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Its a click away

The use of Internet, especially the search engines have helped me a great deal in achieving my goals and getting new working entry points. It has helped me get resources and also connecting with interesting people locally and around the world. It has also helped me start up an organization in my rural village. The proper use of the Internet has enabled me to gain a lot on knowledge and skills, because I have numerous short International courses certificates that I have done through the internet either on line studies, or simply by applying and getting scholarships to the Institutes that have made me a mature leader, from sharing experiences with other participants from around the world, to education and all. I have everything to gain from the internet. I now look at the world with different lenses.
Since January 2007, I have been coordinating the National chapter of the World March of Women. All this was done through the net. I joined a network of progressive social activists on line, and when there was a call to application for a social movement’s seminar in Brussels- Belgium, I applied and was shortlisted, then invited. It is in this forum that I learned about the WMW, after the meeting in Brussels, we had several follow up meetings with world march of women members in Canada and South Africa, and it is how we managed to organize ourselves as grassroots women, and now we organize on our own. Just recently, at the 9th International meeting of the World March of women, which was held in Sao Paulo –Brazil, I was elected the representative of Anglophone African region at the International Council.
In 2008, as an artist I was on a listserve (maillist) of International women script writers, I visited one of the links on the same site that led me to the women arts website. It is in this website that I learned about a new international upcoming women artist’s holiday called SWAN which is Support Women Artists Now - in full. I did join the Women Arts mailing list and applied to host the first SWAN day like all the other countries were doing. The executive director of Women was magnanimous and offered to support the Kenyan celebration in March 2008, since then, I have been coordinating SWAN events in Kenya which has now become a big event that brings women artists of all genres together.
It is because of the internet that I am able to have regular international meetings through skype and social media like fabebook. We regularly hold meetings with friends far away, not only international but also locally, thus save time and money for physical travel. Without the internet, I don’t know where I would be as a person, or where our women’s movement would be.
For me, the internet has really been that space for creating and building oneself. If used properly, women can move mountains for their own good.
Yes, I totally believe that online empowerment can definitely lead to off line empowerment. In my example with the way I started organizing the SWAN day in Kenya, I was empowered on line to go ahead and mobilize or rather empower others who are out there to be part of this inspiring movement of women artists. SWAN is meant to be a holiday for women artists of all genres without excluding anyone because of race, class or even their ability to get the information themselves on line. Since I was targeting all, I started talking about it, writing about it on IEC materials (t-shirts, banners, flyers,) people started knowing about SWAN and got interested. On SWAN events, we mobilize even the media both print and visual media, and they show /write about SWAN, thus a lot of people get empowered off the net. Every year, we get new people joining in, and most are not necessarily empowered on line. And the movement is growing both on and out of the Net
Digitally empowering women is very important because there is nothing permanent on earth like change, so time of change of communication strategy is now. It has more advantages than vices. Women will get to each other regardless of where they are in a click of a button; it is easier to share documents and important materials for women empowerment. It is also a cost effective way of reaching many. I connect with women around the world because this is a digital era, and we all strive to change the lives of women and transform the world. Through digital connections, a lot of ideas and experiences within a really shaort time, and its amazing how we connect

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

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PohChing's picture

Internet

The internet really makes doing some tasks more convenient, such as meeting online without having to travel and as mentioned, saves cost. Time is also saved. There are the limitations to it as well, like lacking the human touch as humans will still want the face to face contact, being able to communicate directly, to further interact and understand, ask questions and clarify etc. The security issues on working online like cyber crimes, the information and wordings like comments on the internet is "forever" so sometimes, any misunderstandings online seems not erasable whether the writer does it intentionally or not. There is also the validity of information on the net which has to be considered.

