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Women Weaving Web at the Lagos Social Media Week

I waved my hand as I saw Busayo Obisakin seated amongst the audience while waiting for other panelists at the Social Media Week event going on at the Sheraton Hotel in Lekki Lagos. Busayo saw my hand, waved and smiled back, we have never met in person except online and we have been great sisters since 2009. Meeting her was like meeting a sister we live together, she was not a stranger, hugging her was not strange at all, surprisingly, we continued our discussion where we stopped the previous meet up through e mal conversation.

We represented World pulse; our online community, at the event. It bought back the reminiscence of old memories, the journey on this online platform in the last five years. It is inspiring, meeting a close sister for the first time in life and walking together, clapping, hugging smiling and chatting with no hold barred. No fear, no strange or ill feeling, just emitting love, World pulse sister love.

As we were ushered into the high table with other panelists who are fellow women internet gurus, we were all smiled because we were armed with good stories about our presence and progress in World pulse. The programme anchor began with the question of internet safety and my take is simple; "the web is a reflection of the world" who and what we are online is who and what we are offline; no matter how successfully pretentious we can become when others are watching.

Women are unsafe in the real world, which is why they are unsafe in the virtual world, because the people we meet online are the same people that other women interact in the real day to day affair. The web shows the world, the world. That is why if we substitute the world with cyber in the following phrases, it will give us the same meaning, no arguments whatsoever; cyber bulling and street bullying, school bullying, cyber crime and world crime, street crimes, cyber insecurity and world insecurity, cyber killing and street killings, the way some women are disrespected and bullied online, is also the same way that some women disrespected and bullied offline. Some women are being violated online so also are women violated offline; on the streets of Kabul, Delhi, Lahore, Lagos etc.

Women love safe surfing, internet has reduced the world to a global community. Women want peace at home and peace online because online is a home to most bloggers, and surfers, some women transact business online while others use the internet to showcase their talents and ideas. Who does not want peace of mind, respect and safety where she is earning her livelihood? The web is the world of some women. We all love a world without war. War of words is as dangerous as the war of bomb and bullets, that is why cyber death and war death make no difference, death is death. It must be avoided and women must be protected.

The web will become safe for women when the world is safe for women. When will the world be safe for women?

So long as we do not have a readymade answer for the aforementioned question, we will continue to seek avenue to make the web a safer place for women through policies and empowerment programmes for women internet users amongst several suggestions for women’s safety online. The bottom line is that we must not stop talking, agitating, educating and raising the safety issue for the relevant stakeholders to act on behalf of women.

My personal journey in, on and through WorldPulse earned me a thunderous clap, the password that was supposed to be a secret code was not applicable to me 6 years ago. Whenever I enter a public cyber café, I will have to write my password for the café official to help me to check my e-mail; I do not know how to use a computer or an internet device 6 years ago. I was a market woman trading in fairly used products. As far as I was concerned, facebook was a nonsensical site for jobless people. why will I be on facebook when I sell used spoons, pots and pans at Westminster, Apapa road, Lagos?

When I joined World Pulse, I could only type with a finger; my index finger. I could type two or three pages with this finger, its always as if I was having a fight with the keyboard, punching on it as if my hens were punching their daily maize meal.

Nowadays, my story has changed.

World Pulse brought out the genius in me, this is what I wish for every “WOMAN WITHOUT WEB” especially those women who are willing to make a drastic change from the root. My password is so protected that it is written in Owo dialect, my tribal dialect, it is even the name of the king that ruled in in Owo in 1701.

My typing speed can only be compared to that of a confidential secretary, I do not have to look at any keyboard before I could type anything on my laptop, a cyber scammer cannot compete with me anymore, I have a faster speed.

