Barbie White Saviour Complex

This semester I’ve been teaching on a Humanitarian Communication module for the BA Media and International Development degree at UEA. Whilst planning my lecture on social media and development, I can came across this hilarious new Instagram account – Barbie Savior. It has over 5,000 followers in less than 5 weeks and I’m sure that this will increase at a rapid rate. Big respect to whoever came up with this very funny parody of the White Saviour Complex. It reminds me slightly of the Humanitarians of Tinder site set up a couple of years ago. It’s great that people are taking the time to come up with inventive ideas to raise awareness of the potential harm of voluntourism. Shame that a couple of Bratz Dolls have made it into some photos. That’s just wrong.

Two of my personal favourites – Barbie #Slumfie

barbie-savior

Barbie Dancing

barbie-savior2

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Read More

india-social-media

Social Media and International Development: Academic Texts

Here are a just a few of the academic texts and papers that I believe are informative for anyone studying social media’s relationship with international development.

Updated: 14/04/2016

TEXT BOOKS

General – Communication / Social Media

Boyd, D (2014) It’s Complicated: the social lives of networked teens
Boyd is has worked for Microsoft Research for a number of years and is one of the leading experts in the field of social media. The book focuses on youth in the US and how they lead their lives online. Some of the findings from her study are obvious, other quite illuminating.

Castells, M (2011) Communication Power
A key text in mass communication and power strategies. Castells coined the phrase “mass self-communication” to describe how social media and internet technologies have aided social movements.

Dijck, J V (2013) The Culture of Connectivity: A Critical History of Social Media
A historical and critical analysis of “connective media”.

Fuchs, C (2014) Social Media: a critical introduction
What are the implications of social media such as Facebook, Google, YouTube and Twitter for power, the economy and politics. This book provides a critical introduction for anyone studying social media

Hindman, M (2008) The Myth of Digital Democracy
Three years before the Arab Spring, Hindman argues that political blogs and the internet have done little to change the public sphere. Was he wrong?

Hinton, S and Hjorth, L (2014) Understanding Social Media
This is a very accessible critical introduction to social media. There are two particularly good chapters: ‘What is Web 2.0′ and ‘Social Network Sites’. The chapter on ‘Participation and User Generated Content’ also clearly explains the difference between user generated content and user created content and a great section on users as produers.

Jarvis, J (2011) Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live
Jarvis firmly believes in the power of the internet and social media and how it ‘publicness’ allows us to think, collaborate and organize in ways that were impossible before.

Morozov, E (2011) The Net Delusion: How not to liberate the world
There are cyber-utopians and cyber-dystopians and Morozov firmly sits in the latter camp. Well, he’d prefer to call himself a cyber-realist. Some fascinating insights into censorship

Murthy, D (2013) Twitter: Social Communication in the Twitter Age
My favourite book of 2013. A brilliant introduction to the use of Twitter as a communication tool.

Rheingold, H (2002) Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution
Rheingold, a veteran technology writer predicts how mobile technologies will change the world. He predicted the power of the mobile phone ten years before the Arab Spring.

Shirky, C (2009) Here Comes Everybody: How Change Happens When People Come Together
An excellent book about group forming and how social media has made collective action “ridiculously easy”.

Trapscott, D (2009) Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation Is Changing Your World
A fascinating insight into the ‘Net Generation’ and ‘Digital Natives’.

Weller, K, Bruns, A, Burgess, A, Mahrt, M (2013) Twitter and Society
A current overview of research into the uses of Twitter. There is also a section on analysing Twitter data.

Arab Spring and other social media “revolutions”

Castells, M (2012) Networks of Outrage and Hope: Social Movements in the Internet Age
An analysis of the new forms of social movements by the leading academic on networked societies.

Dabashi, H (2012) The Arab Spring: The End of Postcolonialism
Dabashi uses the phrase ‘delayed defiance’ for how the Arab Spring has transformed the geopolitics of the ‘Middle East’.

Gerbadou, P (2012) Tweets and the Streets: Social Media and Contemporary Activism
Digital activism and contemporary protest culture.

