Digital: an opportunity for women in South Kivu

By Bernardin Sebahire

ISDR/Bukavu researcher

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, only 19% women have digital access against 31% men. This was noted by the International Telecommunications Union (IUT) in its report published on Tuesday, November 30, 2021.

Scientists consider this reality as a digital fracture, a term which, according to them, designates inequalities in access to information and communication technologies (ICT), their use and their impact.

According to the observation made, the digital divide is more observed in the least advanced countries where poverty, illiteracy, limited access to electricity and the lack of knowledge in digital tools and their benefits.

To this end, Mrs. Douce Namwezi, a female multimedia journalist and founder of Uwezo Afrika Initiative, encourages young Congolese women to acquire essential skills in writing and positions on websites and social media.

“Women do not sufficiently use digital technology at present and yet it is now essential in everything they are supposed to do. Not only in terms of technological development, even in terms of entrepreneurial development. There are a lot of opportunities digital technology offers and that women should seize, but when you even go to the universities and see women who are studying computer science or anything in technology, you find that the number is very limited. Although some are interested to follow on the job, it is not always easy to go for it and continue until the end. There are many initiatives that are currently in partnership with structures that encourage the interest of more women in digital technology. Since we think they also have the skills required and that they should also benefit from all the opportunities the digital world has to offer. However, the path to go is still long but we are convinced that the more the women we encourage, the more the young girls will be informed”.

The Pandemic of COVID-19, an opportunity for girls

The Pandemic at COVID-19 showed that access to technology is no longer a luxury, but a necessity, especially for girls. There is a digital gap between the sexes on a global scale: girls are disadvantaged in terms of digital adoption, have less access and a lower use than those of boys. They often do not benefit from digital technology as it is the case for boys.

The Uwezo-Afrika Initiative organization is involved in the training of young girls: “We have signed a collaboration agreement with a training center specializing in photography and filming by inviting girls to participate. Among the girls selected, 3 of them finished training and one girl works in Uwezo as a blogger. The latter is responsible for producing content for the Uwezo website. We try to make it creative.” said Namwezi.