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My Beautiful Lace Woven From Links

Dr Okello receiving the 2013 Digital Woman of the Year Award

In my community women are the best weavers of baskets, mats and crafts. I want to believe that their brains are also woven this way. This is art, talent, and endowment from God our maker.

I first used a computer in 1996 in my place of work in a rural district and I had never occurred to me that it would go beyond facilitating me write reports. I signed up for my email address four years later in a foreign country with just a handful of people to communicate with via email. Nothing really seemed exciting. I would check on my emails once a month because there seemed nothing urgent and compelling.

Over the years, a lot of improvements and applications have been added that have made weaving the internet fascinating. Search engines have enabled exploration for anything you want. I have successfully looked out for opportunities on the internet. Such as employment, personal development (vital voices Leadership fellowship, Virtual Leadership Development Programme, Voices of Our Future Fellowship, personal growth are opportunities I have got through weaving the internet.

Social net works such as Facebook, twitter, linkedin are what I use to network with my contacts. I majorly use Facebook to connect and network with over 600 people, on My World Pulse community -240, linkedin over 500: I have 96 followers and follow 120 on twitter. A quick analysis of membership in my networks shows two thirds of my networks are women because of my interest in women issues. I have also created discussion groups on these platforms which have been very instrumental in me learning more from other women and parts of the world. If not how would I have been able to know and appreciate what happens in the other parts of the world?

My turning point was when I met fellow women on World Pulse who shared experiences, resources, offered encouragement through engagement and participation in various campaigns through this platform of the internet. The ‘My journal’ is a great feature that has encouraged sharing our stories with our connections. This has nurtured and opened me up.

I have a website that is http://aliasourroots.com. We are harnessing the power of the internet to connect women on a mentoring programme. We nurture women for virtues and values. Empowering Women through Mentoring (EWoM) is dedicated to empowering women through mentoring. Our Goal is to guide young women achieve their life goals and become leaders. Experience shows that women are more successful when they have access to mentors who can help them navigate the ‘unwritten rules.’ EWoM seeks to mentor young women from various backgrounds to achieve their dreams and to implement social change activities that change lives and communities. Young women and girls are looking up to people (mentors) for support: encouragement, motivation, inspiration knowledge and sharing experiences so that they can maximize their potential, develop skills, improve performance, achieve life goals and become the person she wants to be and contribute to bringing about the change she wants to see in her community. We are harnessing the power of the internet (email and skype and telephone) to connect women from across the other parts of the world and women in Uganda.

I endeavor to access the internet at least three times a week if I’m in a no internet access area. Otherwise, I do it on a daily basis. There is a lot to do with the internet.

Dr. Dorothy Okello’s story excited women like me on her super achievement. Dr. Okello has distinguished herself among a vast and talented pool of candidates from across Africa for her work to increase participation of girls and women in digital sectors in Africa and around the world. She is Africa’s first-ever Digital Woman of the Year, an honor bestowed upon her at an Africa ICT Days gala ceremony for the Digital Woman Award finalist that took place on 16 November 2013 in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

I acknowledge the challenge of access to internet due to high costs and low appreciation among women in these places. However, to address this problem, we are now sourcing for support to establish 2 internet access sites in Kumi and Pakwach so that our mentees can connect easily with their mentors and also involve more women in using the internet for development. Your support is welcome. I have to invest in internet especially if I’m working at home. I can access internet from office but I cannot have adequate time for my personal work. But can check my emails from office.
Sometimes, there is a tendency for some people to think that everyone on these social networks is seeking for a love relationship. Government (Ministry of ICT) also needs to create more awareness on internet security and how to avoid risks such as hacking into our email accounts. Many young women have been victims of such scams especially on Facebook, let alone making it affordable and accessible to all.

Together we can interest more women in weaving the internet and we shall have the whole world harnessing digital power for empowerment and development.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J28h_tA22y0

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

Myself sharing how I use internet to network.

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Comments

kellyannaustin's picture

I loved how you used the

I loved how you used the weaving metaphor throughout your piece. Very inspiring! The idea of weaving relationships is so compelling. And it really is what we do whether we connect on the internet or in person. Thank you.

Wishing you strength in your endeavors,

Kelly

ikirimat's picture

Thank you Kelly for reading

Thank you Kelly for reading my journal and appreciating.

Grace Ikirimat

"It takes the hammer of persistence to drive the nail of success."


