The Internet: A world of possibilities
I do not know where to start when it comes to the doors the internet has opened for me as a women's rights activist in my country Zimbabwe but one amazing experience immediately shoots up in my mind. My Community Solutions Fellowship in the United States for four months under the women and gender thematic area. I found out about this amazing fellowship which is funded by the United States Department of State through a Zimbabwean online newsletter which I am subscribed to, Kubatana.net. The whole application process was online, and I would go to one of the few internet cafes that were in the small town I worked in then, Chinhoyi because at my work place we didn't have internet then. I will always remember the day I had to submit the application, because the internet was down in all the internet cafes in Chinhoyi that day and it was the day before the deadline. The next day, I was travelling deep into some remote areas for field work and so I had to submit it that very evening after work and yet I walked up and down the whole town trying out the internet cafes. Finally, a man who owned one of the internet cafes loaned me his modem since the wireless was down and that was when I managed to submit the application, around 8 pm at night. Phew! Good news I got this fellowship in the end.
Under this fellowship, one of the things we had to do was to create e-portfolios of our projects, showing how we were going to implement our follow on projects. We learnt how to do this through videos on Youtube and created the e-portfolios of out projects and we voted for the best projects, and the 12 best projects were presented in Washington DC at our End of Program Conference. Mine was one of the 4 projects chosen under the women and gender thematic area, and I presented my pitch and created a Prezi presentation (I also had to learn how to do this on the Internet). Well, I presented my pitch, with the assistance from my supervisor, from the Women's Initiative for Self Empowerment, the organization I had been working with in Minnesota during my fellowship and my project was voted the best under the women and gender issues thematic area. You can find my e-portfolio here, http://www.irexcli-12.com/user/view.php?id=107 E-portfolios allowed a lot of people to get to know more about our work, who we were, and what we are doing in our countries
However, the internet is still quite inaccessible to a lot of women. It is easy to tell this just by counting the number of women and men in any given time in an internet cafe, and always the number of women will be outnumbered by that of men. The young women I work with, do not even know much about the Internet and even about how popular social media sites like Facebook work. Through the internet I found amazing opportunities and I managed to pitch my project in front of hundreds of people in Washington DC.