Lastly, the event hall was filled with deafening ovation when I introduced my 77 years old aunt who just finished her 6 months Diploma in Computer training in last month in Bedford, UK. In addition, I made my clarion call to men who are present amongst the audience and online listeners that “ the world should wake up and accept the fact that this world is our world, therefore, nobody is leaving this world for another person, it is not any man’s world, the world is for all of us; online or offline, we should get used to the presence of one another and to the presence of each other, either online and offline. The world we live in today, is no longer a man’s world, its everyone’s world and the online community is everyone’s web; we must work together to create the world and web we want for peaceful coexistence.

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

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Comments

LeanaM's picture

Thank you!

Olutosin, thank you so much for sharing your experience with all of us. I watched a short clip of you speaking, and it was clear that the entire audience was cheering you on! You are such a great representative of World Pulse and our community, and also such a passionate and thoughtful speaker. I am amazed and touched by your ideas, your words, your photos and your story. Thank you for sharing that with all of us!

olutosin's picture

thanks for the Opportunty

I am happy to represent us. I've been hitching for a forum like this for Worldpulse sisters.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Y's picture

Bravo! You are one mighty

Bravo! You are one mighty powerful woman, Tosin!

Yvette

olutosin's picture

Thanks Thanks Thanks

I appreciate you always. Thanks again.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Fiona J McKenzie's picture

How inspiring!

Hi Olutusin,

I'd been reading the posts that your friend Busayo had written for Women Weave the Web and chanced on your piece in another part of this site and was so amazed to see you mention Busayo - an example of the connectivity of the web in action!

Your progress through the web and through World Pulse is inspirational and I'm glad you're able to share this to encourage others. All power to those tapping fingers of yours :)

Best wishes,

Fiona

Fiona McKenzie

olutosin's picture

Thanks so much

I appreciate you for the comment. Thanks thanks Thanks,

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

kellyannaustin's picture

inspiring!

So glad it went so well! You must have inspired some folk with your talk because your words are inspiring to me oh-so-many miles away. :)

Wishing you continued success,

Kelly

olutosin's picture

Thanks so much for the comnent

We made new friends at the venue too :)

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Celine's picture

Hi Sister

Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

Celine

olutosin's picture

Welcome sister

Thanks too for reading the wonderful experience.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Greengirl's picture

You are amazing!

I caught a vivid glimpse of the beauty of the event through the eyes of your words. Congratulations on another success. Lovely pics too.

Keep soaring!

Best Wishes,
Greengirl

olutosin's picture

It was a great event sister...

Thanks for the comment my sister, it was a great event.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Francis Onyekwue's picture

Well done

My dear,
this is wonderful, i am proud of you as a Nigerian woman. I think many women in Nigeria today should be encouraged to follow your foot steps.
Be courageous in what you are doing. These testimony of yours should wake women up to discover that hidden potential in them.
Be good.
Francis.

olutosin's picture

Thanks my brother

Thanks again.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

tjron1's picture

Dear Olutosin

Your article made me smile. With one page, you have shown how women learning computers and accessing the Web has made all of us one community. You are a gift. I think that both you and your aunt should be very proud! I remember when I first discovered computers and how learning to program computers "made me smarter". It changed my life. I am so glad that it has changed yours.

Your article warmed my heart.

I wonder how using computers could truly be used to help women be safer and smarter.

Sincerely,
Tammy Hayes

olutosin's picture

Appreciation

I appreciate your comment, thanks so much.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

bitani's picture

Inspiring

Olutosin, your story is very inspiring. I wish every woman in the poorest corners of developing countries, and the elderly homes in the richest countries can read your story, and get motivated and inspired to learn and fill their place online.

my regards to you and your world pulse sister.

Bayan

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else."
—Judy Garland

olutosin's picture

Thank You!

I truly wish that people can learn from what the web is doing in our lives too; all over the world.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

William's picture

You've come a long way, baby.