Ghonim, W (2012) Revolution 2.0.
Wael Ghonim is considered one of the most influential people in the 2011 Egyptian Revolutions. This is his personal account of the events. A fascinating and compelling read.

Howard, PM, Hussain, MM (2013) Democracy’s Fourth Wave? Digital Media and the Arab Spring
An examination of the role of the internet, mobiles and social media in the Arab Spring.

Lovink, G (2011) Networks Without a Cause
A probing critique of social media and network theory. Useful chapters and case studies on Facebook, Wikileaks, blogging and online video.

Mason, P (2012) Why It’s Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions
A discussion of the various ‘social media revolutions’ of 2011: from London to Egypt. An excellent account of the various uprisings around the world.

JOURNAL ARTICLES

General (social media)

Castells, M (2007) Communication, Power and Counter-power in the Network Society
An seminal paper by Castells on the emergence of mass self-communication, power and politics. The new public sphere.

Kaplan, AM (2010) Users of the World, Unite! The Challenges and Opportunities of Social Media
One of the most cited papers on social media, often quoted for it’s definition of social media. But is it still current?

Steinfield, C, Ellison NB, Lampe C (2008) Social capital, self-esteem, and the use of online social network sites: A longitudinal analysisAn investigation into the relationship between intensity of Facebook use, measures of psychological well-being, and bridging social capital.

Social Media and International Development

Ali, AH (2011) The Power of Social Media in Developing Nations
An excellent paper on social media and international development with a comprehensive introduction and some insightful case studies.

Bailard, CS (2012) A Field Experiment on the Internet’s Effect in an African Election: Savvier Citizens, Disaffected Voters, or Both
A study of the internet and social media’s influences on the Tanzanian political elections.

Best, ML, Meng, A (2015) Twitter democracy: policy versus identity politics in three emerging African democracies
760,000 tweets gathered during national elections in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya to analyse policy relevant discussion.

Bidwell, NJ et al (2010) Please Call ME.N.U.4EVER: Callback and Social Media Sharing in Rural Africa

I admit to not having read this yet. But it looks too interesting not to include… I hope I’m right.

Breuer, A, Farooq, B (2012) Online Political Participation: Slacktivism or Efficiency Increased Activism? Evidence from the Brazilian Ficha Limpa Campaign
A study of social media and political campaigning. Does social media contribute to participatory democracy? A case study of the Brzailian anti-corruption campaign Ficha Limpa.

Briones, RL, Kuch, B, Liu BF, Jin, Y (2011) Keeping up with the digital age: How the American Red Cross uses social media to build relationships
How the Red Cross use social media to communicate with its various publics/stakeholders.

Chiumbi, S (2012) Exploring Mobile Phone Practices in Social Movements in South Africa – the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign
Mobile phone usage in South Africa to mobilize deprived communities

Comunello, F, Anzera, G (2012) Will the Revolution be Tweeted? A Conceptual Framework for Understanding the Social Media and the Arab Spring
To understand the Arab uprisings we need to consider the complex interactions between society, technology and political systems. There is no evidence that fully supports the techno-realist or digital evangelist perspectives.

Drumbl, MA (2012) Child Soldiers and Clicktivism: Justice, Myths and Prevention
A brief paper dispelling the myths of child soldiers portrayed by some NGOs, with a focus on Kony 2012.

Gamal, H (2010) Network Society: A Social Evolution Powered by Youth
Published in the Global Media Journal, Arabian Edition the year before the Arab Spring. A discussion on the digital divide and cyber-optimists. An important article in a literature review considering the author and its timing.

Gregory, S (2012) Kony 2012 Through a Prism of Video Advocacy Practices and Trends
A brief anaylsis of the Kony 2012 video: storytelling, video advocacy, activsm, spreadability and drillability

Guo, C, Saxton, GD (2012) Tweeting Social Change: How Social Media Are Changing Nonprofit Advocacy
This study analyses the social media use of 188 advocacy organisations. It proposes a three-stage pyramid model of social media-based advocacy.

