Community Update

World Pulse Toolkits Available!

At World Pulse, we recognize the need for ongoing learning—for you and for your community! Our toolkits are all available here.

We are especially excited to share our signature Citizen Journalism and Digital Empowerment Curriculum. Start learning today!

Internet Access at the Grassroots is an effective Tool for Rapid Community Development and Global Development Process.

Mentor/Mentee Skype Calls

Personally, use of the internet has become the most critical tool I use on a day to day basis. However my community and the grassroots organizations I am working with do not have easy access to the internet.
My ancestral home, Amor village, has no internet access and if I had remained there I would continue to be oblivious to the influence and power of the internet. However through support from abroad I was able to complete my schooling and tertiary studies during which I was exposed to the internet.

The two main challenges in my community that limits participation online are literacy and availability.
Often women in my community have not completed primary education and are barely literate this often makes them unwilling to try new things where literacy skills would be required.
In the rural communities outside of urban centers there is little or no mobile network and fixed phone lines. This means that there is a lack of internet cafes, libraries, and public buildings with internet access in my community limiting easy access for training and familiarization. For one to access internet from Amor Village district where I come from, one has to travel to Tororo town; 18km each way.
Internet access is very expensive to a local low income earner with 3Gb data access costing approximately $US30, or 25% of the average Ugandan monthly income (and probably around 50% or the average Eastern Ugandan monthly income. In addition to this expense the poor signal that is often provided means that pages often take several minutes to load. Internet café’s (where available) charge by the time so slow access increases costs to users.
Availability of the internet is also reduced by the lack of electricity in the rural communities. Amor village is yet to be electrified and as far as I am aware no one in the community has a computer. Many women do have inexpensive mobile phones which they will walk many miles to charge for a fee (which can lead to a whole other set of safety and security issues).
Finally the other factor in rural communities that limits access is cultural. Men currently often misinterprets women’s use of mobile phones and often accuse women of having love affairs via the phone. This can lead to fights, family breakups and violence.

Amor village and the provincial capital both have no library or space where free/subsidized internet access is available. Currently the Amor community is building a library but at this point there is significant cost issues in the provision of computers and internet access due to the project reliance on donations and volunteers to complete the project.

I graduated with Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology and this has also driven me to use internet and technology in effecting change in my community in different ways. I am a World Pulse Voices of Our Future Fellow and a Pulsewire Vocal Contributor since 2010; I advise other women and men in Uganda and those from across the globe to use World Pulse website and media platform to effect change in their communities. Several of these women including my sisters and relatives and friends from across the globe have joined World Pulse website.
I am an advocate for girl child education and empowerment; my grassroots NGO – Pearl Community Empowerment Foundation through the Rural Girl Child Mentorship (RGCM) project, we match rural impoverished girls with sponsors and mentors from across the globe who support their vision and dreams. 69 out of the current 103 girls have been matched with individuals from the United States, Europe and Australia who exchange letters, videos and skype calls with them. We use the social media including World Pulse website and Facebook to connect with these mentors and sponsors on a daily basis; created a Facebook group page where we post the latest updates to them on a daily basis. 25 of these mentors, sponsors and volunteers have visited with the community since 2012.
We are currently constructing a community Library and a community hall in Amor village so as to provide access for the use of computers, internet, books and become a place for social gathering with electricity access. We are targeting 48 rural schools and institutions an estimate of 5000 learners and 4000 parent beneficiaries per year.
We have created women groups with different entrepreneurial and economic ventures especially in farming and agriculture, art and crafts, music, dance and drama all focusing on quality production for global market. To access global market, we are already using the internet to market our products. For example market paper beads/jewelries, mats and baskets, in Germany, United States and Australia, we have raised over USD2000 doing this; we use internet and e-commerce.
We are increasing literacy among the women and girls through providing sponsorship opportunities, literacy increases chances for search for information and knowledge and the use of internet. The current 103 girls under our sponsorship program are the next generation of the grassroots women who will effect change in Uganda and globally by use of internet and technology.
Pearl Community Empowerment Foundation supports a population of over 700000 people in Tororo and Buteleja districts of Uganda, we are very effective in mobilizing, sensitizing and educating the community; given technological support we shall effectively use it to effect change in this community.

