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Author Archives: The Story Teller

Top 100 Tools for Learning 2009

Top 100 Tools for Learning 2009 as at 15 November 2009. This list has been compiled from the contributions of 278 Learning Professionals worldwide, whose individual contributions you can read here http://c4lpt.co.uk/recommended/

Top 100 Tools for Learning 2009

New Social Media the way to go! Where are the women?

New social media refers to digital technologies that are both collaborative and dynamic, allowing users to access and direct information to others over the internet or through mobile devices. Examples include social networking sites – facebook, twitter, Blogs, Wikis, new mobile phone technologies, online broadcasting sites like You Tube, Websites etc

Rather than using the Internet as a passive tool for viewing content, new media technologies enable users to take an active and collaborative role in communication and information exchange. Users/audiences do not simply read information with a new technology; they access, interact, create and often promote the news.

The strength of social media lies in altering the meaning of geographic distance, allowing for a huge increase in the volume of communication, providing the possibility of increasing the speed of communication – real time communication, opportunities for interactive communication/feed back, creative participation and community formation around content, on demand access to content any time and allowing forms of communication that were previously separate to overlap and interconnect.

Gender gaps in using new media

Women play a critical role in the development, however, newly established ventures in developing economies fade out with out women effectively utilising them. There is an information gap -fewer  women  than  men regularly  get  news  and information from  a  range  of  available  sources; TVs,  radios, new papers, brochures, SMS etc. This gender gap extends to information gathered via new media – cell phones and the internet. Women are less likely to use internet to get news and information compared to men. Women also lag behind in the use of SMS services for the same purpose. Women are less likely to use computer-based new media than men (AudienceScape 2009; African Development Research Brief).

There are access issues both in terms of ownership and use patterns- more men than women are likely to own a phone. While ownership is not a prerequisite for cell phone use since many people can and often use borrowed or rented phones, use patterns between owners and non owners are starkly different.

Women are also said to use telephones in a different manner from men — making and receiving more calls, spending more time on calls and using telephones primarily for ‘relationship maintenance’ purposes. Gender gaps persist for every non voice phone functions – sending and receiving SMS messages to listening to the radio, to accessing the internet.

Other constraints to women’s access & use of new media and information technologies include; lower  education  or  literacy, Education and skills – literacy, language, computer skills especially for rural women, social and cultural  reasons (that generally influence women’s use of ICTs – multiple roles and heavy domestic  responsibilities, limited mobility),more anxiety about using computers that is linked in part to “technophobia” and  most ICT infrastructure is in the urban areas – majority  of the women live in the  rural areas.

It is important to ensure that women have the same opportunity as men to own phones not merely access them, and its is critical  to  raise  their  awareness  of  the  internet  and  develop women’s  web  skills. Mobile  phones  have  indeed  exploded  onto  the  scene  but  not yet become a key source of news and information.

To fully benefit from opportunities that new media provides women need to go beyond access to new media and use associated functions and services which empower them in their individual ventures and contribute to sustaining their livelihoods. This capability to function starts from exposure, educating and training in the use of new media.

It is also important to note that there is a growing increase use of new media by especially young women – in doing so challenging some of the stereotypes about the way that women relate to media technology. Young women are less concerned about the problems that new media might create and more optimistic about the purposes that it might serve. The number of ICT related initiatives being established in rural areas is also increasing and social media are becoming part and parcel of our daily lives and citizens in urban and rural areas are in position to have their voices heard!

Women most affected by poverty

Poverty can be defined not only as the lack of incomes but also the lack of means to satisfy basic social needs as well as feeling powerless to break out of the cycle of poverty, insecurity of a person and property. Poverty has faces and is caused by factors including among others inadequacies in access to natural resources, human factors, financial assets, social capital and physical infrastructure

Uganda remains one of the poorest countries of the world. Poverty level was recorded at 31.1% in 2006according to the UNDP 2006,  Uganda Human Development Report ranking. In terms of numbers, over 7 million people live in chronic poverty according to a research on chronic poverty. Poverty is also mainly a rural phenomenon with 48% of the rural population living below the absolute poverty line compared to 16% of the urban dwellers.

