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Digital Empowerment For Women

The Internet has opened up new opportunities for me and, as I said in my previous story, I have learnt a lot online. The amount of information available online from all over the world is growing at a constant pace, helpful as this information pulls users in many different directions and puts the onus on users to determine what has value. This gives users an enormous amount of power, and knowledge, as they get to determine what information is most valuable. I continually have to decide what information is most important to me as I pursue my personal and professional goals.

When I was a fresh graduate just out of university, where access to computers was minimal, I was hired by an Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) company that assumed that I knew a lot about ICTs. I was surrounded by jargon, acronyms and concepts that I had not heard of before. In the beginning, I would ask my colleagues what all of this meant, but this wasn’t the most productive way of learning. I had learned about the Internet in school, having done a bit of research for reports, and I knew there was useful information to be found online. So, I said to myself: “Why not try to find this information online!” And indeed, all the answers to my questions were there.

My colleagues could not have possibly given me as much knowledge as I found online. And, because of this experience, when I started teaching others about ICTs, I too simplified concepts because I knew how confusing it could be. I wanted others to know that learning about ICTs was not that hard and that all those technical terms have simple meanings. I think I shared with you previously that I have never attended an ICT class, and indeed I probably never will - the Internet is and has been my class.

The Internet has also been a networking tool. Through online interaction, I still meet people to this day who know me through a discussion group that I used to moderate five years back. These people saw my work online and became interested in knowing more about me and others were even inspired just by the interaction they had with me online. For my own inspiration, when I was younger, I used to subscribe to inspirational quotes that talked about life in general. These quotes were very motivational to me and helped me make serious decisions or encouraged me to take action in my life.
Online networking has also been instrumental in connecting me to every job I’ve had, after my first. I became Country Director of Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) Uganda, my current position, through online interaction with somebody, who knew someone, who knew somebody else, who knew me. Now tell me how I could ever have found this connection if it was not for the power of the Internet.

I also launched a company with help from the Internet. In the beginning, I had very little information about how to even start a company – so for guidance about writing my profile and to finding out what type of company I needed to incorporate, I went online. To help me get started, I downloaded profile templates and read about similar companies. To this day, I still go online to find information about anything I would like to know in relation to my business and I am always learning something new.

I believe that online empowerment helps with offline empowerment, because once you have knowledge, you start to act on it and share it with others. The digital empowerment of women is critical in this day and age. Women cannot become fully realized global citizens and socio-economic participants without the Internet and, as women are the majority of the world’s population; we cannot afford to leave them behind. Women are the mothers of our nations, and empowering them, empowers a nation.

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

Comments

Bheki's picture

Beautiful testimonial

Dear Natalie,

Thank you for your posting. This is one of the clearest descriptions I have read about the power of the internet to educate, network, and empower. I love your description of how you used the internet to educate yourself about the internet, and how you then used your knowledge to make it simpler and more understandable for other women. It was also interesting to hear that you launched a business through what you learned on the internet. Your statement that "once you have knowledge, you start to act on it and share it with others" really captures the spirit of who you are as a person.

My very best to you in your efforts going forward. i know you are an inspiration to many women and are making a real difference in lifting women up to become fully realized! Thank you for showing up in your particular and very important way.

Bheki

Natalie K's picture

Thank You

Thank you Bheki for those encouraging words,
You make me feel really proud of myself,
Like they say, "the struggle continues", so we can only move forward.
Warm Regards,
Natalie

Natalie K

Tam's picture

Wow

Dear Natalie,

You are walking proof that the world is better off for women to be able to do work with computers. I agree wholeheartedly that it is time that the beautiful and healing power of women come forward now, as much and as fully as possible. The internet is assisting so vastly. I love your statement that "women are the mothers of our nations, and empowering them, empowers a nation". May the winds carry you far, Sister.

Tamarack

Natalie K's picture

And the winds will:-)

Thank you Tamarack for your comments,
I indeed hope that the winds carry me and many other women far to success:-)
"One by one makes a bundle" so it all starts with one step and i believe we have taken some good steps forward.

Warm Regards,
Natalie

Natalie K

amymorros's picture

Your piece is well-written

Your piece is well-written and very clear as to the power of the Internet to educate and empower.

You have used the Internet to further your career and gain more knowledge of online technologies. It is heartening to know that the Internet is able to foster meaningful connections that help others.

There was an article in the US newspaper the New York Times on the impact of online harassment and bullying by (often) anonymous users and how people combat it. It is also important to focus on the good that happens due to online interaction and encourage people not to shy away from being active and engaged.

Amy
@amyinstl

Natalie K's picture

Thats Right!

Dear Amy,
I agree with you, the Internet just like many other things in life has pros and cons,
You just need to learn how to deal with them and protect yourself,
And yes focus on the benefits!

Thank you for your comment,
Natalie

Natalie K

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