busayo,

Your vision and determination are great gifts to all of us who are inspired and lifted up by your profound words and bold actions. Keep going my sister and know that we are all cheering you on from across the wires.

Love,
Jade

busayo's picture

Thanks my friend!

Your friendship and support have been keeping me going, when I am feeling weak, I just need to remember that I have my sisters and friends accross the ocean cheering me up and my strength will come back in full force. You are my inspiration and strength. Thank you for being there!

Love
Busayo

Busayo Obisakin
Women inspiration Development center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria
busobisaki@yahoo.com
womeninspirationcenter@gmail.com
http://womeninspirationce.wix.com/widcng

Tam's picture

Joining Hands

Dear Busayo,

My heart overflows to meet you online, my Sister, and to learn of the obstacles that you have overcome to be in touch with everyone in the world. For so many years I have wished for a way to know about what women everywhere in the world are doing toward our common goals. For years, so many of us have tried to learn what was going on, by catching small and irregular radio or television reports. Now, to be able to meet you online, is a gift, and so much stronger, and a great joy.
Your words are inspiring in what you have been able to do, with great courage and facing enormous hurdles. You eloquently paint possible ways for others to follow, to find their own ways, and to leap over their own hurdles. You offer so many down to earth ideas - and you show through your successes how broadly your own work has reached and empowered so many other women. Your writing is powerful, in part because it is so clear that you write from your heart, with such courage, and love. You give me such hope that this international uprising of women's voices is happening, finally, and growing daily. I was encouraged as well to be given so many details by you, of what organisations have been of help along the way, of what structures you have created, and what actual numbers of women who have been able to get access. I was very heartened to read about your determination to stand up to the yahoo boys, and of your ongoing work to create safe, women only cyber spots. Your work in pressing the Government to provide access to teachers is also so important, even if they have not yet responded. So many strong, educated women being held back by an unjust denial of resources. Your description of addressing power outages is a necessary reminder to those of us who have easy access, of the work that remains undone in equalizing resources world wide, and that the work of our movement as women is not finished until we are all free, and all have equal access to the world's resources.
You have accomplished so much in these few short years. I am so thankful for your presence in this world at the same time. You are a sister I have dreamed to be able to meet and be in touch with, for so many years. Please know that I will be watching closely, with joy. May the gentle winds carry you, dear sister.

Tam

busayo's picture

I am so overwhelmed!

Dear Tam,
I am so overwhelmed with your Love and words of encouragement. You are such an inspiration! You see what I am talking about, without access to internet, how would I have met wonderful sister like you. This gives me more encouragement to keep going until I achieve internet access to every woman and girl in Nigeria. Thank you so much for your friendship and Loving words.

BIG HUGS!
Busayo Obisakin
Founder/CEO
Women Inspiration Development Center
Ile-Ife,Nigeria

Busayo Obisakin
Women inspiration Development center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria
busobisaki@yahoo.com
womeninspirationcenter@gmail.com
http://womeninspirationce.wix.com/widcng

busayo's picture

I am so overwhelmed!

Dear Tam,
I am so overwhelmed with your Love and words of encouragement. You are such an inspiration! You see what I am talking about, without access to internet, how would I have met wonderful sister like you. This gives me more encouragement to keep going until I achieve internet access to every woman and girl in Nigeria. Thank you so much for your friendship and Loving words.

BIG HUGS!
Busayo Obisakin
Founder/CEO
Women Inspiration Development Center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria

Busayo Obisakin
Women inspiration Development center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria
busobisaki@yahoo.com
womeninspirationcenter@gmail.com
http://womeninspirationce.wix.com/widcng

smothyz's picture

life change!

i did not know Nigeria has such a big problem with internet connection. i think coming from Kenya where the internet is everywhere even though not so much in the rural areas, i think i am shocked by that revelation. However, i am impressed and blown away for how this access to internet has changed your life. i think because of coming from a place that it is easily accessible, i have taken it for granted, but your article has shined a different light for me.

i pray that you are able to create as many 'female only' cybers in Nigeria and that many women's lives shall be changed/transformed by this initiative. Have you already started or are you still in the process of establishing one?