Howard, PN, Agarwal, SD, Hussain, MM (2011) When do States Disconnect Their Digital Networks? Regime Responses to the Political Uses of Social Media
This study looks at 566 incidents where social media has been disabled. The author compares the dataset to understand why states take this drastic action.

Jefferess, D (2013) Humanitarian relations: Emotions and the limits of critique
A critical analysis of development marketing, social media and humanitarian fundraising in the context of the ‘Africa for Norway’ spoof video.

Jurgenson, N (2011) When Atoms Meets Bits: Social Media, the Mobile Web and Augmented Revolution
“Digital dualism” – I’ll let you decide.

Kamis, S, Gold, PB, Vaughn, K (2012) Beyond Egypt’s ‘Facebook Revolution’ and Syria’s ‘YouTube Uprising': Comparing Political Contexts, Actors and Communication Strategies.
A study comparing and contrasting the role of cyberactivism in the Egyptian revolution and Syrian uprising.

Khondker, HH (2011) Role of the New Media in the Arab Spring
This article considers the role of globalization, the media, new media and connectivity.

Li, J, Rao, HR (2010) Twitter as a Rapid Response News Service: An exploration in the context of the 2008 China Earthquake
An analysis of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake and Twitter as a new information channel.

Lee, Y, Hsieh, G (2013) Does Slacktivism Hurt Activism? The Effects of Moral Balancing and Consistency in Online Activism
An interesting look at the effects of online activism and the effects on monetary donations.

Lim, M (2013) Many Clicks But Little Sticks: Social Media Activism in Indonesia
A study of social media narratives in Indonesia and their potential impact as political activism.

Lovejoy, K and Saxton, GD (2012) Information, Community, and Action: How Nonprofit Organizations Use Social Media
This paper looks at 100 Nonprofit organizations in United States and how they utilize Twitter as a communications tool.

King, G, Pan, J, Roberts, M (2013) How censorship in China Allows Government Criticism but Silences Collective Expression
An analysis of social media content in China to measure levels of censorship.

Mandianou, M (2012) Humanitarian Campaigns in Social Media
How humanitarian campaigners have started to use social media to raise awareness and reach potential donors. The articles discusses polymedia events and the role of social networks.

Nemer, D, Freeman, G (2015) Empowering the Marginalized: Rethinking Selfies in the Slums of Brazil
This paper studies selfies to amplify the voice on the marginalized in Brazil.

Neumayer, C, Raffl, C (2008) Facebook for Global Protest: The Potential and Limits of Social Software for Grassroots Activism
Social media for grassroots activism in Columbia

Norris, P (2012) The Impact of Social Media on the Arab Uprisings: The Facebook, Twitter and YouTube Revolutions?
Social media and four functions for mass uprisings: informational, networking, cultural and behavioural.

Samin, N (2012) Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Social Media Moment
This paper contrasts the Egyptian experience with Saudi Arabia.

Seo, H, Kim, JY, Yang, S (2009) Global Activism and New Media: A study of Transnational NGOs’ online public relations
A survey of 75 transnational NGOs and how they use new media as a public relations tool.

Sheombar, A (2011) Social Media for International Development: Social Media Usage by Dutch Development and Aid Agencies
An MRes research project examining social media potential in the sector of Dutch Aid and development organisations.

Shirky, C (2011) The Political Power of Social Media: Technology, The Public Sphere, and Political Change
A discussion on the impact of social media in mobilizing mass political protests.

Smith, BG (2010) Socially Distributing Public Relations: Twitter, Haiti, and Interactivity in Social Media
This study explores social public relations through a qualitative analysis of user involvement on Twitter regarding relief efforts to support Haiti following the 7.0 earthquake that hit Port-Au-Prince in January, 2010

Tufekci, Z (2013) “Not this one”: Social Movements, the Attention Economy, and Microcelebrity Networked Activism
A study of networked microcelebrity activism and broadening participation.

Tufekci, Z, Wilson, C Social Media and the Decision to Participate in Political Protest: Observations from Tahrir Square
A survey of participants in the Tahrir protests to analyse how social media was used during the demonstrations.

