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This Common Ground We Share- My World Pulse Story

Greengirl

It is exciting to be identified in the global partnership for development which the web has made possible for me, my organization and community. "I have been enjoying your voice for some time now and I am particularly interested to read how at the grassroots level, in your community, your alliance with World Pulse began. In four years with World Pulse, I had not heard that early phase of the story described in any detail" comments Sarah Whitten-Grigsby, on one of my World Pulse journal posts. Her words did the magic! Just the perfect tonic that motivated me to trace my journey to the Web, and of course World Pulse; a common ground we share.

This is not just another story. It is a testimonial and celebration of the role the World Wide Web plays in shaping global citizenship, association, partnership and development. The 8th Millennium Development Goal (MDG) appears to be the least talked about, yet in my opinion, it is probably the most strategic as it can be channeled towards advancing and accelerating the achievement of goals 1-7. Global partnerships can play a critical role in remedying major global imbalances and problems like poverty, gender inequality, epidemics, war, illiteracy and environmental degradation, among others. Incorporating equity of access to computers and the internet can go a long way in that regard.

I bare witness to the workings of global partnership and cooperation and how the web offers an avenue for capacity building, information and resource exchange/sharing, networking, and associated support. In 2005, the Women Global Green Action Network (WGGAN) embarked on a global search for grassroots women environmental activists and advocates; and the organization sent out an online call for nomination and recommendation. I had no inkling about this opportunity, but had enjoyed the good fortune of being recommended by the Executive Director of the Rural Africa Water Development Project (RAWDP); an associate in the social development sector in Nigeria; who was very familiar with my grassroots green initiatives and women's empowerment endeavors.

I was filled with excitement when I was invited to attend and contribute to WGGAN's '1st International Grassroots Women Environmental Strategy Meeting' in Mexico City from 12 - 14 March 2006. Also tied to the opportunity, was an invitation to attend the 4th World Forum from 16 - 19, 2006; as a regional member of WGGAN. These events paved way for me and my organization to gain global recognition, exposure and connections.

When Melinda Kramer, the co-founder of WWGAN moved on to establish the Women's Earth Alliance (WEA), my liaison with her continued. In 2007, I received an email invitation from WEA, to apply to attend the 1st African Women and Water Conference held at Karen Nbi, Nairobi (Kenya) in 2008. I was afforded the opportunity to attend the event in the company of an associate. A ready choice was Anna Avong, the then Kaduna State President and current National President of the Attarkar Women Association of Nigeria (AWAN). I was able to submit a joint online application, which was accepted and resulted in our selection.

Our eventual participation in the August event remains a memorable accomplishment because with my support, a grassroots women leader in my community was able to gain international exposure. Very much so, our joint participation opened a new chapter in my organization's ability to deliver Water, Sanitation and Hygiene intervention projects in Attarkar and other communities. With the knowledge and skills acquired from the conference, and through a partnership between WISE and AWAN, several WASH programs have been successfully planned, developed and implemented. Women who have continued to benefit from our WASH programs are taking on leadership in improving access to safe water and sanitation in their communities. Hygiene practices have also continued to improve, leading to drastic reduction in associated diseases.

Among the grassroots women leaders from different parts of Africa, who participated in the Water Conference, Sizani Ngubane a participant from South Africa and I were informed of our selection to attend the Women Leaders for the World (WLW) Training Program of the Global Women's Leadership Network (GWLN), which held at Santa Clara University in July of the same year. Two weeks after my return from Nairobi, I made it to the United States and got enlisted as a GWLN global citizen and change leader. The training program was truly a journey of discovery and reflection for me.

Upon my return from the WLW training, I received an email from Melinda about World Pulse. So began a journey to a common ground I now share with over 70,000 women from 170 countries around the world. It was a welcome and rare privilege to be numbered as the 217th member of the World Pulse Online Community! I quickly realized the numerous opportunities I could benefit from the World Pulse Community, yet I was limited by many factors. I was away from my base for a greater part of that time as I was undertaking a masters degree program at the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA). It was a particularly challenging period for me as I had to shuttle between Kaduna and Akure to keep pace with the demands of my social activism, consultancy service
and academic works.

So, for a greater part of the period, I did not have reliable access to the internet. The situation was made worse because of the prevalence of cyber crimes in my country at the time. I no longer found cyber cafes safe enough for my online communications and activities. Yet, there was so much I needed to do online with respect to my masters research, managing my organization and communicating with my collaborators and clients, and also keeping in touch with my social networks and contacts.

