Digital Literacy: A Basic Need
My husband often refers to me as his IT guru because i am able to sort out most of his computer and internet issues. This is because, I am not one to give up easily and prefer to try and discover on my own before asking for help. This has helped tremendously to learn about various online tools and be able to navigate the internet with ease. I may not be clear or even know every meaning of various terminology and digital jargon but i am learning. After exploring different resources on digital literacy, I feel there’s still a long way to go to in terms of knowledge and the ability to use different online tools. I have a love for ICT and i keep telling my friends that i might have chosen the wrong profession because of the excitement i get when i browse the web and make new discoveries. It is such a vast world of resources and tools that it might take a lifetime of learning just to get even a quarter of the information online. Innovation is happening every moment and people are discovering and creating new tools every other day to make life a little easier, including finding your way around if lost. Universities are also now open to digital learning and various courses are offered in diverse topics.
On a personal front, i have found online research tools quite helpful and they provide a lead on issues even beyond what one is looking for. However, there are online learning platforms for relevant courses on digital literacy that are not accessible unless you can pay for them, which makes it restrictive. This makes it an expensive affair and therefore limiting. I was trained early in basic computer knowledge and I’m grateful for that. During my time, about 14 years ago, it was quite expensive to do a basic computer course. However, with the digital age, there's more access to computers and information which makes it quite affordable. However, this applies more to the urban centres and there's still a gap in digital literacy within the rural communities. Unless computers or internet enabled phones are provided to the rural communities, women will still face the challenge of access which translates into challenges of learning to use the internet. The culture also poses a major challenge in the possibility for women to learn how to use the internet. This is because most women in the rural areas will be found in farms working or busy taking care of their families and they have no time dedicated to learning, thus the need for more awareness campaigns such as this Women Weave the Web campaign.
In my case, time is a major factor. I am employed on a full time basis, have a family and with church responsibilities. I have enrolled for several courses online but never get to finish due to time constraints. This has been my major challenge, which I have tried to overcome by deliberately making an effort to only enrol for a course in an area which I have a keen interest in. This will give me the motivation to make time and complete the course. I have a thirst to pass on knowledge and I know what the internet has done for me in terms of learning and personal growth, I would want this knowledge to be accessible to every woman, thus my desire to start a library in my community. If the government would provide a library in every rural town, every village and city in the country, then more women and girls will have the opportunity to learn, their businesses will improve through online learning tools and knowledge acquired, they will find markets for their farm produce and the list of benefits is endless. The end result would be the economic growth the country would benefit from. I am mentoring girls and providing information on online tools they will find useful but I would like to do more! I wish i could do more!