This week is Social Media Week in NYC. A lot of people from different industries and organizations are participating in this event to share their thoughts and experiences about how social media influences their mission and targets through their presentations.
I participated in today's session which was about Girls Education and Women's Empowerment in Real World Social Networks. The main point was about how the lack of a proper educational system and adequate social networks can lead to poverty and financial issues in families and later on in a society.
There were three female speakers in the panel who have different experiences working on empowering women in developing countries like Bangladesh, Nicaragua, Peru, Mexico.
Christen Brandt, Director of International Operations at She's The First. Christen runs the international side of She’s the First, an organization that sponsors girls’ education in the developing world.
Lynne Patterson, Co-Founder of Pro Mujer. She serves as a Pro Mujer Ambassador throughout the United States and United Kingdom and is a key member of the organization’s Development and Communications team. They focus on child development, health and family planning.
Farzana Kashfi, Senior Manager, Education Program (Former), BRAC Bangladesh. Her work ranges from providing comprehensive support structure for rural adolescent girls to skills development through informal markets for urban youth in Bangladesh.
All of these programs focus on education for girls and how they can increase their social confidence and provide chances to make them financially independent and become a source of inspiration for other girls in their community and even for their family by giving a hand to increase the financial resources.
One of the considerable points about these programs is the idea of Peer to Peer strategy. A girl can be used as a single point to be a peer for several other girls and transfer the knowledge to them. Each of these girls can be another peer for many other girls later on and this process will be going on and will lead to a rapid growth for their community.
Women's Annex platform tries to combine education and social media by implementing the Afghan Development Project in Afghanistan, Central and South Asia by building Internet classrooms.
Our goal is to establish 40 Internet classrooms in Herat, Afghanistan by targeting 160,000 students. Beside the Internet, we provide an online educational software "Examer", an interactive platform that helps students to pass tests in a digital format. It also includes a social media curriculum which introduces the concept of social and digital communication to the students, especially girls, to create profiles in social networking platforms and start sharing their thoughts and stories with others around the world.
The main philosophy behind this project is to help girls and women in developing countries be more financial independent. Micro scholarship is the way we implement our initiative in Afghanistan. The students will be paid based on their digital activities, which is writing blogs on Film Annex platform, and also on their grades in school. This is implemented by a mobile money payment system, which is currently used in Afghanistan, especially in the banking industry and is one of USAID's projects in Afghanistan.
Building Internet classrooms improves the educational system in Afghanistan. Adding a social and digital curriculum lets girls establish relationships globally and build their confidence. Using mobile money payment helps them take steps towards financial independence and that is what we are doing withWomen's Annex. It is called Women Empowerment in Afghanistan, Central and South Asia.