Friday, March 17, 2006

Blogs for African Women

This is a project I've been working on for a while now and which I am really excited about. It started from a post I made a few months ago about a mentoring project for bloggers, which I'm currently volunteering on. Sokari asked me to get in touch with her if I was really interested in setting-up something similar and, honestly, up to that point it had simply been one of those "Wouldn't it be nice if someone did this." - type thought. Since then, Sokari and I have been working on this together. So here it is, if you are interested or know someone who might be, please get in touch.

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Opportunity to Nurture Women Bloggers!

Are you a blogger interested in encouraging more people to blog? Do you enjoy working with young women?

Blogs for African Women (BAWo) is looking for mentors to participate in a project for young African women who are new to blogging, from early May to the end of July 2006. The project will initially target Nigerian students aged 10 to 13, but will later extend to the rest of Africa.

What is this project about?
BAWo is a project for African women who want to start blogging or who are new to blogging. The young bloggers will post each week on an assigned topic. They will also be expected to comment on each other’s posts as well as the mentors’.

What do you have to do?
• Each mentor is assigned a week to post. You will post once at the start of the week. Your post will provide the young bloggers with ideas and guidance for their own posts.
• You will comment on the young women’s posts.
• You are also encouraged to comment on the other mentors’ posts during their assigned weeks.

We will work with you to come up with suitable topics for the young women.

What qualities should a mentor have?
We welcome all bloggers who are culturally and gender sensitive and who are interested in working with young women. We particularly encourage African women bloggers to participate in this project.

Why this project?
Internet use in the African continent, although growing, is still fairly low due to many factors which discourage Africans from using the Internet and other Communication Technologies (ICTs) such as no or limited access to the Internet, erratic electricity supply, and low literacy levels. Women’s Internet use (and consequently blogging) continues to be very low. A cursory browse of the African blogosphere will show that male bloggers make up the majority of African bloggers, with many residing outside of the African continent.

While this project cannot remove many of the barriers to ICT use, it aims to introduce African women to blogging as a tool for self-expression within a nurturing environment, and in the long-run encourage an active engagement with technology.

The objectives of this project are:
• To encourage African women who want to start blogging and support those who recently started blogging
• To help balance gender disparity in blogging
• To encourage African women to report their own stories as an alternative to mainstream media
• To increase the amount of locally-relevant content available on the Internet
• To encourage a love for writing and reading
• To promote weblogs as a method of democratic expression
• To encourage more African women to think about how to incorporate other technology tools into their lives

What do you do next?
If you are interested in becoming a mentor or know someone who might be, please contact Ore at or Sokari at
Please write a few lines about yourself and your interest in this project, including your blog URL.


Anonymous said...

interesting, however, i would be cautious regarding your target group of young ladies that are between the ages of 10-13. i didn't read the entire no misunderstanding or anything...i just would observe some type of discretion due to the risk of identity theft as well as all type of computer seduction.

Ore said...

Oh, we definitely will! We have rules and guidelines in place and will be monitoring the young ladies very carefully. In this increasingly digital world, it's important to start developing cyber-savviness at a younger age and that will hopefully be one of this project's outcomes. Thanks for your comment!

tori said...

Gender Disparity in blogging? I daresay there are many more female bloggers than there are male ones. Just 2 cents.

Kudos for the novel idea though. I just wish it was open to young males too. I worry that we [as a civilization] are further promoting the "Women to the Arts, Men to the Sciences" idea. I wouls love to read more men writing just because.


Ore said...

@ tori: You think so? In the Nigerian blogosphere, I'm not so sure. I have come across more blogs owned by guys than I have women. The idea of encouraging girls to blog is not just about encouraging them to read and write more, but also to experiment with a relatively accessible technology. If their interest is sufficiently piqued, who knows where it might lead?

I would ultimately like to do something for all young people though.

Anonymous said...

Great idea, how has the project progressed? Is there a link to the new blogger's posts?
I'm still trying to raise funds for a similar project in Botswana:

Ore said...

Hi Brian,
The pilot went well. You can see the blog here:

We got some funding, though we really didn't need much. Now we are planning for the next phase.

I will be interested in hearing how yours goes.