How many of young women blog? How many blog about social justice?
What would happen if thousands of girls from the global South video blogged about what they think the solutions are to the world’s problems?
With this premise we conceived of Women Aloud Videoblogging for Empowerment (WAVE), which is the first and only India-wide network of young women videobloggers expressing their points of view about social issues on the website WaveIndia.org
[mc src=“http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jANqRwZ2jwE&feature=channel_video_title” type=“youtube”]One of WAVE India’s 175+ videos[/mc]
What is videoblogging? Just like you can write something in your own unique style or provide new information on a blog, you can use video to convey your expression, your conviction, and sights and sounds. Videoblogging is a way to express something which will not be censored and can influence someone’s point of view in your community, in your country, or somewhere else in the world. As girls and women, our voices are hardly heard in the mainstream media or on the internet. In fact, only 24% of the people interviewed, heard, seen or read about in mainstream broadcast and print news are female.
My name Sapna means dream in Hindi, and I’m happy to say that I set up my dream project two years ago. We wanted to hear what young women thought about education, health, democracy, the environment, and we wanted to encourage young women to participate more in solving local problems. So we selected one young woman from each of India’s 28 states, trained them in video and gave them cameras so they could participate in a 9-month long mentorship program.
We helped this group of 30 girls make more than 175 videos, which have been seen over 70,000 times on YouTube. We have won national and international awards like the Stockholm Challenge for innovation in the field of information and communication technology. Some of the videos have won international film festival awards and earned money for the girls who made them. Our youngest participant, 19 years old from Rajasthan, made a video about a female rickshaw driver which won an award at the New York-based Women’s Voices Now film festival and won $3000! Besides the girls benefiting from this program, many people in India and abroad learned about issues on the ground in remote areas of India, successful models of NGOs, and heard the stories of inspiring women.
I hope my example shows you that one person can start something that makes a difference. I hope you, too, will contribute your ideas on the internet - blog, edit wiki pages, add your comments on videos or news stories, whatever way you prefer to have a voice! There are a lot of problems in the world and each of us can make small or big changes.
World Pulse’s Voices of Our Future is an online program training grassroots women leaders how to use new media and technology to share their stories and innovative solutions with the world. World Pulse and program partners the Press Institute, and the OpEd Project provide training in new media, citizen journalism and mentoring to empower a new generation of leaders to raise their voices, promote their visions for change and become leaders for their communities.