As a matter of obligation, I needed to protect the interests of my online contact by limiting my use of unregulated internet cafes. I had a personal laptop and realized that it was necessary for me to own a personal modem. I eventually put some money together for it and subscribed for an internet service. This singular move fast tracked my online activities! With improved, safer and more secured access to the internet I began spending more time researching, learning, sharing, connecting and collaborating online.

For example, in 2011, Professor Lin Hightower (an alumnus of WLW ) from Kennessaw State University, generously offered WLW alumni an opportunity to apply for a Free Website Design and Redesign by WLW Grad Website design students. My organization was selected from a pool of applications they received; as revealed by the email selection notification I received. "Olanike, hope your week has been good. I am pleased to tell you that your project has been selected for our web design class. If you are missing information we need the rest of information by the end of this weekend. We do need everything so please get us pictures of your project and happy pictures of people involved with your work. Pictures help people connect to your website. Please confirm you have received my email. The students are excited about working with you. It is a lot of work and usually takes about two semesters, so be patient as we move through the development process. You will get two designs to select from and you will give us feed back on things you want us to change or tweak" wrote Lin in her email. I was able to take active part in the design of my organization's website through regular email and Skype communication with Professor Lin and her team who championed the Web design project.

Same year, I was also able to take a go at the 2011 Voices of Our Future (VOF) application. Though I did not make it on the list of the 30 Correspondents who were selected for that year's training, the application process offered me a great experience that helped me discover my unique speaking voice. My participation helped me discover the untapped power of my voice, and the change I was passionate about also became more meaningful and important by the day. I realized that my passion and commitment towards environmental sustainability and women's empowerment is what makes me 'me'. Accordingly, I learned to be focused, became inspired and more motivated, gained confidence and knowledge sharing capabilities, and made amazing connections with my fellow applicants and the World Pulse online community. I choose not to list names of the amazing women I met during the process because space will fail me.

Everything and everyone I was exposed to on World Pulse in 2011 onward, motivated me to take part in the 2013 VOF application; and I am forever grateful that I took that landmark step. Fate shined on me and I became a World Pulse Correspondent. I can never forget the scheduled Correspondent Orientation as well as Question and Answer calls, training sessions with my Sarah Happel and Sasha Rabin (my assigned Vision and Editorial mentors respectively), my fellow correspondents and the World Pulse Training Team; which all happened via email exchanges and Skype calls! I participated fully in the requisite six months citizen journalism and digital empowerment training, and with all the support around me and the invaluable feedback received, I was able to complete all the eye and mind opening assignments.

Just as we were rounding up the 2013 VOF training, another opportunity opened up for all the Correspondents. It was an internet radio show training offered by the Sylvia Global Media Network (SGMN). I knew next to nothing about producing internet radio and TV shows and was all too happy to take advantage of the opportunity. The training culminated in my initiating and becoming the host of a radio show titled 'WE- Women and Environment' on Sylvia Global Media; which was launched on this year's World Radio Day. The show is geared towards highlighting insightful dialogues about women's rights, roles and responsibilities in environmental restoration and governance, with an array of local, national and international guests.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has had great impact on my personal and organizational development; and I am still grappling for the words that will aptly capture what I have come to know, experience and enjoy. In giving back to my community, I want to continue to enhance women's knowledge and skills in using ICT learning, teaching and sharing resources to improve their socio-economic outcomes. There is no doubting the fact that the web is a boundless, inclusive and empowering platform with limitless opportunities for women.

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

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Comments

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby's picture

TERRIFIC! THANK YOU!

Dearest Greengirl,

Your story is wonderful, inspirational, uplifting, eye-opening and encouraging! It is a testament to you, to persistence and to World Pulse, as well as to ICT, SGMN, WGGAN and others. Your WP mentors and the professor who helped you with your website are meaningfully recognized, as are all the strong women who have given you a leg-up along the way -- such an endorsement for the power of women working together.

Greengirl, you are of course already making your mark in the world by loving, respecting and caring for our planet. No doubt you will continue to do so and your valuable voice and heartfelt work will grow and grow for the betterment of the world.

I bow to you!

With Love and Support,
Sarah

Greengirl's picture

I owe you the bow, Sarah!

I am so glad that you encouraged me to put my thoughts together. I could not have done it without you! You were there for me too, all the way through the 2013 VOF training. Your meaningful feedback and inspiring shares were compelling and empowering; and you are no doubt on the list of the strong women who helped me achieve more than I ever imagined was possible. We all did it together!

I will forever cherish your words of acknowledgement and say a big AMEN to all your prayers and best wishes for me.

Thanks a million times over for being the first to reach out with your lovely thoughts. Your support counts a great deal!!!!!!!!!!