My dear sister Olutosin. You have come so far from your first article filled with anger and now you are a teacher and a "guru." Good for you: you have observed; practiced; learned compassion and trust; and you are a more complete "independent woman" now and best of all you now have A FUTURE, one you control. When I pray for you each morning I feel a special glow as I watch you "become" what you are intended to be. Rush, don't walk now, but run toward that goal and know that you are surrounded by many of us who are cheering for you and believe in you. I love you, sister.
William

olutosin's picture

I LOVE YOU

My Dearest, I know about your daily prayers for us and I normally tell people that you pray for us and for me especially. You are Good and you will continually be blessed, Thanks you so much. Thanks again. I will rush and I will run towards the goal of leaving this world a better place than I met it.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

William's picture

You are a winner

My dear sister, I know you are already running toward your goal. It shows not only to me but to many others as well. We, the citizens of the world, need you as a role model. I'm often humbled when I pray for you and think about all the luxuries I take for granted, like clean drinking water and electricity and all the gadgets that runs. Be well, be hopeful :-)

olutosin's picture

THANK YOU Will

Thanks so much, I know, its not easy in the developing world, especially when I have to wait till 1 am everyday to check my e mail because ther eis no electricity during the daytime.

So many challenges of people living in the developing world, May God help us.

Thank You

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

William's picture

Have hope

And you know that God is helping you, my sister. Many people from around the world are being moved to "make a difference" which means help for you. God will provide.
William

olutosin's picture

GOOD LEADERSHIP

The major famine that is causing poverty in Africa is LEADERSHIP. May God provide GOOD LEADERS FOR US. AMEN.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

William's picture

greed and lust for power

Sister, the lust for power is in all countries, along with the huge amounts of money available through corruption. Look at Putim and Russia thinking they can invade and grab land, while the whole world is watching them. I'm afraid that change in the world will take many generations....so you and I must focus on what we can change now, then plant seeds for real change hoping they will grow at some point.
William hopeful

olutosin's picture

AMEN

Yes, so true. We will plant seed and pray that they grow and grow and grow to become great Leaders that the World needs so desperately.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Dear Olutosin,

Thank you so much for sharing your story of connecting and learning through Worldpulse, and the internet. The courage and patience you had and continue to have to press forward and connect with other strong women like yourself is truly inspiring. You are overcoming obstacles, and sharing your knowledge and passion with others. What a gift to give!

I look forward to reading more of your journey!

In Hope and Peace,
Ann Fishburn
Listener

I appreciate you so much and the new connection we are enjoying from now on....

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

smothyz's picture

interesting!

it is amazing what when one is hungry for change, what that hunger can stir up. your article denotes that and it is also amazing to see how much your world has changed because of internet. thank you for sharing.

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.

olutosin's picture

Thaks for reading

Hunger and thirst for change can endure any challenge.
Thanks for this comment, it strengthens.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Ridingthecamel's picture

Reflections

Dear Olutosin,

Thank you very much for sharing this with us, I found your perception of the web as a reflection
of the world really offered some food for thought as well as how the web could be(come) a means to further establish the presence of women in the world *(the public sphere that is).
Offline and online, we are all connected.

Looking forward to reading more about your journey.

All the best,

CamelRider

olutosin's picture

Thanks for your comment...

I appreciate your comment.

Thanks again.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Julia O'Byrne's picture

A super inspiring post :)

Hi Olutosin,

I loved reading your post. It made me very happy to have joined the World Pulse community. I think it's so so cool that you are now such a fast typist :) That's great!! I think it's so cool that you and Busayo met in person after five years of email communication. It's wonderful that you were such great friends in person too. Many of my closest friends do not live in the same place as me so I rely on email communication so much too. I love seeing my friends in person but email is a great alternative.

I particularly liked what you wrote about how people are the same online and offline. I think in many ways that is true; but it makes me sad that some people (on certain websites) can be so mean to others in the comments sections. I think the internet can often make people feel they are anonymous and can say hurtful things without repercussions, which is never good. I completely agree with your points about safety - for women to be truly safe online, we need to be safe in the world. It is inspiring to me that there are women around the world (like you, like me and like all other World Pulse members (women and men)) working towards a less violent and safer society for women, and for all people. Thank you for such an uplifting post!