Ridingthecamel's picture

Your own experiences as well

Your own experiences as well as your endeavors sound challenging and at the same time exciting and encouraging.
I hope you will be able to reach out and empower many more women through EWOM
and that you will be able to continue sharing your own experiences as well.

Out of a personal interest, would you perhaps be willing to keep us updated on the plans for establishing the two internet sites? I really hope all will work out well!

Thank you for sharing this with us!

CamelRider

ikirimat's picture

Dear CamelRider, I am glad

Dear CamelRider,

I am glad and encouraged that reading my own experience on ICT has been enriching. yes, I will definitely keep all posted on how the EWoM programme progresses. So far we are reaching out to possible individuals and organizations for possible support.We shall also need IT assistants (with basic computer skills) in the 2 centers. If you know any who support such initiatives,I will be glad to know.

Regards

Grace Ikirimat

"It takes the hammer of persistence to drive the nail of success."


Sarah Whitten-Grigsby's picture

Dear Grace . . .

Thank you so much for this excellent piece of work!

From the start, where you open with that wonderful analogy of the way women's brains are woven, to telling your own history of Internet use, to the ways in which the Internet has continued to develop and then the ways in which you now benefit the most from your many, woven Internet connections, it is thorough, informative and beautifully presented.

Your discovery of World Pulse and the way it joined you with other women, as well as recognizing the value of your Journal are terrific, crucial points to include, and I appreciate your use of the word, "nurture," which I feel is at the heart of everything we should all stand for.

EWoM sounds terrific and I applaud your work in that arena. I couldn't get into your web site but I believe I know why, and will again shortly.

I smiled when I read that some people think the Internet is mostly for seeking love relationships! That, too, is eye-opening.

So, Dear Grace, thank you, and may your ongoing efforts to make the world a better place find loving support.

With Admiration and Gratitude,

Sarah

ikirimat's picture

Hello Sarah, reading your

Hello Sarah,
reading your comments made me happy and encouraged. I am sorry about the mix up in the website. Here is the correct on http://aliasourroots.com/. Thank you so much and I look forward to further interaction and sharing.

Grace Ikirimat

"It takes the hammer of persistence to drive the nail of success."


HeidiSB's picture

THANK YOU!

Dear Ikirimat,

Thank you for your wonderful post. I remember my own journey of discovery with the internet. The first time I sent an email was in 1994, and I will never forget my astonishment at being able to send a "letter" from the United States all the way to Australia, and then get a response within just a few minutes!! And look how far we have come since then.

I like your concrete examples of your networks, and how you use them to start discussions on women's issues, and to network. It reminds me of Jampa's post http://worldpulse.com/node/84601 where she talks about increasing women's access to the internet by just trying to reach 5 others, and then allowing the information to spread. The power of networking is strong, and these clear examples of how one person can make a difference are very inspiring to me. We must all continue to support and talk about the importance of these issues, including your passion of mentoring young women. What great work you are doing!!!

(I, too, had trouble with the link in your article, but I think that was because the word "we" from the next sentence got included. I went to http://hostalitecloud.com/ewom/ and was able to read the excellent home page. )

I wish you all the best in your continued efforts,
Heidi

ikirimat's picture

Thank you Heidi for your

Thank you Heidi for your positive comments. I have corrected the link. here it is http://aliasourroots.com/ . I look forward to our continued discussion as we seek solutions for our communities through networking.

Grace Ikirimat

"It takes the hammer of persistence to drive the nail of success."


Kadidia's picture

Weaving the web

Ikirimat,

This is nicely written. I enjoyed learning about your own introduction to technology and how you took ownership of this new tool to make it available to other women. I would love to have more details about your activities and how you approach women to speak about technology. You are amazing. Worldpulse is a wonderful platform for women to meet andexchange and we need women like you to make it happen. Congratulations on this wonderful work!

Kadidia Doumbia

ikirimat's picture

Hello Kadidia, Thank you for

Hello Kadidia,

Thank you for appreciating the piece of writing. yes, its not easy to break through the barriers women face in accepting and embracing ICT especially culture and attitude; also the low levels of education among women. But sharing my own experience and benefits of ICT has yielded good results of appreciation and acceptability. But also the high costs need to be tackled to enable women of low incomes afford ICT.

Together we can change the world.

Grace Ikirimat

"It takes the hammer of persistence to drive the nail of success."