Hearty hugs, love and blessings,
Greengirl

-- and am so glad you committed this story to 'paper,' so it can be shared.

Hearty Hugs,

- Sarah

Greengirl's picture

I owe you the bow, Sarah!

I am so glad that you encouraged me to put my thoughts together. I could not have done it without you! You were there for me too, all the way through the 2013 VOF training. Your meaningful feedback and inspiring shares were compelling and empowering; and you are no doubt on the list of the strong women who helped me achieve more than I ever imagined was possible. We all did it together!

I will forever cherish your words of acknowledgement and say a big AMEN to all your prayers and best wishes for me.

Thanks a million times over for being the first to reach out with your lovely thoughts. Your support counts a great deal!!!!!!!!!!

Hearty hugs, love and blessings,
Greengirl

Celine's picture

Wow, wonderful sister. I see

Wow, wonderful sister.

I see myself following in this journey through your writing. Let me also send appreciations to Sarah for standing with you, with so many of us while we are weaved in this network of voices.

Well done.

Celine

Greengirl's picture

Thank you!!!

It's a journey that is transforming us, our communities and our world! Our voices are getting louder as we continue to support one another. Sarah has been an inspirational, willing and tireless weaver who deserves to be appreciated and celebrated! Thank you so much Sis for reaching out, you are a great weaver too!

Hugs,
Greengirl

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby's picture

Hello, Celine!

Hope all is well with you, Dear Celine!

I smile to see your wonderful face and to read your wonderful words.

Love,
Sarah

Kadidia's picture

A world pulse story

Dear Greengirl,

This is just wonderful to read about your journey with technology.
We live in an era of global communication and nothing can be done without team work.
We all realize that technology allows us to be heard everywhere in the world making us visible and opening a path for exchanges. and new knowledge.
You're a testimony of what can be done with determination and hard work.
Good job and thank you for sharing your story on the worldpulse platform.

Kadidia Doumbia

Greengirl's picture

Dear kandidia

I very much agree with you that "We live in an era of global communication and nothing can be done without team work". Technology makes the world go around and offers everyone an opportunity to be heard and visible, just as you also appropriately put it. My personal development and work thrives a great deal on technology, and I count it very necessary to share my experience, so others can appreciate the many potentials and benefits that the internet offers everyone. We are all afforded the privilege of learning, sharing and connecting with one another in very empowering ways.

Thank you so much for reading my story and also providing your invaluable feedback. That in itself is empowering for me! let's keep talking the talk and walking the talk, because together we are stronger and make very positive imapacts in the world.

Regards,
Greengirl

Kadidia's picture

The power of technology

Dear Greengirl,

I had pleasure reading your story and I hope that you will keep on sharing on the worldpulse platform.

Kadidia Doumbia

Greengirl's picture

I'll keep doing my best!

Bearing in mind the many positive impact one can make when one speaks out, as well as the motivational feed back that I get on this platform from wonderful World Pulse sisters like you, I will keep doing my best. Thank you so much for being such an encourager.

Blessings,
Greengirl

busayo's picture

Power of the web!

Thank you my sister for sharing your amazing story with us, Without the power of web our voices would not have reach the next door but thank God for the opportunity of connecting with worldpulse and the world. The sky is beginning my sister, we are going higher!!

Love
Busayo

Busayo Obisakin
Women inspiration Development center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria
busobisaki@yahoo.com
womeninspirationcenter@gmail.com
http://womeninspirationce.wix.com/widcng

Love your comment, Busayo!

Let us Hope together-
Michelle
aka: Cali gal

Listener
Sister-Mentor
@CaliGalMichelle
facebook.com/caligalmichelle

busayo's picture

Yes Cali!

We are together my sister! we are going higher

Love
Busayo Obisakin

Busayo Obisakin
Women inspiration Development center
Ile-Ife, Nigeria
busobisaki@yahoo.com
womeninspirationcenter@gmail.com
http://womeninspirationce.wix.com/widcng

Greengirl's picture

Me too!

You beat me to saying that, Michelle. Nevertheless, I'll echo your words "Love your comment, Busayo".

Hugs,
Greengirl

Greengirl's picture

Hugs to you, SHINING EXAMPLE!

Hello Sis Busayo, it's always a delight to communicate with you. You are a shining example of how empowering the web can be for women and girls. I admire you for the invaluable difference you are already making, and I want you to know that you are an inspiration.

Yes, we are going higher! Aha!

