Thursday, December 2, 2010

Day: 8 Seek Our Solutions/Make Our Own Headlines

Today focuses on acts of empowerment & solutions by and for women and generating our own media. This can occur through social media, twitter (I'm still not tweeting), blogs, zines, and other retro formats such as newspapers.

From TTBT:

"Search for creative, innovative, groundbreaking initiatives taking place near you, and let the world know. Share it as a tweet to @takebackthetech and let's create our own Twitter paper on Take it offline and share it with the editors from your local newspaper."

See today's activities for a creative media list to get stories and messages across to our groups as well as larger groups, such as:

1) search local, national, and global media on issues important to you, solutions, and then share via tweet #takebackthetech

2) write politicians and newsmedia again and again. use the monthly reminder service given in the actions for this day

3) make your own headlines on these issues and solutions through tweets or a tweet newspaper aggregator as discussed in the actions

My own suggestion....share this TBTT day-link (and others) with all the media people that you have friended on facebook and other networks. This can bring local, national, and international attention to causes, issues, and solutions.

My recent favorite headline comes c/o The Daily Star in Bangladesh, 30 Nov 2010.

Youth held for nuisance on Facebook

A young engineer was arrested yesterday for harassing a female university student on the social networking site Facebook.

Arrested Aleem Uddin, 28, an assistant engineer of Western Marine Shipyard in Chittagong, hails from Noakhali.

Police said Aleem had opened a fake account of the victim, whom he termed his former girlfriend, on the networking site two months back.

He started posting indecent pictures and abusive words using the profile.

Getting verbal complaints from the victim a few days back, Kotwali police started tracing the fake account and other accounts of Aleem and his friends on the Facebook. The crime busters found the allegations to be true.

On receiving a written complaint from the victim on Sunday, a team from Kotwali Police Station raided Lalkhan Bazar crossing in the port city and arrested Aleem yesterday around 1:00am.

The girl, a Chittagong University student, filed a case with Kotwali Police Station accusing Aleem under Women and Children Repression Prevention Act and ICT Act yesterday morning...

go to original article to read more

Well done for the Chittagong female student who filed the complaint and for the arrest by the police. I hope that justice will be served in this case and that the Daily Star will follow up on what happens with this case....a failing of Bangladeshi and other media that only report sensational news with little or no coverage over time.

We need more attention to such solutions for mis-use of social media such as harassment, stalking, posting false info-photos as well as courageous people who stand up against such behaviors and bullying.

Day 7: World Aids Day--

Today, I have reposted my Mr. Bunny picture and post from 1 Dec 2007. The clever (chalak) Mr. Bunny starred in a safe sex poster that I made for sex workers and others when no human male person would hold a condom. For the bangla translation and story about safe sex in Bangladesh, read the post! I'm sure that Mr. Bunny has continued his dushto ways with his abba Mr. Ripon.

And as I tell my students, "no glove, no love"!

Day 6: Grrls & Technology/what happened to Nari Jibon (a brief tale)

read some important women creators and doers in ICT herstory and actions for this day

From 2003-2008, Katie Zaman and I worked with girls/young women on ICT access and training in Bangladesh at the Nari Jibon project and earlier projects. You can read more about those activities in my blog as well as their blogging activities in 2007-2009 through a Rising Voices blogging grant to Nari Jibon. From 2006-2009, Nari Jibon project provided classes in english, computers, graphics as well as tailoring. Some students received work-study (leikhapora chakri)to attend classes full time and gain work experience. Most students paid moderate fees to attend classes and fees to use the cyber cafe to practice their skills.

Nari Jibon had the only woman-only cyber cafe in Dhaka with multiple computers, access to internet, printer, cameras (digital and video). The cafe provided a safe space where girls and women could learn how to really use english and develop real skills in computers, graphics, internet. I tried to structure the cyber cafe staff, fees, and use to move toward sustainability and income generation for Nari Jibon, but some staff undermined these efforts in the cyber cafe, other classes, and Nari Jibon operations. Further, NGO registration faced many obstacles such as expensive bribes to ease the registration process. Sadly, I had to to stop sending funds in the beginning of 2009 and health issues have precluded return visits to Bangladesh. When the staff could not find other donors or sponsors for the well-equipped computer lab/facilities, Nari Jibon moved to a residence, and closed its doors/classes in summer 2009.

I took this picture in summer 2008 in the cyber cafe...Kira Kariakin and I worked with the students to actually blog and take pictures (some teachers had made excuses for why the students weren't so eager to blog, but we found much interest in blogging). Many students set up their own blogs in english and bangla and continued that fall with visits/video from David Sasaki (then coordinator of Rising Voices) and his translation of Laura Vidal's article. You can read my 2008 post about the bloggers. Some of our students had the computer and photo skills to gain jobs registering-photographing for Bangladesh's id cards among other jobs. You can read more success stories-herstories on or herstory on

Alas with our departures , loss of enouragement-support (except for visit from Rezwan Islam) and the search for donors in spring 2009, the women stopped using the internet, blogging, and facebook use. I continue to wonder how the students are doing these days. I've seen facebook use by only two of our formers students and no blogging. I want to also acknowledge the hard work by our computer teacher, Taslima, who moved on to computer programming jobs.

What do young women need to have access to and use computers, social media? Have mobiles replaced using computers? How and where do girls and young women gain real computer skills (not just a 'certficate' in Bangladesh and can use safe and secure cyber cafes?

I hope that such facilities have continued to evolve and emerge in Bangladesh and elsewhere. For example, please see the good works and blogging projects of Rising Voices!