Kadidia's picture

Hello Grace

You're a role model. I may use your experience to start the same project in the Ivory Coast under your guidance.
Thank you for sharing your story on the Worldpulse platform.

Kadidia Doumbia

Dear Ikirimat, congratulations on your encouraging and compelling article. Your experience in using the Internet is a fine example to other women in Africa and elsewhere. I agree with you that safety is an issue, especially for young, trusting girls. Do you see education helping with this issue? Thanks again for your article, Ikirimat, it is well written and memorable.
blessings,
William

ikirimat's picture

Dear William, Your comments

Dear William,

Your comments are uplifting. I want to agree with you that education would be a fine solution to have the young generation embrace ICT. Yes government policy is slowing beginning to address this but the rural areas are still disadvantaged due to inadequate facilities such as electricity. Even the subjects at school do not demand that ICT be priority.
People just need to connect how ICT will improve on their lives, then they can demand for it.

Grace Ikirimat

"It takes the hammer of persistence to drive the nail of success."


mlf's picture

Lace

Your metaphor of lace is lovely. I appreciate reading about your experiences. Your description of your early days with email reminded me of mine and I had to smile. I remember sitting in a workshop sometime in the early 1990's learning for the first time about email. I did not see much potential in it and could not really imagine its usefulness. I also remember being introduced to the worldwide web and being so frustrated in that frequently in those early days many of the links were broken/did not work and I thought this is more trouble than it is worth. So learning new technology and adapting to change seem to be a universal experience, although I am sure your experience was much more challenging than mine. Now you and I can communicate half way around the world in a matter of seconds, both through this post and by viewing your lovely website. Amazing!
In reading of your mentoring program I was also reminded of the very special women who have mentored me through learning the unspoken/unwritten rules necessary to function successfully in the world. I am extremely grateful to them and to you for fostering mentorship through your program.
Miriam

ikirimat's picture

Dear Miriam, Sharing your

Dear Miriam,

Sharing your similar experience in ICT encourages me. Yes, i have used my own experience to encourage other women to embrace ICT for development. It is my dream that the EWoM programme will turn out to be a big contributor to women's empowerment.

My regards

Grace Ikirimat

"It takes the hammer of persistence to drive the nail of success."


RosemaryC's picture

Weaving women together

Dear Grace:

It is wonderful to read about Empowering Women through Mentoring, and congratulations on this initiative. I visited your website and was so happy to see that you had pictures of mentees and mentors on the website. I wondered how you find your mentors, and whether you are needing more, as I would think there might be lots of people on World Pulse who might be interested in being considered.
I also was so pleased to read about Dr. Akello's award. I have been to Makerere University and know how many extremely talented and creative people teach there, and I was so delighted to hear Dr. Akello speak on the You Tube link you posted.
Like others, I enjoyed the images you used in your story - the lace and the weaving in particular, and how you move from the idea of weaving lace into the idea of weaving women together through the internet. For me, it evokes the idea that women can stay at home and use their traditional crafts to earn a living while still being connected with the outside world.

Best wishes,
Rosemary

ikirimat's picture

Dear Rosemary, Thank you for

Dear Rosemary,
Thank you for being keen on the EWoM Programme. I have been able to find mentors through WP network but we still need more mentors. So if you and friends are interested, please drop me a mail and we pick on the conversation from there. I look forward hearing from you.

Grace Ikirimat

"It takes the hammer of persistence to drive the nail of success."


RosemaryC's picture

Happy to mentor :)

Dear Grace:
I would be honoured to be a mentor. I will send you my email address via a private message.
I hope that others who are taking part in this campaign also will volunteer to be a mentor, and I would be happy to share information about your program with my friends on Facebook, if you think that would be useful.
Best wishes,
Rosemary

ikirimat's picture

Dear Rosemary, Thank you for

Dear Rosemary,
Thank you for the prompt response. i have sent you an email with details of how to become a mentor. I look forward to matching you with a woman.

Again thankyou for opening your heart to mould a woman in Uganda

Grace Ikirimat

"It takes the hammer of persistence to drive the nail of success."


Kika Sylvie Katchunga's picture

Very happy to hear this

Very happy to hear this confirmation saying that women are the best weavers of baskets, mats and crafts but many do not know. Your efforts to provide women / girls to give capacity to acquire more knowledge and information in various fields is a great job. Congratulations and Courage

sylvie

Amb. Paul Lengar's picture

From Sierra Leone

I commend you all for your work

Amb Paul Lengar
Country coordinator
Youth Millennium Development Ambassadors Sierra Leone
+23278442956
isslcouncil2@gmail.com
www.mdgambassadors.org

Lylinaguas's picture

Very Well Said!

