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Bringing Voices Seldom Heard to the Global Online Community

This woman lives in the village alone away from children and relations that have all gone to city. She needs to communicate with them about her difficult situation.There are no communication channels, not even phone, talk less of internet

Muteff is a local village kaleidoscope situated off the jaws of Fundong in Boyo Division, North West of Cameroon. The village lacks almost what people elsewhere take for granted like electricity and ICTs. Yet, the advent of mobile technology like the telephone revealed lots of potentials in them especially as women could use it to access market information. This created a momentum in the farming community especially the women and girls and over the years they have wanted to reach out to other communities to know what live elsewhere looks like. The traditional mobile telephone would not do that and anxiety is pushing them to the limits.Although a majority of men in this community detest the idea of women empowerment, women think that life could be better if they were empowered with just information.
Traditionally, women had relied on the men, especially their fathers and husbands to let them know what is good and what is bad. Just recently, some 20 women who sojourned in the city of Bamenda as part of A Common Future organization plan to enable women know their rights came back to the village and sensitized their folks, anxiety has been rising amongst women to know how their counterparts elsewhere function. Until this sample of 20 sojourned in the city did they know that matrilineal system was reduced to people in Kom, Boyo Division. Muteff is part of a larger Kom community where women are still forced by tradition to remarry their late husband's brother in order to ensure continuity. Matrimonial succession is the order of the day with the resultant consequences of infectious deadly diseases like HIV/AIDS and others. The 20 trained peer educators now know this is not part of the Cameroonian law and that this can even be attacked in court. Being a male dominated society, practically all women here have come to accept things as there were. A new current is on the upsurge now as the women needs only information about what obtains elsewhere to initiate resistance in their community.
To bring them this change in mentality, one needs to introduce them to the internet so they know for themselves what happens elsewhere. Yet, the over 4000 women here completely lack access to internet, especially because there is no electricity and because no articulate effort has been made to introduce it with the possibilities that solar energy offers. Our online human rights TV Chanel is intended to bring an internet revolution in such communities where their voices are seldom heard on the online global community. The few that send mails they travel kms to type and beg people to send them messages. Our proposal is to set up internet points in those communities for women and girls and to enable them narrate their ordeals to us so we stream them on our online human rights channel, dignity television. The peculiarity with this community is the fact that women suffer untold violence on things that people elsewhere take for granted. With internet powered by solar and with their testimonies streamed to other parts of the world women would live healthy and enjoyable lives as one half of humanity. Dignity Television is a resource for women and youths where they tell their own stories in their own way and in their won words to the global online community. It gives voice to voices seldom heard, free at the point of entry and at the point of delivery as it maintains a sacred space for women victims of human rights violations. Ours is to enable them tell their stories on mountain tops as a way of creating healing circles. It is also to affirm that those who have suffered violence should not be allowed to suffer any further form of indignity. We do this with the understanding that the new source of power today is not so much money in the hands of a few but information in the hands of many. With such information, women can make the world a better place to live.

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

Comments

judyannet's picture

Let the women be empowered.

Hi,

Thank you for bringing us this story of the situation of women living in the rural Cameroon, as an African I will concur with you that the situation is pretty much the same on many African Nations. The rural areas have been alienated in terms of the internet access. I think the situation is a bit different now though due to the availability of the mobile via which people can access the internet from anywhere, though access in the rural areas is not as good as in the urban areas.

I agree with you when you say that having access to the internet will open up the world for women and they can share with their counter parts in other parts of the country, region and even the world. The world being a global village today, the best we can do is ensure we link up with others who are dealing with the same things as us so that we can learn from each other. This is by far, as you have said, a challenge. The government aught to collaborate with network providers to see that the internet centers you suggest are set up. The Dignity Television is also a great place to share the experiences of these women. Thank you for seeking to connect such women and tell their stories. It is such a great honor to hear your stories.

judyannet

Dear Gwain,

I agree with Judy above - it is a great honor to hear your stories! Thank you for sharing this story with us. I can see how difficult it must be for women in rural Cameroon to get information about the outside world, or even other parts of their country, without electricity. Dignity Television - giving voice to voices seldom heard - is a fantastic idea. I hope you are able to keep moving forward with this project and bring women in Muteff a global voice and a way to unite with women outside their area.

I also loved hearing about the women of Muteff's sojourn to the city. I'm wondering what the biggest learning for them was during this experience.

Wishing you well,
Emily

Emily Garcia
World Pulse Online Community Associate

inetmom's picture

Unique use of Multi-media

Dear Gwain - Your idea of using the internet to collect stories and then broadcast via television is an amazing use of media to reach a wide audience. Rather than an internet collection or a forum targeted at women only, your message will be seen by men and boys, leaders and common people alike. More wide spread community advocacy like you envision should be implemented all over the world. Thanks for sharing your story!

Tiffany

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