Photo credits: Omar HAVANA, Action Education Africa
The theme of International Women's Rights Day 2023 is "For an inclusive digital world: innovation and technologies for gender equality". This is an opportunity to highlight some of Action Education's projects using digital technology in the field of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.
Women, excluded from the digital world
The use of the Internet continues to grow. Yet, according to the International Telecommunication UnionOf those who have never used the Internet, 96% live in developing countries. Of those who have never used the Internet, 96% live in developing countries. And worldwide, 259 million fewer women than men use the Internet. In addition to being a fundamental barrier to their rights, women's exclusion from the digital world has a cost: By excluding hundreds of millions of women from the digital age, the world is missing out on social, scientific, cultural and economic contributions. The consequences are disastrous and further exacerbate existing inequalities and exclusions. According to the UN, the exclusion of women from the digital world has reduced the gross domestic product of low- and middle-income countries by US$1 trillion over the past decade. The digitally excluded often face major barriers such as illiteracy, poverty or lack of knowledge of how the digital world works. It is crucial to bring girls and women into information and communication technologies (ICTs). ICTs can be powerful tools for access to education, training, rights and empowerment. ICTs are an essential tool for achieving gender equality and empowerment.
Encouraging women to dare, innovate and undertake
Action Education is increasingly using digital tools in its programmes for girls and women, whether in the field of education, training and professional integration, or in raising awareness of their rights and civic engagement. Here are some examples:
In Burkina Fasoon FORSELF project (Training for Women's Leadership) aims at the economic empowerment of women in a district of the capital. This is done through the promotion of income-generating activities and micro-enterprises. The use of ICTs in the project (mainly tablets) has had many positive effects on the participants, who are sometimes illiterate: self-training, improved sales, better communication, etc. Networking via WhatsApp groups has also increased their self-confidence.
À MadagascarMany young girls become mothers at a very young age. Often stigmatised because of their low level of education, they find themselves destitute and without prospects for socio-professional integration. In the context of the Sandratra project, Action Education has developed an e-learning platform in Malagasy specifically to support these young women from disadvantaged urban areas of the capital. The platform includes modules for literacy, skills development and professional integration. Particular attention is paid to gender-based violence, strengthening socialisation and self-assertion. The different modules contain videos, text, interactive elements (quizzes...).
In Indiathe initiative "Girls Who Code Action Education is providing computer coding training to girls of domestic workers in Pune. The training has changed the way these girls view technology. The coding classes complement what is taught in school and help them improve their communication and analytical skills. There is a significant improvement in the girls' academic skills. "The way coding requires logical reasoning and breaking down complex problems into simpler parts is also useful for me in real life. These methods also help me solve some of my personal problems," says Muskaan, a middle school student.
In GuineaWomen have few opportunities to access financial services and technological advances. And their low level of education is often a fundamental handicap to the expression and defence of their interests in public and private spaces. To strengthen their autonomy, Action Education has developed a digital house project in the rural area of Dabiss (Boké region). The "Women and the Palaver Tree 2.0" micro-project is a digital tool for empowering 45 women in the village of Tambindjè. The videos in the Puular national language enable them to mobilise resources at the local level, establish their recognition and develop their leadership.