Valenzuela, S, Arriagada, A, Scherman, A (2012) The Social Media Basis of Youth Protest Behaviour: The Case of Chile
An interesting exploration of social media’s contribution to the Chile Winter student protests.

Wall, M (2009) Africa on Youtube: Musicians, Tourists, Missionaries and Aid Workers
Videos representation of Ghana and Kenya on Youtube

Warren, C (2015) Explosive connections? Mass media, social media, and the geography of collective violence in African states
Evidence which demonstrates that social media penetration generates substantial increases in collective violence.

Wolsfeld, G, Segev, E, Sheafer, T (2013) Social Media and the Arab Spring: Politics Comes First
This study presents two broad theories: first that you cannot understand the role of social media in collective action without understanding the political environment and secondly that a significant increase in the use of social media is much more likely to follow a significant amount of protest activity than to precede it.

Yates, D, Paquette, S (2010) Emergency knowledge management and social media technologies: A case study of the 2010 Haitian eathquake

An analysis of social media and disaster and emergency management.

Youmans, WL & York, CY (2012) Social Media and the Activist Toolkit: User Agreements, Corporate Interests, and the Information Infrastructure of Modern Social Movements
An analysis role of social media in the Arab Spring uprisings using four case studies.

Zuckerman, E et al (2010) Blogs and Bullets: New Media on Contentious Politics
A critical analysis of “cyberutopians” and “cyberskeptics” perspectives on the impact of new media on political movements.

POLICY BRIEFS AND REPORTS

Ackland, R, Tanaka, K (2015) Development Impact of Social Media
A background paper prepared for the World Bank’s World Development Report 2016 Digital Dividends. The paper gives a good overview of social media for development with chapters on social learning, economic activity, emergency response and community voice.

Africa Practice (2014) The Social Media Landscape in Nigeria
Data on the personalities and platforms which are most influential in Nigeria in terms of content and quality.

Alder Consulting (2014) Social Media Nigeria Reports 2014
Five reports on the state of social media in Nigeria

Bohler-Muller, N and van der Merwe, C (2011) The potential of social media to influence socio-political change on the African Continent
A detailed account of the Arab Spring uprisings with some policy recommendations.

Camp, M (2016) Assessing the impact of social media on political communication and civic engagement in Uganda.
This paper was the result of the first annual Social Media Conference organised by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) in conjunction with the Centre for Media Literacy and Community Development (CEMCOD) and the African Centre for Media Literacy (ACME) in July 2015.

Friedrich Ebert Foundation (2014) – Social Media in Cameroon
Powerpoint presentation with stats on the rise of social media in Cameroon

Gao, H and Barbier, G (2011) Harnessing the Crowdsourcing Power of Social Media for Disaster Relief

IBT (2015) Social Media – Getting Your Voice Heard
Advice for NGOs and how to use social media as a communications tool.

Jebril, N, Stetka, V, Loveless, M (2013) Media and Democratisation: What is Known about the Role of Mass Media in Transitions to Democracy
The potential role of mass media in transitions to democracy, with case studies from Central and Easterm Europe, Latin America and the Arab World.

Johnson, R et al (2012) Social Media Amongst Most-at-Risk Populations in Jamaica
I was totally intrigued by this study as it offered some important practical insights into how social media can be used to disseminate health information. I’ve written to the authors twice to find out if it was successful but have not received a reply.

Kaigwa, M (2014) Nendo Social Media Trend Report, Kenya
An excellent report on the state of social media in Kenya

Nendo (2014) A-Z of Kenyan Twitter
Nice little report giving insights into Twitter in Kenya

Pedrick, C (2015) Embracing Web 2.0. and Social Media: A life changing pathway for agricultural development actors

Portland Communication (2014) How Africa Tweets
3 months of geo-located tweets from Africa

Taki, M, Coretti, L (2013) Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture: The Role of Social Media in Arab Uprisings – Past and Present
Six articles designed to answer :What are the cultural, technical and political variables that are conducive to using social media for mobilization? How have citizens and states used social media during the uprising and beyond? How do we research social media movements in the Arab world?

The Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) Embracing Web 2.0. and Social Media
18 case studies about how social media and Web 2.0. technologies have been used to support agricultural development. Case studies from Madagascar, Cameroon, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, Rwanda, Burkina Faso and more.

USAID (2013) Social Media Handbook for Agricultural Development Practitioners
An excellent interactive PDF document for people interested in social media for agricultural development.

Zab, S (2013) Why Nairobi is the Next World Tech Capital
Nice presentation including stats on mobile, internet and social in Africa.

VIDEOS

9 movies about social media textbooks
Students in the University of Westminster’s MA in Social Media have as part of my module “Critical Theory of Social Media and the Internet” directed movies about books that present theoretical knowledge and empirical research about social media’s role in society.

The power of social media and democracy
Iceland President Ólafur Grímsson talks about how he was made to take political action due to social media campaigning in Iceland during the global financial crisis.

Arab Democracy and Social Media with Ethan Zuckerman
A discussion about free speech in the developing world

Behind the Great Firewall of China
TED talk by blogger Michael Anti

Citizen Journalism as Counter to Censorship and Culture Wars
Talk at MIT by Zeynep Tufekci on 140 Journos

How Young Africans Found a Voice on Twitter
TED talk by 22 year old Siyanda Mohutsiwa from Botswanatalking about when her hashtag #IfAfricaWasABar went viral.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Read More

midwives4all

Midwivesforall – Engaging policy makers through social media

Nearly 300,000 women lose their life due to childbirth every year and almost 3 million newborns die in the first month of their life. Earlier this year the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Sweden launched a global campaign called ‘midwives4all’.

Uganda’s maternal and health indicators are amongst the poorest in the world. High maternal mortality is fuelled by a lack of trained midwives and low staff retention. As a response to this the Embassy of Sweden in Uganda joined the midwives4all campaign to influence policy makers, mobilise communities and attract young people to train as midwives.

Next up in our warm-up for the #midwives4all documentary, our champion, Hon. Dr. Chris Baryomunsi, Minister of State for Health, on Uganda’s progress with MDG 4 and 5

Posted by Embassy of Sweden in Kampala on Friday, June 12, 2015

 midwives4all worked with mass media (TV, radio and print) and organised a series of events to promote the campaigns and its key messages. Social Media also played a large part in the campaign. To reach out to a younger segment and to create a social media storm, a half day seminar for 38 young bloggers was organised.

Ane-Kirstine Bagger Birnbaum who is a National Program Officer for the Embassy of Sweden in Uganda said “The young bloggers’ seminar was a collaboration with a youth-led organisation called Reach a Hand Uganda (RAHU). I had worked with them at my previous workplace and approached them to see if they could help me get a good group of young bloggers. RAHU works on advocacy in the area of adolescent sexual and reproductive health and are frequently experimenting with ‘alternative’ media channels – i.e. social media (storms, hackathons), pop music and arts, flash mobs, etc. They have a network of peer educators who have all been trained in issues of young people’s sexual and reproductive health. The young bloggers that participated were therefore familiar with the concepts of maternal health and the benefits of using midwifes and at the same time they fitted with the key message of making midwifery a career of choice for young people. In addition to the RAHU peer educators, I had also identified a few midwifery students to participate to ensure a balanced discussion. The bloggers not only created a social media storm (as a warm up to one of our campaign events), it also helped the Embassy establish a small pool of advocates / ambassadors for the campaign cause.”

The seminar attracted a lot of attention and reached 631,512 Twitter users. It was an innovative and cost effective way to reach a new audience as well as building capacity. In addition to the blogging event a total of 46 campaign related updates were posted on the Embassy’s Facebook page with a total of 1,059 likes and a reach of 71,494. Twitter was also used actively with a total of 263 tweets from the Embassy’s and the Ambassador’s official Twitter accounts.

