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