Rudi International, through its ICT Programs, recently launched a series of training targeting young women aged 18-25 years to introduce them to everything Internet. We have been working in this field since 2012, trying to engage more and more women into this space, helping them understand why and how they need to embrace an ICT career and more broadly, to engage in STEM.
In partnership with Sacred Portion Children’s Outreach, a sister organization, we started a series of training that started in June and scheduled to resume in September 2017 in Goma, eastern Congo where we are based. A group of 20 young women will be trained, one weekend every month (Saturday and Sunday) in different topics, divided into different phases.
For June, they have been taken through the basics of the Internet such as understanding the origin of the Internet, introduction to Internet governance, how to create and use an email address as well as basics of social media usage. They were taught about the main organizations working in the ICT space, globally as well regionally and how they can be part of the policy process. As a result, they now have started communicating using Gmail and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The session in June was the starting point as we look forward to the remaining 3 phases, with the same group of young women.
The next phases
The second phase, in July, they will go through a module on “Using the Internet for peace, development and advocacy” where they will learn how to use social media sites to promote causes they believe in, to share positive messages and be part of the Congolese online community.
The third phase will focus on “Citizen Journalism” where the ladies will learn basics of blogging as well as writing for the web. Our team of trainers will use their time to take these young women through blog creation, production of content and how they can promote their blog posts on social media. We want to see these women be able to take over the web through production of quality content and be citizen journalists that will be followed for their posts.
The last phase in September will deal with “Online security and data protection”. This is essential in this world and in the DRC with the current state of Internet freedom; we want Congolese young women to be able to surf the web while taking care of their personal security and the one of the people they communicate with. This subject is scheduled for the end of the training because by this time, participants will have acquired the knowledge they need to use the Internet in an effective way.
In between each phase, our trainers will be checking on them and use WhatsApp groups to further communicate, share tips and receive homework as a way to help them discover new things, features that they cannot learn during the training due to insufficient funding. With this project, we want to emancipate these women and help bridge the digital divide that exists between men and women in the use of technology.
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