I asked Ane-Kirstine what advice she would give to other development organisations who want to engage with policy makers about issues using social media. She gave me 5 tips:

 

  1. Have a clear strategy: Campaigning on social media is open to everybody and the social media channels are overflowing with different types of campaigns and drives. So a clear strategy of how to use social media and who to target is essential.
  2. Boost professionalism /credibility: Use evidence, make sure your campaign is contextualized.
  3. Be visual: Use lots of pictures, infographics and develop a logo or a poster / banner for your campaign – it doesn’t need to be expensive but makes a big difference
  4. Engage key advocates / stakeholders directly and ask them to take part in or support the campaign – this gives buy-in and makes you more credible
  5. Try to think out of the box: Use the information / commitments you’ve gathered strategically – hand them over to a policy maker, try to get them announced on radio, link your campaign up with a small event (debate, competition, etc)
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Read More

amnestyinternational-logo

Amnesty International – Social Media Case Study

An interview with Dunya Kamal, Global Communities Officer at Amnesty International about their use of social media to further their cause.

1. How has social media changed the way Amnesty International communicate?

We’re able to inspire people to take injustice personally, in a very direct and organic way. Being the largest human rights organisation in the world means we need to be sure that we are engaging in the conversations our audience talk about, and providing them with content that they care about, relate to, and want to get involved in. It’s massively changed the way we communicate! We’re now creating content specifically for social media e.g. videos for Facebook, and we’re understanding our audience so that we can remain relevant.

2. What is Amnesty International’s most successful campaign on social media?

When we launched our Ireland report and campaign back in June 2015, we were hoping to get an impact with some really powerful graphics our in-house designer created. We weren’t expecting to break our own personal best, with it having the biggest engagement on Facebook for a single post that any of our campaigns has ever achieved (record petition signups in the first week at 15,000, too!).

Amnesty

Its success was down to a few factors: the content itself was demanding Ireland change its abortion law; the timing was just after the Marriage Referendum success, so many of our users were commenting with the feeling that ‘if the #MarRef happened, it’s about time we got around to this too’.

We’ve also had success with a short-running campaign targeting Shell to clean up the Niger Delta, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The focus on this one, in contrast, was Twitter, hijacking Shell’s own hashtag ‘#makethefuture’ and asking our audience via the website and our tweets, to target Shell.

 

3. How do you measure the success of your social media channels? What metrics do you use?

Success isn’t a tangible thing – it really depends on what the objectives are. Clearly, if we’re growing across channels, and our engagement numbers are high, we’re on the right track. We use Sprinklr, a social media management tool and platform for a lot of our data capture on social. If part of a campaign is to overload a government official’s Twitter account with mentions, then what we’re focusing on is the pick-up of a specific hashtag or how many people tweet him/her, as opposed to the number of retweets our own tweets receive. Our Data and Insights Analyst is doing an amazing job, setting benchmark figures for our channels in general, projecting what our growth should be by a certain point, and looking at what type of content our audience engages with the most. Adapting our content so that we’re constantly listening to what our audience wants, is a great way to at least ensure you’re always on the right side of success.

4. How does social media help you connect with the media?

Social media is great for bringing breaking news to the people you want to see it – namely press on Twitter. Any time a crisis proliferates, the media team and myself jump on Twitter to get an idea of the content being shared, what the tone of voice, angle, attitude is on the issue. I like to keep an eye on trending hashtags to ensure we are inserting ourselves into the conversation appropriately, and we have a separate press Twitter account that focuses on sharing content most appropriate for journalists and media across the world. Like everything else, social media has made that line to media more direct and therefore much quicker, so not only can we disseminate information (especially breaking news) in effective ways, but we are also able to respond to and see what other news outlets are doing.

5. What is the most important ingredient in a social media strategy?

Understanding your audience. A well-written, coherent strategy is only as valuable as what it delivers. You need to be able to listen, on each platform, to what your audience wants, as well as what kind of content they are engaging with on their social channels (which may have nothing to do with Amnesty!).