Sophie Dowllar's picture

Internet validity

I totally agree with you about the Internet limitations, but looking at the advantages they surpass the disadvantages. I can imagine without the net, or maybe a few years ago...i would not belong to this international network of women, and alot of the grassroot's women would not know that the same problems we face here at the village level, are faced with women the world over..even in America, UK, Germany, France e.t.c...How long would it take us to do the international awareness if we had to meet only face to face...Questions and clarities can also be done on a click of a button. it is easier for one to get the right information about a far away incident in a country where one has never been...with the net, one can search and get the current and accurate information.
On building alternatives everywhere..the web is our best communication alternative to the face-face meetings especially when connecting people from a distance

SaritaMat's picture

Great achievements indeed

What an achiever you are! I was simply amazed to go through all your contributions towards the welfare of the mankind.You are an example for millions to understand that if a woman has a determination,she can rise high and give valuable contribution in different fields.
Great going and I congratulate you for taking the service towards the mankind to another level.

Regards,

SaritaMat

Marah Mbine Ngole Epie's picture

Congratulations!

Dear Sophie, It is amazing, indeed, how much you have achieved by using the internet. keep rolling on!
As I read your piece, the first phrase that caught my attention was the 'search engine'. We all know that an engine produces 'power' and makes 'move'. Today you are using the internet power to move... and I can see you moving!!!
Connecting to people, networking, acquiring new resources, energy and opportunities, that's what World Pulse promotes.
You say you see the world today through a new lens... Sure, the internet focuses 'light' and you see clearer now. I am glad you are encouraging and doing quite alot to empower your communities through your organisation and other activities.
We both affirm that much can be done online, which is considerably cheap, secure and very convenient. As a career woman, the internet frees you from the juggling act... You plan your activities better now, SURE!
You are a mature leader today, but I humbly add that "Keep yearnig for more power, learning and moving", so the sky will be your limit!
This anecdote...Following the last National Day celebration in Cameroon, I witnessed an artist brandish in meeting places a photo of an anniversary cake she made for the occasion in her locality, advertising her skill as a professional baker... The internet keeps us UNLIMITED!

joyce.msita's picture

Great work

Dear Sophie..

I have not so much to say, but i am very encouraged by what you wrote. Thank you

Julia O'Byrne's picture

Inspiring post!

Hi Sophie!
Thank you for this post. I am very inspired by it. You have done so many awesome and cool things! SWAN and WMW both sound really incredible and I think it's wonderful you are a leader for both. I loved these lines that you wrote: "Without the internet, I don’t know where I would be as a person, or where our women’s movement would be.
For me, the internet has really been that space for creating and building oneself. If used properly, women can move mountains for their own good." I think it's fabulous that the internet has helped you so much. However, I think you have shown that you have the determination and talent to have made it without the internet too :) It's great that the internet exists though to facilitate all these great things we want to do.

I completely agree with you that online empowerment can lead to offline empowerment. I think having a voice online and being able to use the internet to meet like minded people, to get things done, etc. can lead to more confidence offline too.

I look forward to reading more from you.

Best wishes,
Julia

Jumi's picture

Limitations yet great opportunities

Hello, Sophie. You've identified the issues and definitely these issues need to be addressed. I think despite the limitations, there are abundant opportunities and these opportunities give women a chance to continue to engage with each other and the challenges that we face in different parts of the world.

joyce.msita's picture

Thank you all very much

Thank you all so, so much..Its interesting to learn that there are amazing people like you out there who read and comment on ideas ..This is inspiring and very kind of you all.

Shukran...

Dear Sophie - you are a true testimony to the transformative powers of the internet. Look what you have accomplished!! I was humbled by your story...and equally inspired by the work you are doing with WMW and SWAN. Thank you so much for sharing! I loved that you wrote this, "I have everything to gain from the internet. I now look at the world with different lenses." So happy for you!

In love and peace,
Terry

sophie, vous avez un talent ma chère. après la lecture de votre journal, je comprends que grâce à l'internet, on peut suivre diferents cours et obtenir des certificats. or, c'est aussi mon souhait, de suivre les cours en ligne. comment alors je peux proceder pour arriver aussi à suivre les courts en ligne et obtenir les certificats? quels sont les cours que vous avez suivi?
voici mon adresse E-mail:kasindibulambo@gmail.com

félicitation ma cherie

courage!

kasindi

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