Talking,Listening and Responding

By Annetjie van Wynegaard and Gabi Falanga

People using digital media are not nameless entities sitting behind a computer, but personalities with complex identities. Yesterday’s panel discussion “Gender, Civil Society
and Digital Media” focused on the social aspects of the digital citizen. The conversation was led by Maureen Agena and Nthateng Mhlambiso as part of the Digital Citizen Indaba
at Rhodes University.
Agena is the information officer of Women for Uganda Network (Wougnet). She spoke about how specific technology for women is being implemented in rural areas of Uganda.
Social online networking tools are limited in rural Uganda due to high costs, poverty and lack of skills. She said: “The biggest media being used is radio and telephone because
Uganda is a verbal community.” Radio and telephones enable citizens to communicate in their own languages, such as the Luo spoken in Northern Uganda.
Telecentres have been set up in parts of Uganda where citizens are able to access emails and the Internet. Wougnet provides practical skills training for women. “They are
very eager to participate although they don’t have the skills.
They want to talk, they want to listen, they want to respond.” Agena said that “women should be in a position to make use of available media opportunities to improve their
livelihoods”.read more on Highway africa