Strategically using ICTs to amplify voices of silenced groups

Friday, September 18, 2009

Recognising and building communication rights using ITCs and Advocacy

THE Creative Centre for Communication and Development (CCCD) conducted a one-day training workshop on Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and Advocacy to build and recognise communication rights in Zimbabwe.

The workshop engaged, educated, empowered and enlightened marginalised and vulnerable community members in Bulawayo about ways of using ICTs and Advocacy skills to enjoy their communication rights and other fundamental freedoms.

More than 68 adolescent girls, women and men attended the one day training session. The workshop saw participants familiarising themselves with different types of computers, learning and identifying computer hardware, learning about the history of computers and various uses of computers.

The majority of participants was not computer literate and was enthusiastic at getting an opportunity to learn about computers so that they can be able to research for information on the World Wide Web and also be able to communicate with friends and relatives on the internet.

Talent Wuchira, a Grade Seven pupil who attended the training expressed gratitude to the organisation for the workshop saying that their school had no computer and this was her first time to use a computer. She added that she would want to take part in subsequent workshops so that she gets to understand more about computers to avoid problems when she gets to tertiary level where most people get to learn about computers in Zimbabwe. Most primary and secondary schools in the country have no computer laboratories for student. Parents are also poor to have computers at home.

On advocacy, participants defined the term advocacy and learned about various advocacy tools such as the use of theatre, sport, poetry and music. Image theatre was used to enrich the discussion and participants engaged in participatory presentations where they identified advocacy issues and present them in image forms.

The workshop is one of the series on workshops that will be held for twelve months. This project seeks to address the failure to recognise and uphold communication rights resulting in the violation of basic rights and other fundamental freedoms leading to loss of life, illness, sexual violence, sexual exploitation, and other serious infringements of human rights.

The outcomes of the project include the ability of marginalised women and girls to effectively use communication skills and ICTs to express their needs, to make their voices heard, to manage their own communication, and to participate fully in their own development, improved access to accurate information about communication rights at grassroots level, and women and adolescent girls empowered with life-skills (assertive behaviour, communication skills, and self confidence) to enable them to articulate and defend their communication rights.

We thank the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) for funding this project.