Strategically using ICTs to amplify voices of silenced groups

Monday, November 19, 2012

New offices give impetus to ICT training

Women and girls attend a three-week computer training programme

THE spacious offices accommodating the Creative Centre for Communication and Development (CCCD) has attracted the attention of the community and the organization has witnessed an increase in the number of women and girls coming for training.
Many women and girls who have never used a computer in their lives have embraced this opportunity and are eagerly absorbing all that CCCD is offering in their Citizen Journalism training programme that also includes an introduction to basic computer skills. Some of the women receiving training are above 50 years while the girls are as young as 11 years old. The women and girls are tapping into the potential of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to transform their lives while staying connected and informed about what is happening around them. They are saying this will help them to make informed decision while staying abreast with economic, social and political developments in the country.
The programme team says working with women and girls who are at different levels of ICTs skills and knowledge requires patience. The programme team says it is important to mix the young and the old during training sessions because they offer support to each other, make mistakes together and learn without feeling disempowered or unintelligent. During trainings the atmosphere is filled with laughter as many laugh their mistakes away as they feel more confident with technology in their hands. Our Citizen Journalism programme seeks to give technology back into the hands of women and girls. It amplifies their voices while creating a safe space for community dialogue to take place.    
The programme team for the CCCD says the process of making technology useful in the hands of women and girls requires the team to be patient as some of the women struggle with minor tasks such as scrolling a page or clicking the mouse of the computer. The programme team is however inspired by the level of determination of these women to master the use of technology.
“When I see the women and girls putting all their effort in wanting to learn how to use technology it instills so much hope in me. I see the women and girls discovering the power of ICTs in shaping and changing their lives. I know that the beginning might be a challenge for them but with time they will master the art of using technology to unleash the untapped potential in them which will in turn transform their lives” says the Director and founder of the CCCD, Gertrude Pswarayi.
Pswarayi says she understands how intimidating technology can be to new users. She says her first encounter with a computer was at the age of 20. She describes her first experience as frightening yet exciting. She says CCCD’s training programmes have been designed with knowledge and experience in mind to make the entire training programme an empowering process.  
We have responded to requests from the community and we currently have a group of women and adolescent girls undergoing a three week introductory training session on basic computer skills. We have also organized a bridging course for pupils who have just completed their primary education course and are preparing to go to secondary school. We are working with the primary students to prepare them so that they will be at the same level with their counterparts who are privileged with computers at home.