Strategically using ICTs to amplify voices of silenced groups

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Women empowered to protect themselves against digital dangers

Zimbabwe is faced with increasing cases of violence against women and girls and the scourge has not spared women and girls living in Bulawayo North district. New Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are creating new ways for crimes against women and girls to be committed.

In an effort to challenge the menace, the Creative Centre for Communication and Development facilitated a Citizen Journalism training programme in Bulawayo North district aimed at increasing the voices of women and girls who are challenging violence against women and girls in the public domain using ICTs.

The training which started on November 20 and ended on December 10 saw each participant receiving an average of two hours per day of training.

Of the 19 women and girls who participated in the training, all of them owned a mobile phone, 18 did not own a computer and 1 woman had access to a computer at home shared among six family members. 12 women and girls had never used a computer, 6 women had basic computer skills and all of them could not use the internet although 5 could access the internet using their mobile phones. All of them had no knowledge of digital dangers and ways to protect themselves from ‘cyber pigs’ once they land on the super highway. 

The participants were trained to use computers and mobile phones to access the internet and challenge Violence Against Women while staying safe online.

A visual artist facilitated a two-day visual art session to allow both literate and semi-literate women to express their personal experiences on Violence Against Women.

Sazini Ndlovu, 37, one of the participants, a vegetable vendor and a single parent says she has communicated with strangers on Whatsup, a mobile software that allows people to send SMS at very low costs.

The training raised awareness on issues such as cyber-stalking, digital pornography and online harassment.