It is important to note that the greatest percentage of the rural population is composed of women. Women are said to be the poorest of the poor. This highlights the significance of addressing gender dimensions of poverty and the fact that poverty has increasingly become feminised. However, poverty cannot be universalised and has different dimensions. In Uganda the principle dimensions of poverty include gender, livelihood, location and seasonality.

Gender disparities exist in education, mortality rates, health and other social and economic indicators and are greatest within poorer income groups. Gender inequalities impose large costs on the well-being and health of the poor, diminishing productivity and the potential to reduce poverty and ensure economic growth. In most societies women have more limited opportunities to improve economic conditions and access services than men do. Usually women and girls bear the brunt of gender inequalities

In regard to division of labour, women provide 70% of agricultural labour force and are responsible for 80% of food production and all production processes and like else where in the world, women in Uganda have limited access to land and other resources, little control of the existing resources or of the income realised from the sale of these products including surplus from sale of food crops where labour input is highest. Women’s dependence reduces their contribution to the reduction of household poverty.

Women also lag behind in terms of education levels and participation in community development activities due to lack of mobilisation, time and failure to see the benefits of participation. Approaches to poverty therefore need to take into account the different needs of women and men and involve women as subjects in economic initiatives and in planning and implementation of development initiatives for drastic changes to be realised in poverty eradication.

Violence against women; what role does ICTs Play?

Violence against women continues to be widespread and socially tolerated despite the fact that it’s a human rights violation. Domestic violence disempowers women and negatively affects women’s health and productivity sometimes resulting into death. In addition, the cost to women, their children, families and communities is a significant obstacle to reducing poverty, achieving gender equality and ensuring a peaceful transition for post-conflict societies.

Violence against women has as its root in the structural inequalities between men and women that result in the persistence of power differentials between the sexes. Women’s subordinate status to men in many societies, coupled with a general acceptance of interpersonal violence as a means of resolving conflict, renders women disproportionately vulnerable to violence from all levels of society: individual men, within the family and community, and by the state (ACGSD 2009[1]).

In Uganda many women and girls in Uganda suffer from sexual and gender-based violence committed by state actors, military services and rebel armies, as well as non-state actors within the family and the community. The persistence of patriarchal patterns of behaviour and the existence of stereotypes relating to the role of women perpetuate the discrimination of women within Ugandan society. The difficulties women face are not only due to intimidation, hostility and ridicule from the community, but also due to the states inaction in ensuring redress.

ICTs can play a major role in combating VAW and a number of women’s organisations are making use of ICTs such as the internet, TV, radio, news papers and other print media to highlight VAW including rape, victimisation and harassment.

The Internet can be a useful tool to get information about gender based violence as well as raise awareness around such issues to the general public and global community. Mobile phones provide women with an opportunity to avoid being domesticated by opening links with the outside world for business, social networking and reporting or obtaining support in abusive relationships. Internet and email can be also be instrumental in mobilising to advocate against violation of collective and individual rights.

On the other hand ICTs have been can perpetrate violence against women e.g. through spousal control of the mobile telephone, fights, invasion of privacy, monitoring and control, etc


[1] ACGSD (2009), Draft Situational Analysis  in Gender Based Violence

Feminist Practice of Technology (FPT)

Feminist Practice of Technology is a growing idea that gives perspectives on technology. It poses questions and defines issues relating to technology from feminist perspectives, taking into account various women’s realities, women’s relationships with technologies, women’s participation in technology development and policy-making, power dynamics in technologies and feminist analysis of the social effects of technologies.

It is also an approach to training that defines the core values that comprise feminist technology training. It is based on the experiences of women and feminists in and with technology training.

What has technology got to do with it?

Online spaces reflect real life situations right from how technology is made- programming to using the device.  Women still have no control over the use of technologies and there is need for them to take up the spaces. Given the great role of ICTs in transmitting essential information for development, and offering new opportunities; use cell phones to send messages.  There is need to think about the actual design of the tech, language etc and take up these spaces just as on the streets.

