That's why I'm a feminist...
Singing, dancing, hand mapping, making networks out of string, cutting out paper faces from cardboard and performance pieces where just some of the activities at the South African Feminist Tech eXchange (FTX) held in Cape Town 11 to 14 November 2009. The FTX is part of a larger project of the APC WNSP called “Strengthening Women's Strategic Use of Information and Communications Technologies to Combat Violence Against Women and Girls” which is being implemented in South Africa by Women'sNet.
The diverse group came from all over South Africa and represent university departments, activist organisations, community based groups, township telecentres, feminist groups but all share one struggle – that of combatting gender-based violence. And the FTX aimed to build the capacity of the groups in using ICTs in creative and strategic ways to enhance and support their activism. The workshop also explored, debated and contributed to developing a feminist practice of technology. The Oxfam Canada Women's Rights Advancement Programme (WRAP) partnered with Women'sNet and APC WNSP and supported the participation of their grantees in the WRAP programme.
Training happened in two tracks. While some participants learnt to make digital stories, others learnt about cellphones and social networking as activist tools. Interactive sessions were held with both groups were the practical applications of cellphones was demonstrated and research into young people's use of cellphones presented. A spontaneous session on an exciting prototype where cellphones can be used to create digital stories drew much interest. Storytelling is often a spontaneous and immediate process, so being able to capture peoples' experiences in the moment, holds great possibilities for bearing witness in the moment.
The first session after introductions and expectations was a presentation and lively exchange on building knowledge around feminist values in technology training. The FTX is not only about capacity building and skills exchange but also emphasise s women's empowerment, takes 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. The South African reality of post-apartheid discomfort threads through women's organisations, many of whom have little funding, outdated computer equipment and in low income areas, poor connectivity. Issues of race, location, language and identity are intrinsically connected to our ways of communicating, networking and expression.
Participants separated into tracks and spent the next few days learning and sharing ICT skills all of which related to themselves as witnesses to and survivors of gender-based violence. On the final day we came together to share the learnings from each track.
The digital storytellers presented the short movies on the final day. One explored being a white male who sits outside of the “norm” of masculinity and who enjoys preparing food for his woman partner, who cried when he heard of the violence meeted out to a close woman friend. He explored the confusion and pain of witnessing the daily sexual harassment of women on the street by men. Another explored her full life of being a mother, a Black activist, a rape survivor, a daughter, lover and a woman who celebrates her journey. One digital story spoke of the shock and pain of being abducted and raped by an ex-boyfriend.
The stories were created by people with varying degrees of computer skills. But all created powerful short movies which told stories of survival and which can be used as advocacy tools to advance the rights of women in situations of abuse.
In the second track, we developed skills in social networking including building blogs, creating facebook accounts, using twitter feeds and understanding wikis. We also had a hands on session using a tool called Mobilisr which can be used in campaigns, to keep networks informed, to spread urgent messages and all at very little cost. Using bulk SMS messaging, information can be sent out to groups of people via cellphones which many people have access to.
When the social networking track presented their learnings, it revealed many creative performance skills! Explaining how to tweet, performing how social networking platforms work using movement, some paper face masks and lots and lots of string.
One of the highlights of the FTX was hand mapping. We grouped together around large pieces of brown paper, traced each others hands and used paint colours to represent our relationship to technology and to feminism. To illustrate our fascination and frustration with technology, to trace our boundaries, networks and connections between ourselves and with each other. Some had red around their hand to represent passion, others yellow to show happiness with being able to use technologies to share. It was a colourful, creative and celebratory way to map our connections and trace our feelings.
On one of the evenings we joined associates from the African Gender Institute based at the University of Cape Town for a dinner in the village of Muizenberg. It was an evening of song and food and dancing.
From learning how to create our stories of witness through digital storytelling to understanding the potential of mobile phones to connect and collaborate to tracing our networks through paint to hearing how tools and technologies can be applied to support the work of activists, the FTX reinforced the potential of ICTs to enable us. We can make media to represent our realities. We can use ICT tools that are low-cost and mobile. We can practice our use of technology as feminists in ways that are inclusive, diverse, creative and transforming.
That's why I'm an activist!
Defines our approach to training. It outlines the core values that comprise feminist technology training. It is based on the experiences and politics of feminists who train other women to use technologies creatively and strategically.
Des programmes de formation, des présentations, des notes des formateurs qui ont été utilisés dans nos ateliers FTX. Certainement utiles dans la planification de votre formation et de vos propres ateliers FTX.
De véritables ressources sur la technologie essayées et testées faites pour et utilisées par des militantes et des groupes à but non lucratif. Garanti pour rendre spéciale votre formation féministe sur la technologie.
Des femmes fantastiques qui savent une chose ou deux (ou plus ...) à propos de l'appropriation la technologie pour les droits des femmes et l'autonomisation. Elles ont été les formatrices / facilitatrices dans nos ateliers FTX.