All Articles Tagged "Social Media Week"
Soledad O’Brien (@Soledad_OBrien),
Journalist and Documentarian
Now she was definitely one of the first media personalities and journalists I followed during my Twitter beginnings. She stepped up to the plate for black folks and other folks of color when it came to producing meaningful news documentaries on OUR issues, and for that she has earned her following.
American society puts a lot of focus on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. But when it comes to developing countries, the focus can, and should, be on the real-world social networks that people have, particularly women and girls. At the 92Y Tribeca this morning, a panel of nonprofit organizations spoke about “Girls’ Education and Women’s Empowerment in Real World Social Networks” as
part of Social Media Week New York.
Speakers included Scott MacMillan, communications manager for BRAC USA; Farzana Kashfi, the former senior manager of the education program at BRAC Bangladesh; Lynne Patterson, co-founder of Pro Mujer; and Christen Brandt, director of international operations for She’s the First. The event was hosted by the BRAC Task Force NYC.
All the organizations focus on educating and empowering women in countries around the world, including Bolivia, Bangladesh, Uganda, Mexico, Guatemala, and more. MacMillan spoke about the situation in Bangladesh after its independence in the ‘70s, highlighting how the landless people had no relationships, no networks, and therefore no power. But, that the situation shifted when NGOs and organizations, like BRAC, which launched in Bangladesh in 1972, worked to organizing the rural poor, mainly women.
“The most effective pressure point they found was working with women: poor, landless rural women especially,” he said. “Women and girls meet in a safe space, and within this setting that begins with socializing, and through their peer mentors, supported by BRAC, they receive training in life skills, reproductive health, finance, micro-loans.”
BRAC currently operates in 10 countries around the world, using a holistic development approach. The organization educates communities, especially women, about microfinance, education, healthcare, legal services, community empowerment, and more.
“When you go to a developing country you see men and boys hanging out on the streets and in the shops, but you rarely see girls spending time together,” said Kashfi. “Giving them this safe space where they can be themselves and share their stories is really important in helping raise their confidence level.”
Working with women and girls in Latin America has been the mission of Pro Mujer since its debut 23 years ago, Patterson explained. The organization works with mothers, also bringing them together in “safe space” peer groups, and provides micro-loans to help them start their own businesses, or expand work their families have done for generations.
“We began working with women and we realized that, since our major focus was the next generation, we needed to work with mothers,” Patterson said. “The fuel behind Pro Mujer and everything we’re doing is a woman’s desire to give her children a better life. A woman will work 24/7 because she doesn’t want her child to suffer in the same way she did.” She showed a video of a woman in Mexico who had been
helped by Pro Mujer.
Social Media Week, the twice-annual international digital conference, will be taking place in Africa for the first time in its four-year history.
Social Media Week events take place in major cities around the world during the same five-day time frame. The first Social Media Week of 2013 will take place February 18 through 22. Through a series of presentations, discussions, and other events, the conference seeks to “[explore] the social, cultural and economic impact of social media,” the conference website says.
Among the cities participating in next month’s SMW is Lagos, Nigeria. Lagos is the seventh fastest-growing city in the world according to a press release we received with the news. The other cities will be: Copenhagen, New York, Hamburg, Miami, Milan, Paris, Tokyo, Singapore, and Washington DC. Among the 24 events that will be taking place in Lagos are “Entrepreneurship in the Digital Age” and a keynote address from Billboard magazine’s deputy editor Yinka Adegoke.
If you’re going to be staying Stateside and would like to attend a Social Media Week event here, the schedules for New York, DC, and Los Angeles are also available.
We’re going to be checking out the event. What about you?