What’s gender got to do with it?

Online spaces reflect real life aspects of inequality

  • Technology has resulted in new issues for women and in new permutations of women’s issues
  • New avenues for abuse, entrenching inequalities and marginalizing already silenced voices
  • Technology provides new solutions and approaches to addressing women’s issues;
  • Asks how women’s realities influence how technologies are developed, used, appropriated and benefited from
  • Asks how technologies are changing women’s realities
  • Assessing how they can be developed and appropriated to support and facilitate women’s rights agendas

To View the video Click Here

Source: WOUGNET Feminist eXchange Training

Outcomes of the ‘Battered Woman’s Syndrome?

Uganda woke up to a surprise with one of its former Army Commanders and a major general murdered by a lover in Namuwongo, a suburb in Kampala. The death of the general attracted many headlines in the mainstream media such as ….general dies in ‘Kandaha’, a lion killed by a rat! Name it….. The lady who confessed to the crime in self defence was first charged with the crime of Manslaughter but has now been remanded in prison with charges of murder.

 The death has left so many questions with some indicating that the cruel some murder that left one of Uganda’s Giants dead was a planned plot aided by assailants after the general’s life. It’s unclear whether a lowly woman could have murdered a general who fought fierce battles for years and retired unhurt. This has also left a lot of debates given that such murders have in the past been committed by mainly men. Am sure women advocates on Violence Against Women will face challenges trying to convince the public that men are the perpetrators of VAW. And sure will not be surprised if an organization fighting against VAM crops up. The truth about the motive behind the murder or death is known to only Lydia who whether in self defence or with motives to steal or hurt the general is likely to spend rest of her life in prison and more so that she killed a lion. The truth is yet to be established but in case it was self defence will she find justice given that she is a low class woman who could hardly get a lawyer to represent her?

A friend introduced me to a concept I had never thought of and this drove me quick to think about this incidence and write this article…. ‘The Battered Woman’s Syndrome! Inquisitive to know what this really means ‘Jane’ (not real name), told me that battered women may keep their anger and succumb to abuse for along time but when it erupts one may be shocked at the outcome no matter how weak they are!

Could the death of one of Uganda’s Lions been an outcome of the battered Woman’s syndrome? Not sure but the power relations between the two was too unequal and this cannot be ruled out! A rich educated, military giant, with power and status in society Vs a poor woman whose background little is known, with little or no education, staying in a two bedroomed house sponsored by the general, no job and indentified as a sex worker etc Whether in self defence or not sure poor Lydia will rot in prison having touched one of the untouchable! Still watching this space! Still watching this space!

Chaos in Kampala; ‘Ebimeeza’ burned and three radio stations closed

People running with hands lifted up, blocked road and people stranded in traffic, school children stranded at their schools, burning vehicles, hit and run battles between Baganda youth not excluding the injured and dead etc were all scenes in Kampala.

Thursday 10th to Saturday 12th September 2009 have been days of running battles between the government (police) and Baganda loyalists over the refusal to allow the Kabaka (Buganda’s traditional king) to visit Kayunga, a district said to be having minority Baganda. This did not only bring business to a stand still and force people to stay in their homes but has lead to the closure of three radio stations, arrest of one journalist and burning of Ebimeeza (radio broadcast forums where people meet on weekends to discuss currents issues).

 The Ebimeeza are forums that have given Ugandans the ability to easily and quickly transmit their opinions on public policy or any current issues hence have increased the role of citizens in influencing policy making, (call it citizen Journalism).

While not condoning riots, the closure of media houses and arrest of journalists confirms that journalism freedom is still limited. As much as Uganda may boost or be rated among the 15 countries in Africa with the freest press, liberalized airwaves and open space for discussion in the public, the extent to which this true is limited to whether what is being reported or discussed threatens government’s sovereignty.

Burning of Ebimeeza has implications to the growth of citizen journalism in the country and the continued closure of media houses and arrest of journalist infringes on the right to freedom of expression and freedom of the media to inform or educating the public.

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