Claudia.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only LOVE can do that. -Martin Luther King Jnr.

busayo's picture

Thank you Claudia!

Thank you Claudia for you words, i really appreciate your contribution. I wish we are as lucky as you are in your country as far as internet access is concerned. I have not started the cybercafe yet but I have started helping people one way or the other to have little little access to internet through my Laptop, taking them to cafe in groups.
The Struggle continues!

Love
Busayo Obisakin
Founder/CEO
Women Inspiration Development Center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria

Busayo Obisakin
Women inspiration Development center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria
busobisaki@yahoo.com
womeninspirationcenter@gmail.com
http://womeninspirationce.wix.com/widcng

smothyz's picture

Indeed!

We all have to start small so long as we keep focused on the goal which is always bigger. Keep at it, the Cybers wilk be birthed sooner than you think.

Blessings.
Claudia.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only LOVE can do that. -Martin Luther King Jnr.

Lea's picture

Dear Busayo, What an

Dear Busayo,

What an inspiring essay! It's truly heartening to read how despite the many challenges you were faced with when trying to access the internet, you persevered. You did not let the high cost of owning a modem and computer, harassment from the yahoo boys, lack of institutional support stop you from accessing the internet and from training other women on how to use it. Where people saw difficulties, you saw opportunity. Nothing could keep you from speak out and from creating your own NGO. I really wish you all the best and support you in your goal to continue to empower women and to help them share their stories with the WorldPulse community. Thank you for showing so much passion and dedication!

busayo's picture

Thank you Lea!

Thank you Lea for kind words, The vision and the passion is what have been keeping me going and by God's grace I will continue to forge ahead. Nigerian women and girls despite their background, financial status must have the opportunity of discovering their potentials and maximize them.
I really appreciate you and I am inspired the more by your words!

Love
Busayo Obisakin
Founder/CEO
Women Inspiration Development Center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria

Busayo Obisakin
Women inspiration Development center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria
busobisaki@yahoo.com
womeninspirationcenter@gmail.com
http://womeninspirationce.wix.com/widcng

busayo's picture

Thank you Lea!

Thank you Lea for kind words, The vision and the passion is what have been keeping me going and by God's grace I will continue to forge ahead. Nigerian women and girls despite their background, financial status must have the opportunity of discovering their potentials and maximize them.
I really appreciate you and I am inspired the more by your words!

Love
Busayo Obisakin
Founder/CEO
Women Inspiration Development Center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria

Busayo Obisakin
Women inspiration Development center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria
busobisaki@yahoo.com
womeninspirationcenter@gmail.com
http://womeninspirationce.wix.com/widcng

binapatel33's picture

Thank you

A great post on technology and your use of it.I wanted to hear your voice in this piece and I heard it well!

Founder/CEO
hc Mediate
Resolving Conflict One Client at a Time
www.hcmediate.com

Kind Regards,
Bina Patel
hc Mediate, LLC
www.hcmediate.com

busayo's picture

Thank you too!

Thank you Bina for your response, I really appreciate it

Love
Busayo

Busayo Obisakin
Women inspiration Development center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria
busobisaki@yahoo.com
womeninspirationcenter@gmail.com
http://womeninspirationce.wix.com/widcng

Trudy's picture

The Power of One

Dear Busayo, so often we believe that if we are just one person, then how can we change the world? Your beautiful caring and persistent personality shows us that real change starts with just one person. Thank you so much! Please hold your vision and continue to let us know how your work evolves!

Sue (aka Trudy)

-------------------------------------------------------

"It's kind of fun to do the impossible."
(Walt Disney)

busayo's picture

Thank you Sue

Thank you so much Sue, you are such an inspiration!! yes we can change the world one step at a time and then another we will get there.

