Bringing the two influential actors together for a change in the Ghanaian society
Women Media and Change has the goal of bridging the gap between the powerful and influencing the media. The most vulnerable members of the society, the women in Ghana, although appearing to be the biggest group in the country and the most active in the communities are invisible, disappearing behind the curtain, leaving the public place to the men who receive all the light from the media.
Training the media into discovering those active and powerful women, reflecting on their experiences, bringing awareness about their movements, their actions for change and opening the curtain to let the society recognise them as leaders.
Training the women, giving them skills to push forward their actions, giving them louder voices to express their discontent, their visions and their opinions about their environment, their lives and their communities.
Bringing the two influential actors, women and the media, together for a change in the Ghanaian society.
Need to bring the debate online
There is the need to bring the debate on issues online. The media today is not only a tool for professional journalists as the newspapers do not always reflect the reality of a situation because of financial interest and lack of time, space or censorship. On the web, we can access thousands of information about same subject, find a variety of opinions and make up our own minds about a certain issue.
We have seen societies, countries that recently tried to raise and push their government for change for better days. All of those “revolutions” have started online, through debates, exchange of information, inspired by other movements somewhere else, encouraged or advised by actions happening at the other edge of the world.
The Internet has allowed the greatest expansion of our voices. This media discussion we are engaged in is truly a dream come true: a way we can communicate globally about what needs to be done, about media and democracy, about how we can communicate with each other about the issues vital to our survival.
The new technologies allow the exchange of views, opinions, and news that might not be possible in other media under government censorship and control. They have also been used to protect unpopular leaders in authoritarian countries: through publication of their ideas, up-to-the- minute status reports, they provide a vehicle for international expressions of concern and demonstrate to authoritarian governments that their actions are visible to the world.
To engage women in accessing and using information and communication technologies (ICTs)
These discussions and initiatives will help bring about changes that will affect women globally.
We believe that it is essential to engage more women in accessing and using information and communication technologies (ICTs) for equality and development in Africa. We believe that women should be able to use ICTs strategically in support of women’s empowerment and agendas in order to facilitate networking and information exchange; support solidarity campaigns and collaborative actions; mainstream issues of concern to women; and ensure that women are able to participate equally in civil and public life.
The Internet and World Wide Web are important not only for the distribution of equitable portrayals of women, but for the sharing of information, and for women to find allies around the world.
We believe in encouraging using new technologies to disseminate information, produce content for the mass media, and strengthen women’s participation in policy-making.
It is vital for Ghanaian women at all levels to learn how to use e-mails and the Internet in order to strengthen partnerships, find sources of funding, stay linked internationally, and get inspired from sister organisations.
WOMEC to develop the skills of the women in new technologies
Women’s groups and organisations are numerous and very active in Ghana, but due to their lack of public voice, their actions do not impact on the society. They need to link up between themselves, they need to know that they are not alone, they need to work together and more than anything else, they need to connect online, be accessible to their members and share with women’s group outside Ghana who work for a same goal.
WOMEC can take up the role of bringing together women’s group and develop their skills in new technologies and creating an online network for Ghanaian women to access information and for outsiders to know about the lives of women in Ghana.
The first work of WOMEC has to be a trainer. We can divide the Ghanaian women into two levels of education and experience:
- At ground level are the women from local community, with no current active role in society. Training them with IT skills, will give them skills but will also make them aware of women’s organisations in Accra and give them interest to bring change in their own communities. Thanks to their skills in new technologies, they will be able to respond to the online debate about gender issues. On a daily basis, as a primary actor in the house and in raising children, they will be able to use their skills to support and form the new generation towards the online world.
- A basic IT and Communication Training is regularly offered to women in the near by community. WOMEC owns 8 old computers that are used for the training. During 12 weeks, the women learn how to handle a computer and its tools, to type documents with Microsoft Word, to access internet, to search online, to send and receive emails and lately will be able to contribute to WOMEC first blog with their personal experiences and opinions.
- At a higher level, WOMEC is looking to reach women with an influential role in the society. While the women at ground level develop their abilities to participate in the online debate about Ghanaian Women’s rights, it is up to the existent Women NGOs, the female parliamentarians and female journalists to set the discussion and give their members and audience an opportunity to be online actors. In order to do this, they need to use more effectively ICT in their work and give themselves a wider voice and place in the global and digital motorway of information.
- An advanced media and communication training, including blogging, radio, videos, social networking, web design, dealing with media will be offered to them soon. With the objectives of providing them the skills of dealing with the media, in order to communicate their actions, enhance their images and make sure their messages are well spread and well communicated; giving the practitioners the opportunity for an online spot, through facebook, blogs or websites and give their campaigns, their actions a global place.
After training the women, the next step is to offer them the space to communicate and use their skills.
An online informative and debate platform run by and for women
In the long term, WOMEC would like to run an online platform for women in Africa, accessible for women at all levels, for searching information, accessing debates about gender issues in Africa and in the world, participate in online global exchanges and support campaigns for an equal world, send updates, news and information.
A change for women globally can only happen through the internet. The movements are already existing in the form of lobbying and campaigning for specific issues, from any part of the world. WOMEC believes that communications and exchange between all those existing organisations will improve their impact on the world. WOMEC believes in a global network of thousands of local organisations. One local action can influence another and another in a domino effect. And this can only happen through the online world.
A permanent radio program about women
The radio is the most popular media, listened to in transport, in offices, in public spaces. Newspapers are limited to educated people and TV is also limited but the radio is the most powerful media in Ghana. There may not be the need to create an independent radio station for women but to offer a dedicated program about women on one of the popular station currently existing in Ghana.
Where female journalists can enrich their experiences and skills in the media, where the community leaders can become visible to a larger public, where gender issues can be raised and where ordinary women can finally have their voices heard.