Derlly and Aura are two trainers who were members of the GEM team in Cali, Colombia, during the field work to adapt GEM for telecentres that took place in late 2008 and early 2009. They are both committed women, who coordinated workshops using popular education and communication methodologies to raise awareness about the need to have new perspectives on gender issues and information and communications technologies (ICTs) and procure changes in gender relations in telecentres.
During almost a year, Derlly and Aura worked together with professors and students from the Universidad Autónoma de Occidente and with staff from Colnodo, a member of the Association for Progressive Communications in Colombia and one of the leaders of the telecentres’ network in the country. In the rural telecentres of Villapaz and Santa Elena they trained adult women and men to use ICTs for gender equality and equal opportunities in the ICT field. Their work was much appreciated by trainees and the community. Their aim was that participants in training sessions and workshops would also contribute themselves to changes in gender relations in their own villages.
It has been stimulating to get in touch with them three years after and get to know about their new activities. Derlly goes on with her ICT training activities, and is also studying to become a social worker. She studies in a semi-virtual modality. She takes courses that are mostly online and attends classes once a month. She recalls that ten years ago she didn’t dare to touch a computer, but after learning to use ICTs and becoming aware of gender and ICT issues, her confidence grew and she felt ready to teach others. Most of the students in her class are adult women who, like her, want to learn more and trust their own skills and capabilities to secure their careers. Derlly is always ready to help them with their online courses.
Aura is studying Psychology at the national university UNAD. She’s doing her last semestre there and will start her practice soon. She is also coordinating ICT workshops for senior citizens in three telecentres in Cali, Villa Rica and Jamundi. She’s looking for a new job and is confident in her computer skills.
“In telecentres we can do a lot to teach and guide others to use ICTs for their own self-improvement”, affirms Derlly.