HUGS!!
Busayo Obisakin
CEO/Founder
Women Inspiration Development Center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria

Busayo Obisakin
Women inspiration Development center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria
busobisaki@yahoo.com
womeninspirationcenter@gmail.com
http://womeninspirationce.wix.com/widcng

Julia O'Byrne's picture

I loved reading your post!

Hi Busayo!
I was enthralled from the moment I started reading your post. I didn't know that access to the internet in Nigeria was so difficult. I am very inspired by all your amazing efforts and accomplishments to get online, and help other women to get online too. I think it's so cool that you got to go to New York for empowerment training and that you have founded your own organization. I am so impressed, and also, though I don't know you, feel so proud that there are women like you doing these amazing things in other parts of the world. I was also really struck by what you said about internet cafes not being safe for women. It is fortunate that your husband would go with you but I completely agree with you about needing women only internet cafes. Your post was a real eye-opener for me in that I learned about all the problems (safety, lack of electricity) for getting online but also I learned about ways to combat those problems and improve access.

All my best wishes,
Julia

busayo's picture

Thank you Julia

Thank you so much Julia for your encouraging response. I really appreciate your contributions.
I was able to give full details of internet access problem in Nigeria because It is my story, I was at the center of it all and I want my other sisters in the country to be free of these obstacles. We need to be connected to the world.
Thanks once again!

Hugs
Busayo Obisakin
CEO/Founder
Women Inspiration Development center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria

Busayo Obisakin
Women inspiration Development center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria
busobisaki@yahoo.com
womeninspirationcenter@gmail.com
http://womeninspirationce.wix.com/widcng

Fiona J McKenzie's picture

So much information!

Hi Busayo,

Thank you for this post - it conveys so clearly your own passion for the internet and the hard and sometimes difficult journey you've had to reach where you are now, and it maps out some of the enormous problems you and other women in Nigeria face.

Like some of the other readers I too was shocked to realise how little access there is to the internet, and how practical problems such as power-supplies and lack of government support for supporting teachers, hinder women from realising their potential through the power of the net.

I think your 'women-only' cyber cafes are a brilliant idea - not only because it counters the sexual aggression that women have to endure using ordinary cafes (you're lucky that your husband was able to protect you but other woman might not have that good fortune), but also because they could become centres of education where women can become internet-savvy.

I wish you all the best and hope you achieve your vision. Hats off to you!

Best wishes,

Fiona

Fiona McKenzie

busayo's picture

Thank you Fiona!

Thank you Fiona for your wonderful response! i really appreciate your words of encouragement

Love
Busayo

Busayo Obisakin
Women inspiration Development center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria
busobisaki@yahoo.com
womeninspirationcenter@gmail.com
http://womeninspirationce.wix.com/widcng

SanPatagonia's picture

inspiring!

You made me think about what I do with my laptop and the Internet connection I take for granted every day... and I deeply thank you for it!
When I got to your line - "With my single lap-top, I have trained fifty-six women and girls on how to access the internet", I thought you'll never stop trying to widen access and opportunities. Such an inspiration!
Stay strong, Busayo!!! You "Female Only cybercafés" idea is something to go for!

Love,
San

@SanPatagonia
Be a voice, tell a story, start the fire. | Sé una voz, cuenta una historia, enciende el fuego.

busayo's picture

Thank you!

Thank you my sister for encouraging words but I just have to help my other sisters to access the internet. I want them to live their lives to the fullest and so they must be connected. I just wished that I will be to achieve the vision of the "Female only cybercafe and Library" It will go a long way in alleviating the problem of women and girls access to internet in Nigeria
I appreciate you!

Love
Busayo

Busayo Obisakin
Women inspiration Development center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria
busobisaki@yahoo.com
womeninspirationcenter@gmail.com
http://womeninspirationce.wix.com/widcng

Karly N's picture

Powerful words!