Hugs and much love,
Greengirl

Cali gal Michelle's picture

My dear sister-Once again

My dear sister-
Once again your poetic grace amazes me as I read through your beautiful story. You are able to encapsulate the totality of your journey while weaving together personal and professional story lines. Just as you said, it is both a "testimonial" and a "celebration"!

You have reminded us of the importance of joint participation and teamwork in the evolution of your successes and the successes of others, for the benefit of the global community. We are powerful alone, but together we can be more so.

You have also exemplified triumph over challenge, which provides hope to other readers that they, too, can find safe access to technology and the internet. We strive to show personal examples of how to overcome obstacles, even if they seem impossible. We can all learn from your persistence, especially me!

Finally, and perhaps most important to me, is how World Pulse opened up not only opportunity, but community for you, and feeds into the cycle of opportunity and community for others with whom you come into contact. Let us keep the cycle going so that all may know hope.

Warmly yours,

Let us Hope together-
Michelle
aka: Cali gal

Listener
Sister-Mentor
@CaliGalMichelle
facebook.com/caligalmichelle

Greengirl's picture

Dearest Michelle

As I read your comment, I recalled how at some point you reached out to me to say that "you seem to be bumping into me everywhere on the World Pulse platform". We have since become so connected and very supportive of one another such that it feels like I have known you all my life. As I look back, I cannot help but relish the reality of how so connected we have become.

You sure added so much life to my post with your comment; as it helped me read between the lines again and again. Michelle, you are one tremenduos listener too many and I feel really lifted by your analytical words; which also celebrated all that I did my best to project.

Connecting with you is a great gift from World Pulse; and I am all too glad to continue contributing my bit in ways that will keep the cycle going. Together we can, and will continue to enlarge that cycle of hope. You remain an inspiration and a motivator!

Lots of love,
Greengirl

sabapetit's picture

Thank you Greengirl!

Dear Greengirl:

Thank you very much for sharing your testimony! You just have demonstrated us the power of patience and determination through hard work, education, good decisions and of course, the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT)! But more importantly I admire your desire and passion of spreading that power to other women!

When I finished to read your testimony I could not stop thinking in this quotation: "If you educate a man, you educate and individual but if you educate a woman, you educate a community". Through all your journey, work and education to conserve the ecosystem and to defend the rights of women, you have become the personification of this quotation.

Thank you again for your courage of working for the common good and your generosity for sharing your testimony!

Peace,

Sabapetit

Sabapetit

Greengirl's picture

In appreciation!

I sincerely appreciate you Sabapetit! Your words of affirmation goes a long way and I want you to know that I hold them to heart. Thank you, thank you and thank you.

It is important that we keep doing our best to empower ourselves as women, as that will set and open up new possibilities for us and the next generation of women and girls everywhere.

Together we can keep talking the walk and walking the talk to make our world a better place for everyone.

Thankfully,
Greengirl

Marah Mbine Ngole Epie's picture

Congrats!

Dear Friend, keep sailing! I pray your rich experiences continue to fortify your ship!
=On the other hand, I advise that you leave out some details in your pieces, and you will sound more interesting (personal).=
Stay blessed!

Marah
Vocal Contributor / Community Listener

Greengirl's picture

Thank you Marah!

Nice to read your words and I want you to know that it counts. Thank you for your advice as it also adds life to the post. You know why and how? As we keep the conversations going, we learn from and help one another get better at what we do and believe in.

Warmly,
Greengirl

Y's picture

Thank you for such an

Thank you for such an enlightening insight into you and your journey, Greengirl. I love that you received help from Kennesaw State, as my son-in-law was a student there many years ago. He lives, with my daughter and their daughters, in Marietta, Ga, not far from the college. It makes me feel closer to you knowing this connection.
Blessings.
Yvette

Y

Greengirl's picture

Hugs and Gratitude!

Dearest Y, how are you? It's always a delight to listen to your thoughts. I am glad that we share connection through Kennesaw State University. It is so amazing how so connected we all are! Thank you so much for sharing about your son-in-law and his family. I feel closer to you too.

Together we are better and stronger.

Hugs and gratitude,
Greengirl

Y's picture

I am well, Greengirl. I am

I am well, Greengirl. I am blessed with the gift of time to seek out and support the voices of my many sisters through World Pulse. I post often to me own journal in an effort to encourage others to share their thoughts and feelings, along with problems and solutions.

Blessings on your continued efforts.
Yvette

Y

Greengirl's picture

Well done, Y!

Your voice makes a world of difference in the World Pulse community and I am listening!

Warm regards,
Greengirl

Rachel J's picture

Wonderful!

