The project seeks to equip and empower women by enhancing their ICT skills to innovate the ways in which they use social media and technology to advocate for their rights. This includes their right to safe transportation.
Various speakers were present to educate and inspire the young women on how to use social media effectively to boldly advocate against social injustices.
Tema Sebopedi, a well-known actor and motivational speaker, shared a positive affirmation with the young women to remind them that they are worthy, special and capable. Tumi Sole from Country Duty, a platform that has become a driving force to highlight socio-economic issues that women and children face, encouraged these young women to use the power of social media to highlight pressing issues in their communities. Tumi also shared success stories of Country Duty’s activism which include facilitating a woman’s rescue from a violent situation.
Activities of the day were conducted by Pearl Sekwati from Women’s Net. This is a non-governmental organisation that strengthens women and girl’s movements for social change through the strategic use of technology and advocacy that promotes access to information and freedom of expression.
The young women were tasked with putting their social media skills to use by creating a Facebook page that will allow them to engage with women facing difficult challenges. The Facebook page they created had to have a mission statement and a hashtag so that they can continue to further drive the conversation on social media.
Mosa Mkhize, Public Policy Senior Associate for Uber South Africa explains, “Uber shares the same sentiments as the Soul City Raising Young Women and Girls’ Voices project, that as a society we need to look at how we can create an enabling environment to respond to the challenges faced by young women and girls, especially as they relate to safety. We are honoured to be a part of such a project that gives women their voice to speak out about issues that are important to them, and in particular in using technology as a platform to amplify their advocacy. Safety is a major priority for Uber as a company, globally as well as in South Africa.”
Matokgo Makutoane, Soul City Institute Advocacy Manager introduced the Raising Voices Project. The project aims to foster an appreciation of democratic values and gender equality among young women and girls. “We want to ensure that young women and girls fight for their rights through community activism thus ensuring their voices hold government accountable, and we want to create safe spaces for young women so that they can be the voice of change,” said advocacy manager at Soul City Institute for Social Justice Matokgo Makutoane
The event was concluded with a roundup of reflections from the young women, one young woman shared her experience of running an Non-Governmental Organisation and the challenges she faces. She felt empowered that using social media as an advocacy tool will assist her to make innovative changes that she has always struggled with to change the lives of others.
They all echoed the same message which is that everyone needs to play their part in creating a platform for young women to strategise on the use of social media for bolstering social justice advocacy.