Best wishes,
Julia

Hello Julia,

I appreciate your comments, it made my day as I feel so moody without electricity.

Thanks for passing by and commenting.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Heidi's picture

Connections

Hello Olutosin. I really enjoyed reading your words just now, these connections formed on World Pulse are truly moving and authentic as the space for us here continues to grow into a safe place for ideas and exchanges. I felt a similar rush of familiarity when I attended World Pulse Live a while ago (http://worldpulse.com/node/60527). It was such a wonderful feeling to see the faces of voices that I had been listening to online.

I wish you much success in leading the women around you into a safer world, both online and offline. Take care,
Heidi

olutosin's picture

WORLDPULSE

Thanks my darling, I understand the feelings perfectly.

Its our community filled with world changers.

Thanks again

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Riya's picture

Thank you for sharing..

Dear Olutosin,

Thank you for sharing your experience with us. It is wonderful to hear how the Internet not only brought your personality out, but how it is also brought out the genius in you. I could not agree with you more, it is World Pulse that has connected so many of us from around the world and provided a platform where we can share our experiences, knowledge and encourage each other. It is a great way to empower other women around the world.

I think the Internet is a wonderful thing and it has been making our lives easy in many ways. However, the misuse of the Internet is another things we have to deal as well. Often, our little children, women and men are being victims of all sorts of Internet crimes. That does not mean we should stop using the Internet however, there is a need for awareness where so many of us do not become victims of cyber crime.

Best,

Riya

olutosin's picture

YES, I AGREE WITH YOU ....

Thanks for the comment my darling, the web is a reflection of the world. We wont leave the world because its dangerous, likewise the internet. We will continue to agitate, educate and change the world.

Thanks again and again for commenting.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

CamilaFMScialla's picture

Olutosin, I loved reading

Olutosin,

I loved reading this. I provided such an interesting perspective on cyber safety that I hadn't thought of before. Cyber safety can be indeed compared in many ways to the real world- with bullying online and offline and security.

I also enjoyed reading about your experience meeting your World Pulse sisters and about how your own experience with the internet has grown and changed. I can't wait to see where you are in another 6 years.

Camila

Camila

I appreciate you, I cant wait too, may be we would have built our WP sisters home in LAGOS.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

mimiryan's picture

walking the walk

Dear Olutusin,

Yet again I am overwhelmed with pride to be reading the words of extraordinary individual whose words resonate for all women and men in this global community. Pointing out how far you have come with technology in the past 6 years gives woman the confidence that they,too, can have their voices heard! You point out so clearly how unsafe it is for women and I am particularly moved by your simple yet powerful message, "The bottom line is that we must not stop talking, agitating, educating and raising the safety issue for the relevant stakeholders to act on behalf of women.". I particularly like the word agitating! You are speaking truth and wisdom and we will not stop agitating on behalf of women! I have been extremely fortunate in my life and have no where near accomplished or gained the skills that you have in making positive change in our world. I am honored to read you and words and have the privilege to connect with you and other World Pulse contributors.

With gratitude and admiration,

Mimi

I appreciate you and your comment is inspirational too.

Love.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Rachel J's picture

I applaud you

Dear Olutosin,

I love how you captured the joy of meeting a World Pulse sister for the first time by describing how natural it was to pick up in person where you had left off online. The story of your journey with World Pulse that you so enthusiastically share with audiences is certainly something to be celebrated and applauded. Congratulations to your aunt as well. Completing her computer training at age 77 is quite impressive! Even though I haven't met you, I have a strong feeling that your spirit would light up a room and captivate those who cross paths with you. I am honored to have crossed "virtual" paths with you by being a World Pulse listener. I admire you and I share in your vision for peaceful coexistence in the world and on the web.

All the best to you,

Rachel

olutosin's picture

hanks Rachael

I appreciate your comment darling sister.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

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