Dear Greengirl,

Thank you for sharing your story - I really enjoyed reading about your journey up to this point. All of your accomplishments are very impressive!!! I want you to know that by sharing such an open-hearted account of how you've devoted your energies to doing what you are passionate about, you've inspired many others to do the same.

I really admire the gratitude you've expressed for each person who has helped you along the way, and it's obvious that they were equally as grateful for having met and worked with you. I hope that the positive energy you're putting out there comes back to you tenfold. It's clear that with your bright outlook and strong work ethic, you are open to all of the opportunities that will come your way.

Best wishes,

Rachel

Greengirl's picture

I owe you the thanks, Rachel!

It gladdens my heart that you made out time to real the piece and also reach out with your very motivating comment. Over time, I have come to appreciate that everyone needs someone at the least, who will believe in them enough to give them a push.

I remain grateful to people like you who offer words of encouragement whenever opportunity affords that. I owe you the thanks Rachel!

Together we are better and stronger.

Greengirl

Greengirl's picture

I owe you the thanks, Rachel!

It gladdens my heart that you made out time to real the piece and also reach out with your very motivating comment. Over time, I have come to appreciate that everyone needs someone at the least, who will believe in them enough to give them a push.

I remain grateful to people like you who offer words of encouragement whenever opportunity affords that. I owe you the thanks Rachel!

Together we are better and stronger.

Greengirl

Dear Greengirl,

I just want to let you know one more time that I feel proud of your work and that you have motivated me to follow your path of making a difference in this world full of cruelty and injustice. We need to plant seeds of justice, reconciliation, respect and peace in the hearts of our children and young people.

Thank you again for have shared your story. I can bet your work is not easy but it is totally worth it!

Peace,
Sara B.

Sabapetit

Greengirl's picture

Nice to hear from you!

Thank you so much Sabapet for reaching out with your words of encouragement. I am very glad that you were inspired to also make a difference in this world. Over time, I have come to appreciate the fact that the very little things we do to make our wolrd a better place counts.

Yes, children and young people have a great role to play in ensuring that justice, reconciliation, respect and peace prevails in the world. Together we can continue inspiring one another and others to accelerate positve change!

Hugs,
Greeengirl

Naeroka's picture

Inspiring!

Your initiative, drive, and passion are admirable. I was reading your story and felt myself more and more in awe of your achievements. Thank you for working so hard for women's empowerment and the environment...and thank you for sharing your experiences with digital empowerment and the role World Pulse has played in your life. It's truly inspiring!

My question for you is this: how do we efficiently expand access to the internet on a widespread level? And what piece of advice would you give a young girl in your country who would like to embark on a similar path as yours?

Thank you so much for sharing. Have a beautiful day-- and please keep spreading your beautiful knowledge and passion with the world.

Best regards,
Madeleine Lee

Greengirl's picture

Dear Madeleine

First, I must apologize for having not responded to your comment before now. It was absolutely unavoidable as I have not been consistent online for a while. While I may not be able to go into details now, I must let you know that I sincerely appreciate you for sharing your thoughts with me. I am glad that you found the piece worth reading! So glad too that you drew inspiration from it!

The question you raised makes a lot of sense and I am glad you asked; particularly because it has become obvious that internet access has become a necessity. For everyone who has come to this understanding, it is no longer a luxury. Well, it may interest you to know that alongside three other World Pulse sisters in Nigeria, I participated in the 1st Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) Nigeria Muliti-stakeholder forum held in Abuja on March 11, 2014. The work which A4AI is embarking on in Nigeria and other parts of Africa is targeted at facilitating widespread access to affordable internet. I would like to refer you to my journal posts which highlights happenings at the forum: http://worldpulse.com/node/86474 and http://worldpulse.com/node/86463.

You will agree with me that the issue of affordability remains a challenge for many who are desirous of keying into the opportunities which internet offers. Of course, there are several other challenges that limit people's access to the internet; but there is no denying the fact the issue of affordable pricing occupies center stage. Through the eye opening discussions which happened at the Forum and the subsequent A4AI's Nigerian Coalition meeting/workshop held on the 14th and 15th, I became more exposed to the behind the scene technicalities that drive up the price of internet. There is so much women can do to equip one another with the support and development needed to bring themselves online. Women are the ones who have answers to some of those challenges which relegate them to the unfavorable side of the digital divide; so our voices must count.

On the issue of the advice I will give to any young girl within or beyond my community who aspires to birth or influence positive change, my word will be- "Identify and believe in the positive change you want create, and stay focused. Remember always that no one is going to hand you your leadership right, you have to claim it"

Let's stay connected!

Warm regards,
Greengirl

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