Finding the "GEM" in the haystack - how the women and men are being affected by Africa's ICT revolution
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA, 29 June 2004
The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in collaboration with regional network, APC-Africa-Women, and the LINK Center, Wits University, Johannesburg, hosted a pan-African workshop to develop a multi-country action study in Africa to measure how people
especially women are making use of the ICT sector since the popularisation of cell-phones, telecentres and other communications innovations. The Gender Evaluation Methodology (GEM) developed by APC’s Women’s Networking Support Programme (APC WNSP) will be used as a planning and evaluation tool as researchers search for their countries’ stories and statistics.
The research will be completed and results disseminated ahead of the World Summit on the Information Society’s second phase in Tunis, November 2005 and will be a powerful advocacy and lobbying tool to support gender inclusive ICT policies and gender-disaggregated statistics.
Outcomes of the workshop
A research network was established called GRACE – Gender Research in Africa on ICT’s for Empowerment. The overall project research question will be: How is the Use and Appropriation of ICTs by women in Africa transforming their lives?
The overall objective of GRACE is multi-dimensional as it seeks to influence ICT policy at local, national and regional/global levels through:
a) Expanding policy makers’ knowledge of ICT and gender issues
b) Influencing policy regimes directly (documents and processes)
c) Broadening capacities of researchers to influence policy
This will be achieved through:
a) Identifying current and emerging practices of women in Africa on the innovative use of ICTs and
b) Identifying factors that inhibit women’s use and appropriation of ICTs for their advancement within the knowledge society as well as
c) The strategies that women are using to overcome the above barriers.
d) Building a research network than can do ongoing gender and ICT research in Africa
e) Building capacity in multi-disciplinary research and qualitative research methods and techniques
f) Empower research participants (through the intrinsically empowering nature of the qualitative research process)
Extra "bonus products" will include:
a) Contribute to the knowledge of how researchers functioning in networks use ICT’s in their knowledge construction processes.
b) Contribute to the methodological debates on the quality of qualitative research processes and research education processes in ICT-based networks.
Participants and their national research questions are:
Polly Gaster – MOZAMBIQUE: How can access to ICTs improve the lives of poor rural women?
Grace Kyomuhendo – UGANDA: What has been the affects/impacts of women’s adoption of ICTs (mobile and internet) with regard to their welfare, household relations and community relations?
Okwach Abagi – KENYA: How have ICTs empowered career women in the formal sector?
Ruth Meena – TANZANIA: How have ICTs economically empowered women entrepreneurs? (small and large entrepreneurs)
Mina Tafnout – MOROCCO: How have ICTs been used to mitigate violence against women?
Alice Munyua (APC) – KENYA: How have ICTs (mobile phones) empowered small business women in the informal sector?
Angela Nakafero – UGANDA: What are the gender diversities in appropriation/uptake of ICTs in Uganda?
Leila Hassanin (ArabDev, APC member)- EGYPT: Is e-commerce possible and international trade possible in crafts?
Gisele Yitamben – CAMEROON: How is e-commerce as traditionally viewed an empowerment tool for African women micro-entrepreneurs?
Natasha Primo (Women’sNet, APC member) – SOUTH Africa: How have women entrepreneurs experienced the uptake of ICTs and the impact on their own their perceptions of their own empowerment with reference to livelihood (socio-economic well-being) as well as the cultural and power relations with men and other women in their physical and social locations?
Kazanka Comfort (Fantsuam Foundation, APC member)- NIGERIA: Why are fewer women using GSM & Voice Over IP (VoIP) services than men?
Jennifer Radloff (APC-Africa-Women coordinator) – SOUTH AFRICA: What are the meta-issues arising from a qualitative research process using ICTs as a tool for networking, information, knowledge sharing and capacity building?
The Gender Evaluation Methodology (GEM) developed by APC’s Women’s Networking Support Programme (APC WNSP) will be used as a planning and evaluation tool as researchers search for their countries’ stories and statistics.