Introducing Young Congolese Girls to the Internet!

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.

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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.

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Ladies enjoying the training during phase 1 in June 2017

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.

 

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Ladies enjoying the training during phase 1 in June 2017

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.

Want to participate?

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If you want to partner with us to advance the use of technology in Congo and participate in the reduction of modern slavery, do not hesitate to use the Contact section on this website to share with us your thoughts.

We took the kids to a field trip, again!

The school year was very long and we are glad we can relax and enjoy the beauty of this place as we enter our holidays”, said one of our students during the field trip that took around 92 of our sponsored students to a private ranch and a garden in Sake, at over 30 kms from Lac Vert where most of them are staying.

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Arsene Tungali, Rudi International is introducing the ranch to the students before the tour starts

Field visits are an essential part of our work, as part of our Rudi Education program; we take the kids out of their comfort zone to discover a new place, a different reality from what they are used to. The main objective of these is to show the kids that despite their current life, they are able to imagine, dream and work on determining their own future which should not be determined by their past. During our meetings, we remind them that they cannot change their past, that they have a say in designing the future they want for their lives, with God’s help. Rudi International is just opening one door, giving them access to education, a lifetime opportunity that they should take seriously.

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In the past, we took them on another field visit, the national broadcasting corporation (RTNC) which is located at a hill called “Mont Goma”, in the center of the city. From the top, you have a view of the whole Goma city as well as of the Nyiragongo volcano. They also had the opportunity to learn everything radio and TV broadcasting process. Check this one as they visited the Goma main harbor!

On July 5th 2017, they had the opportunity, at the ranch, to ride a donkey and this was beautiful as they were thriving to stay on its back and at the same time learn to pet it so the donkey stays quiet and humble. These are things you will pay a lot of money to do but we were fortunate enough we didn’t pay per kid but we paid just a small contribution in order to benefit from this experience. The owner of this place was so welcoming after we explained to him why we are offering this experience to our kids.

 

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Most of these kids are living in families torn by different issues, from poverty to painful experiences their parents went through. Some of these kids have a single parent, either because the father decided to leave them or the mother left looking for a better life leaving her family behind. Some of these students are living at their grandparents because parents are no longer together for so many reasons. But what they all have in common is that they are long time internally displaced families, who left their original place of stay due to war/conflict and have been living for the past 5 or 7 years at a place where they have no land to farm; they are now renting a small place to stay, in difficult life conditions, making it hard for them to gain a living and support the education of their kids.

That’s why at Rudi International we have decided to focus our action in Lac Vert so that we can support these families, either through supporting the education of a number of their children as well as supporting their mothers, sisters through our Sewing Project. We have been doing this for quite some time now and we are thankful to God and our supporters who are joining hands to support our work. God is simply using us to put love in action, with the support of our friends from all over the world.

At the beautiful private garden, the kids had the opportunity to learn on modern farming using machinery. They had the opportunity to see how technology can apply as well into farming, making life easy and allowing a large space to be farmed in a short period of time.

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So, this machine can work on this whole space for 3 days, only ?” asked one of the kids after they have been shown an engine that is able to take care of a spot that would require up to 10 people to do the same job, within two weeks or more. In their context, all they see is their mothers, sisters going to farm and spend weeks working on a small piece of land and come back home very very tired.

With this field trip, we were able to congratulate them for a year well spent and wish them the best of holidays and we look forward to seeing them again in September when school starts. On our side, we will be working hard to make sure we are able to gather enough sponsors to support their schooling.

You can learn more about previous trips we did with the students in the past on this website or through our Facebook page, Rudi International.

If you want to sponsor a student (or renew your sponsorship) for the upcoming school year, please visit our website and use the donate button to make a secure donation. You will then receive a thank you note form our President to confirm your donation. We will then assign you to a specific children in need of support.

ICT policy training for Congolese activists held in Goma

In partnership with the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA), we brought together human rights activists, journalists, bloggers, lawyers, etc to discuss ICT policy issues in Africa and in the world. A special focus was on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) because we examined the current policies and the way the policy development process is being handled in the DRC.

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For two days, it was a good opportunity for journalists and human rights advocates in Goma to be exposed to Internet freedom topics and know how they can be part of the policy discussion. One of the major activities was that participants were able to read the current ICT laws and to compare it with the new proposed ICT laws currently under discussion at the Parliament.

Recommendations were drafted on how the ICT proposal can be improved and have it include issues such as privacy, freedom of expression, etc. As a result, a statement was issued: DR Congo Parliament Urged to Pass Laws That Support Citizens’ Rights Online (available on CIPESA’s website), its French version can be downloaded here [Declaration de la Societe Civile – Francais].

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This training was the first of its kind to be held in this part of the country. Rudi International has been working in the area of Internet freedom for a few years now, being represented at major events discussing Internet shutdowns and other violations of citizen’s digital rights.

We are committed to work with a lot of partners in shaping the Internet freedom agenda in the DRC. If you want to partner or want to learn more, do not hesitate to reach out to us.