Dear Busayo,

Your words are inspirational, but what is even more powerful is your action. I am deeply inspired by your courage and strength to take such radical but necessary steps to defy the norm and start creating true and actual change. It is women like you who help all of us to see that we have tremendous power to create change.

Your words: "Access to internet is like access to life and so being deprive of it is like being deprive of life and when there is no life, the individual is dead" resonate so true for so many. Thank you for writing these words to share, and thank you for all of the beautiful work you are doing for others AND for yourself.

With admiration,

Karly

Rachel J's picture

Unstoppable!

Dear Busayo,

Thank you for sharing your story. You are quite ambitious! I really enjoyed reading about how you recognized the void in your life and took the initiative to fill that void, despite what your colleagues said about how you should spend your bank loan. Not only did your laptop benefit you and your family, but it continues to benefit girls and women who have been trained by you. You're helping them to fill that same void by giving them access to a world of possibilities, and I'm happy to hear that many of them are now connected to World Pulse. You've overcome many obstacles with power outages and dangerous men, which is indicative of your perseverance. Where others may get discouraged, you rise to the challenge, and I admire your trail-blazing tenacity. I am also very impressed by your work as a journalist and the fact that many of your articles have been published. I wish you all the best in launching your 'female only' cyber cafes.
Thank you for all of hard work in empowering women!

With respect and many rounds of applause,

Rachel

busayo's picture

Thank you Racheal!

Thank you so much Racheal! you have made my day with your words of encouragement. Your words gives me more courage and strengthens me that all the effort I have put on so far to help others in my community worth it. I am highly more inspired than ever to continue to raise my voice for the voiceless and to aspire for what will make the lives of every Nigeria woman and girls better. I really appreciate you!

Hugs
Busayo

Busayo Obisakin
Women inspiration Development center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria
busobisaki@yahoo.com
womeninspirationcenter@gmail.com
http://womeninspirationce.wix.com/widcng

phoang's picture

Thank you for your thoughtful words

Dear Busayo,

Thank you so much for sharing your story. It's heartwarming and admirable to read about desire to learn more about the Internet/technology and your insistence on helping other women do the same. I'm so happy to know you've been pushing to establish a female-only cybercafe. Everyone should be able to access the Internet and learn in a safe environment. I sincerely hope that you get your wish. Please know that we are all cheering you on.

Phuong

busayo's picture

Thank you!

Thank you phuong, I really appreciate your response and encouragement. I will keep on pushing on till the vision of female only cybercafé is realized. Nigerian women have the right to have a safe place for internet and connection to others round the world.

Love
Busayo

Busayo Obisakin
Women inspiration Development center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria
busobisaki@yahoo.com
womeninspirationcenter@gmail.com
http://womeninspirationce.wix.com/widcng

louise pare's picture

Enlightening and powerful!

Busayo,
I feel overwhelmed by the power of your writing, the power of your work and the power of YOU!!

THANK YOU SO MUCH for writing such an incredible story of your own relationship with the internet and the work that you are doing to bring it to many other Nigerian women. I have shared your story on my FB page and will also share it with the women in my class "Moonrise: Global Women Leading From the Heart". It is so important to bring this knowledge to as many people as possible.

I admire your passion and dedication to weaving women together through the web.

You are one amazing woman!

Louise

Louise

busayo's picture

Thank you too!

Thank you too Louise, I really appreciated your encouragement and inspiring words. Thank you for the steps you are taken to publicise this article. I can not just keep quiet because I have been blessed so much through internet and Worldpulse. I have to help other Nigerian women and girls to also have this opportunity. Without equality in internet, it might so difficult to achieve gender equality.

Love
Busayo Obisakin
Founder/ CEO
Women Inspiration Development Centre
Ile-Ife, Nigeria

Busayo Obisakin
Women inspiration Development center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria
busobisaki@yahoo.com
womeninspirationcenter@gmail.com
http://womeninspirationce.wix.com/widcng

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