Womens Computer Literacy: The Challenges! - Women in Leadership
I arrived in Uganda, ready to make a difference! I had a head full of ideas and lots of enthusiasm. I headed to Busembatia village on my 4th day in Uganda. It’s a small rural town about 2 hours taxi ride from Jinja town. The NGO runs all of its women empowerment programs from here so I was really excited to see the set up and meet the other volunteers. Rain, Rain, Rain…. About 4pm the skies were swallowed by great grey thunderous clouds and a fast downpour. In the rain we headed to Townside School where we hold our girls computer literacy class. It’s an after school class which the girls come to voluntarily. We took down an attendance sheet and got to the business of setting the computers up for our class. The first obstacle we encountered was that the computer passwords had been changed, so we had to go on a man hunt for the teacher who could let us in. Crisis over, we were all set up and raring to go! The lesson was about getting the girls familiar with using all the different formatting functions on Microsoft Word. They had to make a poster about something they liked and use bold, italics, borders, different fonts etc. About 10mins into the lesson, there was a power cut and it showed no signs of coming back on in the relentless rain. I was frustrated but the girls seemed very used to it and busied themselves chatting again. Learnings… This happened for the next 2 days. It was so frustrating! How can you teach computers, without being able to use computers?! In the last session, we decided to just see how familiar the girls were with the keyboard, holding it up and asking him to identify the shortcuts and what they do. It has dawned upon me that rural life is challenging. Things don’t go as planned more often than not. Although there are some people walking around with smartphones, connected to 3G networks and Fcaebook, you have constant power cuts, no running water and squat toilets in the same area. In the face of these challenges, we must become masterminds at finding solutions and stay true to the spirit of why we’re here: empowerment these women in Uganda. Our challenges have inspired our next goal of building a resource center for the girls where we can provide access to computers, books and more importantly a solar powered generator! Watch this space….