The project overall impact lies in improving “Digital Inclusion” by addressing important aspects and components that could either promote women participation online and that which could decrease the factors that work as obstacles for the majority of women to engage and remain online. All these efforts are to reduce the “Gender Digital Gap”.
As introduced by our development partner DW Akademie; Digital media development in East Africa has opened up unprecedented opportunities for women. Yet, digital challenges such as cyber violence against women have proven to be a stum- bling block in enhancing digital participation for women and girls. Many of them shy away from participating in controversial online discourses and end up practicing self-censorship.
While over time we have been facing questions to some of the curious, interested or need-to-know observers and partners, as in why not a project that carters for digital inclusion for all; we stand by the belief that impact needs address one component of a bigger component one at a time. We do acknowledge the challenge of the “Digital Divide Gap” but we also are disturbed by the “Gender Digital Divide”. Between the two, the later has more challenges that could be addressed and solved immediately by changing the negative mindset instilled in our communities in regards to a woman who actively engages and uses the online space.
Women at Web has developed the three persona in relation to internet usage. We Identified the Women Persona as categorised in the fig below in a meeting held at the initiation stage of the regional project, in Machako, Nairobi.
So far, when it comes to Digital Skills capacity building, the Tanzanian team has focused on reaching out to the Woman (A) and (b) categories and have so far provided capacity building to target groups of Women Professionals, University Students, Women Entrepreneurs, Journalists, Social Media Influencers and Women Politicians or aspiring to be in politics; the majority from the mentioned groups are usually from the categories of Woman (A) and (B). We believe if the mentioned groups are capacitated, they are better ambassadors and users who in turn also promote safe spaces online and advocate against online gender based violence.
Further details in understanding what Women face on the online space, why it is important to be part of a solution and a way forward for Women At Web Tanzania, read our article, “Promoting Safe Spaces Online through Focus Group Discussions”.