I love how you started out with your analogy on women weavers and their brains. You smoothly and simply expressed how you started out with the internet and how it has evolved into a major means of communicating and expanding your network especially on mentoring women to achieve their goals and become good leaders.You have pointed out the significance as well as the challenges in accessing the internet.

You're also doing a great job with your EWoM project. Congratulations! you have certainly put digital access to very good use to uplift women in your community. I wsh you all the best!

Lylin

Lylin

Elisaacs's picture

I love your project

It is very interesting your project related with the empowerment of women. You are an example for other communities that tries to start to promote this idea. Also for me! I want to start a project related with yours. Perhaps we can join forces one day :)

Thank you very much for your post!

Regards from Spain,

Eli

Vision40's picture

Sharing weaving

Many years ago I visited Samoa and shared a special time with a group of ladies weaving mats for their homes. On departure from the village I was pleasantly surprised to receive a large woven mat as a gift. Today my children sit on this in my classroom at school and learn to read. It also opens up the conversation about weaving, women, family and geography. We are always weaving.

I also like your point about correcting misconceptions, that the internet may only be seen as a way of seeking love relationships...by your work with supporting mentors to pass on the knowledge to their mentees then the valuable messages you wish to get across will filter through to the next generation. Each step you take is valuable in the bigger picture.
Keep up the great work

First you need to believe you can
Take care
Nicola

aimeeknight's picture

Hello Grace, Thank you, for

Hello Grace,
Thank you, for sharing your journey of access and empowerment with the help of social networking and World Pulse. Your writing is excellent and very inspiring! I am one that is pleased to know you through World Pulse and other networking sites.

"One shoe can change a life" ~ Cinderella

Riya's picture

Thank you for sharing..

Dear Ms. Ikirimat,

Thank you for sharing your experience with us. Through your experience, anyone can see how useful the Internet can be for personal growth and opportunities. However, sometimes navigating the system can be overwhelming and challenging. Through out the last 10 years the Internet has been a vital part of people’s lives.

It is awesome that you are working in changing many young girls and women’s lives through EWoM. I hope the amount of women and girls participating in digital media will increase and every nation will put effort towards educating women and girls in this particular sector.

Again, thank you very much for the post.

Peace,

Riya

Ashleigh Lauren's picture

Wow.

Grace,

Thank you for sharing your story. You were able to combine complex development ideas with the beautiful imagery of basket weaving to show how we can use the internet to mentor and improve lives.

I was especially taken with your website and mentoring program: Empowering Women through Mentoring (EWoM). I would love to hear more about how you started this organization and how it's developing.

Thanks again and have a great day.

Ashleigh Bugg

amymorros's picture

Lots of Links

Thank you! I saw that so many people had commented on your journal entry and now I know why! What a great metaphor you have used to make such a vital and important point. And we are linked together too! And thank you for mentioning internet scams and security which are sadly very prevalent these days and need to be more widely addressed.
I wish you the best of luck.

Amy
@amyinstl

Pushpa Achanta's picture

Informative writing

Dear sister,

Glad to see this insightful piece. Hope to read more from you.

Best,
Pushpa

louise pare's picture

Beautiful weaving

Grace,
Your piece is beautiful, heart-strengthening, inspiring and beautifully woven. I loved the links that you included
about your work. What a great website! What great work you are doing! I also loved the youtube link to the speech by Dr. Okello. The pictures you included also brought me closer to you and your story. Thanks for including those as well.

I loved the way you wove together your personal story with information about the condition of women and girls in your community. Your personal story took me back to when I first learned to use a computer. It was a woman who mentored me through all the confusion of those beginnings. Mentoring is so important and I thank you for creating this wonderful program for your community.

How do women become mentors in your program? I'd love to hear more about that process.

Thank you for your writing and your work.

Louise in Ashland, OR, USA

Louise

Kjir's picture

The power of mentoring

Hello!

Thank you for the very impactful work you do. I agree that mentoring is such a powerful way to help women navigate their world. Because of your work, there are many women that benefit in a way that empowers them to achieve their goals and realize their full potential.

Kjirsten

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