6. How do Amnesty International use social media for human rights monitoring?

This predominantly occurs in Twitter, which is an extremely powerful tool for those wishing to document abuses or simply get their story heard. Once I spot something on social (using Topsy for example, sometimes our tool Sprinklr) that seems like it is gaining traction or exploring a human rights abuse, I send a note to the relevant researcher or campaigner to flag to them what I’ve been seeing online, but also to get an understanding from them on what they’re doing – most of the time they’re keeping a watch on the situation, are looking to verify sources, and sometimes there’s an upcoming report or briefing on the issue.

7. What concerns do you have about social media?

The only major concern we have is sharing information too early – sometimes we need to be sure we have verified what we’ve seen on social, which might delay our response or voice on the issue, but is crucial to ensure we don’t say anything that isn’t true. Information is provided to the researchers, who may then need to speak to our law and policy department, but the verification of information comes from a number of sources across the organisation and at this point it would be out of my hands, I’ll hear back if something has been checked and verified, but usually this stage is more focused on information gathering.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Read More

Empowering women in Ghana and Zimbabwe through Social Media

Young-Urban-WomenInterview with Abel Mavura, ICT, Advocacy and Campaigns Support for ActionAid Ghana

Young Urban Women (YUW) is a multi-country programme supported by Action Aid International and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation that is currently being implemented in seven poor urban and peri-urban areas across India, South Africa and Ghana. The overall programme goal is to empower 5,800 young urban women to gain economic independence, receive skills training and join debates about women and gender in global forums. This is achieved by providing safe spaces for young women to mobilize and build their movements.

As part of his role Abel develops training modules on campaigns development, computer literacy, internet use and social media for advocacy. Abel said “These skills of ICT and social media enable the young women to connect with the world and increase their capacity in media campaigns. Participants are able to express themselves through blogging, Facebooking, tweeting, writing their own articles and sharing online newsletters.”

As a result of this training the young women learn more about sexual and reproductive health and human rights through their interaction with other youths and people who have more information on these key areas. This is achieved through group discussions on WhatsApp and Facebook groups as well as joining wider global debates via Twitter and blogs.

Abel said “Young women can ask questions, share their experiences, success stories and various pertinent issues connected with their development. Besides asking questions young people can easily click links that are provided to access further information that is useful to them e.g. they can get information on menstrual hygiene through J-Initiative, Girls Globe and Let Girls Lead. They also read information on ending early child marriages on big organizations blogs like the Girls Not Brides which provides some very useful resources on their site.  With social media you can start some online coaching on how to advocate for something or campaign for something. I have created a WhatsApp group for my organization in Zimbabwe which is now being managed by the young women leaders. Every Saturday and Sunday from 8pm to 9pm we hold some official discussions on different topics. We rotate the hosts for these days and the presenter is asked to prepare for a certain topic. Before the day he/she does his research and gets prepared for a questions and answer segment 20 minutes before the end of his or her presentation. The presenter is requested to be on the platform at the right time and stick to the one hour that he/she is given to present when the chat starts everyone will be online listening or contributing to the topic .

The same idea was introduced in Ghana YUW project where Abel hosts some leadership sessions every Wednesday and Friday evening.when everyone is relaxed at home which gives young women confidence to contribute when they are in their comfortable places. These activities are also important platforms for building assertiveness and confidence skills.

I asked how participants in the programme access the internet and social media and Abel responded “Even in rural areas or poor communities some people are now accessing mobile phones among the young women that we work with. Not all of them have access to mobile phones, which is the main reason why there are women resources centers which are furnished with computers and internet to allow some of the young women to access internet and being able to connect on social media. In Zimbabwe on the project that I have been working with on social media campaigns MAYO most of the Team leaders among the selected 20 have mobile phones that goes on Whatspp and Facebook.

Most of the young women who have been trained on the use of social media for campaigns have created accounts on Facebook and Twitter. They have joined various international and local online campaigns in Ghana the Young Urban Women Members initiated a campaign on sexual and reproductive health and rights which was discussed on Twitter using the #SRHR4YUW hashtag. Issues to do with unpaid care work were also discussed with young women contributing and sharing their views.

For more information follow the Young Urban Women Twitter Account

Follow Abel on Twitter

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Read More