How We’re Training Women in Africa to Teach the Web

A look inside Mozilla and the UN Women’s web literacy work in Nairobi and Capetown

As part of our work with UN Women to teach key digital skills to young women we’ve been busy launching Mozilla Clubs for women in Nairobi and Cape Town and I recently had the opportunity to visit both communities and run a Mozilla Club Leadership Training in each city. Though the experiences were different in each city, both trainings were key to the launch of Mozilla Clubs and development of the club participates. For quick viewing you can see the Cape Town report here and pictures here. As well as the Nairobi report here and pictures here.

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Trip Objectives

As a follow-up to hiring our Regional Coordinators in March and launching Mozilla Clubs for women in Nairobi and Cape Town in April, we set out with the objective of running local trainings in each city in May.

The goals of the trips were to:

  • Kickstart the creation and launch of 10 clubs in each city
  • Visit Clubs and talk to local Club Captains to understand how to better support them
  • Train Club Captains how to teach Web Literacy in engaging and inclusive ways
  • Work with each Regional Coordinator to assess needs and priorities (while doing some team bonding!)
  • Bring together a community to support and encourage the program on the ground
  • Bring local UN Women subsidiaries into the program, as well as other close organizations and collaborators

Local Mozilla Clubs

In Nairobi I was able to visit Mozilla Club Web Titans (case study here) in a local community empowerment center. The club is in the early stages of launching but doing a great job of engaging the young women who attended and taking our popular activities like Kraken the Code offline. Unfortunately due to the heavy rain storms in Nairobi the other clubs we wanted to visit were flooded. We did manage to spend a lot of time visiting local co-working and community spaces which allowed us to share the program and bring in additional stakeholders to the work.

In Cape Town we’ve developed a great partnership with the University of Western Cape where 5 of their IT students are facilitating their learning in the classroom with young girls in nearby high schools. We did get to spend a lot of time at The Barn which is a co-working space for technology entrepreneurs and also host to Mozilla Club Lookout Hill (case study here) which is a club focusing on connecting older women who own small businesses and helping them learn what the web can do for their businesses. We also visited COSAT High School where our youngest Club Captain, Asisipho, is running a club for her classmates during their weekly study time (case study here).

Mozilla Club Leadership Training

In both cities, I designed a schedule for the day-long trainings that would allow attendees to see and understand how to teach Web Literacy components in ways that are engaging, participatory and fun while also understanding what it means to create safe spaces online/offline and how to tackle local issues that were relevant to women in their communities while using the web. The full schedule can be viewed here and includes a facilitation guide that helps support Club Captains, or others, to run similar activities or trainings in the future. Here are reports from both trainings and pictures of all the clubs and trainings:

Read what happened at the Cape Town training here.

And see what happened in the pictures from Cape Town.

Read what happened at the Nairobi training here.

And see what happened in the pictures from Nairobi.

Post-Event Survey

After the training events we sent attendees a survey to gauge their learning and confidence taking the material forward. We learned that,

  • Attendees strongly agreed that they now understand what it means to read, write and participate on the web and how to teach it.
  • They have many new ideas on how they want to change their learning environments (ex. Introduce spectograms, create safer spaces using tips they learned, sitting in circles, using activities that engage their participants).
  • The strongly agreed that they now understand the full scope of issues facing women in their country and have ideas on how to bring them into their clubs (ex. “I’ll use the web to highlight differnt types of women and how they’ve suceeded in life despite their obstacles.” or “I will use the x-ray goggles to remix sites that we can use to create more awareness and generate content that helps victims protect themselves”)
  • On a scale of 1–5, 5 being very effective, all participants ranked the event a 4 or 5. They particularly liked the facilitation, the activities, learning how teaching methods can be fun, understanding how to teach both online and offline, how interactive the event was and the energy that their fellow participants brought to the day/work.
  • They want more training opportunities, more guides and the opportunity to learn from other clubs going forward.

Though this picture is really what makes me smile:

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