I visit secure websites, change my passwords frequently, update my computer software regularly, I do not respond to untrusted emails.
The recommendations I am giving to technology companies and governments includes;
1. Produce affordable technology products and services which meets the needs of the low income communities.
2. Provide secure platforms while protecting the privacy of the users as well as build platforms that can track hackers and crackers.
3. Consider health related hazards while improving technology, where necessary should provide warnings.
4. The government should consider electrification and providing better telecommunication infrastructures for the rural communities.
5. The technology companies and the government should consider credit facilities to those who cannot easily afford the technology products and services.
6. Technological Trainings and Educational services should be given to the grassroots communities.

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

Akello Skyping with her Mentor Lisa
Even when I am abroad, I am able to connect with my Family, work and Community using the Internet
Sarah Skyping with her mentor, Julie
The sponsors and mentors from across the globe also visit with the girls in their respective schools
Some of the Sponsored girls
Making a difference in one of the most impoverished families
Helping Girls fullfil their dreams
Education is a special gift to the girls we support
The Community Packing Bricks for Burning
The Community Library and Hall construction on going

Downloads

Comments

Precious M's picture

You are doing much.

Dear sister,

I am inspired by how much you are doing for your community.
May all your projects be brought to perfect completion.

Regards,
Precious

My pen speaks

AchiengNas's picture

Thank you Precious!

I appreciate your comment and good wishes.

I believe everybody has the potential to live a better life. Given the Opportunity, Education and Motivation ANYONE can become someone admirable. Nobody is a NOBODY, everybody is SOMEBODY.

jacollura's picture

Beatrice, you are a wonderful

Beatrice, you are a wonderful example of someone using the internet to effect positive change. Keep up the amazing work (I know you will)!
Love,
Julie

AchiengNas's picture

Thank you Julie!

Thank you so much for your support!

I believe everybody has the potential to live a better life. Given the Opportunity, Education and Motivation ANYONE can become someone admirable. Nobody is a NOBODY, everybody is SOMEBODY.

amymorros's picture

Global Development

Your recommendations to companies are spot on! You have great insight into problems of access to technology and how to overcome them. I really never thought enough about the cultural aspects and how men's perception of women's use of technology can lead to fights and breakups.
I applaud what you are doing and hope that community library gets built soon!

Amy
@amyinstl

AchiengNas's picture

Thank you Amy

Your feedback is of a great encouragement to me.
Cheers
Beatrice

I believe everybody has the potential to live a better life. Given the Opportunity, Education and Motivation ANYONE can become someone admirable. Nobody is a NOBODY, everybody is SOMEBODY.

Nabiye Tal's picture

Great Job

Dear Beatrice,
This is a great job you are doing, i really admire your courage and determination to bring a change in your community. Thanks to world pulse for bringing us all together, together we shall transform the whole world to a better and safe place for women. Weldone!

Nabiye Tal,
Founder/CEO- IEVAWC.
@nabiye, @ievawc

AchiengNas's picture

Thank you so much Nabiye!

Appreciate your very kind words! We women are the agents for change in our communities, we are all capable of making even the tiniest difference but there is only one limitation; the network of people willing to support.
Together we will make a difference!
Thank you again!

I believe everybody has the potential to live a better life. Given the Opportunity, Education and Motivation ANYONE can become someone admirable. Nobody is a NOBODY, everybody is SOMEBODY.

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby's picture

Hail, Beatrice!

Hello, Dear Beatrice!

You continue to amaze me. In 2011 I saw you speak at NYU and have loved you ever since.

This piece is fabulously informative, beautifully presented and full of hope and joy. I knew something of your work, but feel privileged to read more and to better understand all that you are doing to empower girls and women.

It is eye-opening for me to read that men use women's cel phone accessibility as an excuse to accuse them of having love affairs. However, I know the story of your village and the near loss of your family land, and I know how magnificently you can stand up to men! YAHOO!

Those who cross your path are very fortunate to have you as mentor, teacher, guide, advocate and friend.

With ongoing love and support,

Sarah

AchiengNas's picture

Thank you Sarah!

If women everywhere had access to technology and the internet and were able to access platforms like World Pulse, nothing evil would be hidden anywhere on earth! Unveiling the evil in the world will improve lives and improve for good. Technology/internet is the unshuttable mouth piece!
Thank you so much for following with our work, the following links will lead you to our latest updates;
https://www.facebook.com/RGCMUganda
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pearl-Community-Empowerment-PCE-Foundatio...
http://pce-foundation.org

I believe everybody has the potential to live a better life. Given the Opportunity, Education and Motivation ANYONE can become someone admirable. Nobody is a NOBODY, everybody is SOMEBODY.

Susana Khabbaz's picture

speechless

Dear sister,
I have no words to tell you how much I admire what you're doing. You're making this world a better place to live in. Thank you so much for sharing all this and for teaching us that we can always give more, be better and spread our love around.
In friendship and solidarity
Susana Khabbaz

Susana Khabbaz
Pintora | Pittrice | Painter
www.susanakhabbaz.com
https://www.facebook.com/SusanaKhabbaz.Pintora.Pittrice.Painter
Twitter: @SusanaKhabbaz

AchiengNas's picture

Thank you Susana!

These are very kind words! Together we will/can make the world a better place for all.
Blessings to you!

I believe everybody has the potential to live a better life. Given the Opportunity, Education and Motivation ANYONE can become someone admirable. Nobody is a NOBODY, everybody is SOMEBODY.

Anita Muhanguzi's picture

Woooooow

You are doing a great job my dear sister. Using the internet to improve the lives of these children and women is very inspiring. Am so proud of you and please reach out to as many people because you are surely making a difference in this world. You go girl.

Mrs. Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi
Head of Legal and Advocacy
Centre for Batwa Minorities
a.kiddu@gmail.com
cfmlegal@gmail.com
Skype: mrs_muhanguzi

AchiengNas's picture

Thank you Mrs.Anita!

Technology has helped transform the lives of so many girls who were helpless.
Hopefully we can do more to empower and improve many more lives through the use of technology.
I hear a lot about the Batwa community, I would love to visit some day!

I believe everybody has the potential to live a better life. Given the Opportunity, Education and Motivation ANYONE can become someone admirable. Nobody is a NOBODY, everybody is SOMEBODY.

Kit's picture

AchiengNas, I am so impressed

AchiengNas,

I am so impressed by the work you have accomplished despite cultural, financial, and availability limitations! You are lighting up the lives of many young and older wormen by introducing them to the world that awaits them via the internet. The sponsorship program seems particularly successful, bringing bounty to both the sponsor and the girl s/he supports. Your post does lead to wonder about the young men in the community. Are there comparable programs for computer literacy for them, too?

with much gratitude to you!
Kit

AchiengNas's picture

Thank you Kit!

We are currently building a community library and a hall with the intention of having internet access and reading materials for both boys and girls, women and men.
Through the sponsorship program, we are supporting 5 boys and 103 girls to-date.
Besides the sponsorship program, we are partnering with 6 rural primary schools and 4 secondary schools for the sensitization programs where we reach more boys and girls.
Our limitation is funding for the completion of this library project, it is on a stand still at the moment.
I am a very strong willed person, I hardly give up taking risks and challenges, any support that we receive makes a total difference, always!

I believe everybody has the potential to live a better life. Given the Opportunity, Education and Motivation ANYONE can become someone admirable. Nobody is a NOBODY, everybody is SOMEBODY.

Kit's picture

thank you

for this additional information. You are doing critically important work, and doing it with great courage and determination. I hope you get the funding for the library soon.

with kindness,
Kit

inetmom's picture

World Summit on Information Society

Hello Beatrice!

I'm so sorry your connectivity issues didn't allow you to speak much at the summit in Geneva. I am listening in the U.S. I volunteer with World Pulse and I know your submission was specifically included in the preliminary recommendations with a link so people can read your words. Your work is inspiring and I love your writing. Thank you for sharing your experiences!

Tiffany

AchiengNas's picture

Thank you Tiffany!

I am so sorry too that I do not have quality internet access and the landline phone services, reason for the failure.
I appreciate the fact that I can afford internet though and able to share my voice and our work with the world.
Internet and technology is the way to go for a better world for both women and men.
Thank you again!

I believe everybody has the potential to live a better life. Given the Opportunity, Education and Motivation ANYONE can become someone admirable. Nobody is a NOBODY, everybody is SOMEBODY.

Magazine »

Read global coverage through women's eyes

Inside Congo's Growing Sisterhood

Inside Congo's Growing Sisterhood

Community »

Connect with women on the ground worldwide

CAMEROON: Forced Into Marriage at 14

CAMEROON: Forced Into Marriage at 14

Campaigns »

Be heard at influential forums

WWW: Women Weave the Web

WWW: Women Weave the Web

Programs »

Help us train women citizen journalists

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

World Pulse Voices of Our Future

Blog »

Read the latest from World Pulse headquarters

EMAGAZINE: Bridging Borders

EMAGAZINE: Bridging Borders

Partners »

Join forces with our wide network of partners

Nobel Women's Initiative

Nobel Women's Initiative