Say ‘Elo’ To Kenya’s Solution To Tourist Communication

Published by: Givens Kachero (638161) | Winnie Booker (652857) | Hussein Jiva (628978) | Lewis Ochieng (652838)

Kenya is a hotbed of culture, attractions and innovation – a reputation the nation has earned for its various exploits, achievements and contributions. And among the key sectors that have contributed to the country’s burgeoning success stories is the tourism sector.

Continue reading Say ‘Elo’ To Kenya’s Solution To Tourist Communication

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Reflection of the digital era on content creation and distribution in music

By Kelins Randiek

Digital technologies and internet distribution have affected the creation, marketing and distribution of sound recordings in the global music business. These technologies have enabled, evolution of music ,distribution of sound recordings as digital files. Concepts from the clue train manifesto relate to the content creation and music distribution in the digital content creation and music distribution. Digital manifesto assumes everyone is a click away from getting and accessing information. Information in this case is the music which has tremendously undergone transformation since the inception of the digital era.

Consumer can easily change brand loyalty according to what they prefer. The market has expanded and is global so is the consumer, we have control of our suppliers, there is no brand loyalty and consumers can shift preference at what they want to watch or hear at any time.  Downloading of individual songs has diminished the importance of the industry previously most lucrative product. As consumers of the digital era, means of communication is horizontal there is no hierarchy of influence to be followed. Electronic colonialism theory further states that we have been colonized by the digital era.

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uncontrolled digital era music consumers: Source http://www.university2business.it

Supply of sound recordings has greatly expanded in the digital era, low cost audio and video production tools have lowered musician’s costs to create musical works as compared to the traditional era where one had to have enough capital and manpowerto create and produce musicin the digital era everything has been revolutionized giving all musicians a chance cutting off boundaries of age gender and sex, adding to supply and online retailers low marginal cost of digital capacity that has rendered retailors to put up for sale millions of sound recordings

Digital technologies have also changed the way that consumers discover music and this in turn has altered the industry marketing and promotional strategies, most musicians for instance, famous most paid musician Justin Bieber was discovered on the internet on YouTube. Social networks are used to create digital word-of-mouth among consumers of Facebook, twitter, YouTube and can be used with equal effectiveness by record companies that finance celebrities, musicians, amateur bands that finance there events and gigs that turn to huge sold out.

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advertisement revolutionized: Source designsfree.net

The new business models in music on the digital era include, digital music stores, I tunes for instance and amazon that sells and markets online musicians work promoting advertising to the next level. Recording companies, competing with all file sharing and other versions that are not authorized of the same music. Paid music subscription for example spotify, that do not portray all the full legal rights of music ownership and provide a greater revenue to copy right owners than advertising-supported streaming services. Music video playing on YouTube providing the copyright owner a portion of advertising revenue on each video click or view online.

Social networks enabling major label recording artist and unsigned bands to lobby fans to promote and purchase music video and downloads, constantly watch online videos and attend concerts. Distribution and marketing platforms for example most renowned Reverb nation thatprovides a platform to emerging and established in-existence bands new tools to market, promote and monetize copyrights at a grass root level.

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Source: https://stakeholder11.wordpress.com

To preserve as much as possible of the traditional industry model and revenues associated with copyright, major record companies have looked at legal enforcement and various rights management software that restricts consumers from free access to music,for example paid subscription services have tried to limit access to music and for those illegally copying music after the subscription period ends It is unclear whether traditional recorded music companies will still have a place of dominance in the industry as they have in the past, having lost much of their distribution to for instance powerful online retailers, increasingly file sharing and do-it yourself marketing platform.

The Internet: Changing millions of lives, one new Job at a time

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The Internet: Many people now have unlimited power in their hands. Image courtesy  theinstitute.ieee.org

By Kenneth K Mburu

Nearly two years ago, I completed my undergraduate studies. As you would expected, my parents were ecstatic as going by the traditional believe that a well educated fellow always lands a lucrative job, I was on my way to becoming a highly-paid, very prominent member of the society. But like most of my fellow graduates, I was not very optimistic about life after school. Statistics had shown that unemployment rates in Kenya had more than doubled since the turn of the millennium with many university graduates forced to stay without a job for an average of five years. But luckily, a few days after my graduation, a job posting on Facebook would prompt me to apply for a position in a startup company, and after a few rounds of interviews, I secured my first job. Interestingly, my job description required me to be connected to the internet throughout as the company was generating its revenue entirely through Google’s popular revenue program AdSense.

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Google Adsense Poster: Never in my wildest imagination had I thought that Facebook and Google would combine forces to jump start my career. Image by shoemoney.com

      22 months later, I was back on the job hunting scene. This time round popular networking site, LinkedIn, proved to be very resourceful. A few days after announcing to the world that I was jobless, a recruiter for a British based company contacted me and needless to say, I was employed for a second time thanks to the connectivity and interaction that the internet has brought with it.

       What was initially started as a means of the US government to transmit information electronically has evolved to an omnipresent outlet where humans can easily find meaningful connections. Each passing second, the internet is mutating and growing ever larger and more complex but at the same time providing millions of people with the opportunity to better themselves.

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The Internet In one Minute: The Internet is pretty dynamic, changing every second. Photo courtesy http://www.cnet.com

Unlike any other technology ever invented, the internet has successfully managed to provide a means through which humans can overcome age old obstacles to human interactions. Be it language barriers, geographical restrictions or even financial restrains, people across the globe can now easily interact and learn from each other. This has led to the rise of a new age of creativity among humans. Never before have so many people had as much information and power in their hands. For many who have been able to take advantage of the internet, the benefits have been immense. Take for instances the world javelin champion, Julius Yego, a man who has been able to break world records and rise to be a celebrated sports personality thanks to a skill learnt via watching You Tube videos.

‘Yego’ by Khaligraph Jones: Yego’s success story has been so impressive that songs have even been sang in his honor.

Each new day, internet connectivity is spreading and new portions of the world are welcomed into the online arena. Among these entrants are both new and old companies. One of the greatest fears that people have with the spread of the internet is on job automation with many fearing that the human workforce will be replaced by automated machines. While this might be true, as past revolutions, for instance the industrial revolution and the digital revolution, have often come at the expense of certain categories of jobs, some global economic analysis have shown that the internet has in fact added more jobs than it has obliterated. According to McKinsey and Company, internet has created 2.6 new jobs for every 1 deleted. This means that with each passing day, university graduates, who media reports had claimed would remain jobless for at least five years, have more than double the chance of finding a job provided they position themselves appropriately. Think about the different communities that sprout each day to help the youth find jobs.

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Communities are helpful: The Internet is a database full of information to help us build connections: Image courtesy optimum7.com

These communities bring together people with similar interest and making it easier to build helpful contacts all over the world, something one could not do so easily without the internet. The internet has  provides equal opportunities for everyone, regardless of how shy or confident one is, the internet will provide a means to make communicating that much more easier, keep in mind that one can pretend to be whatever they want to be.

In line with the clue train manifesto, the internet has succeeded in breaking down the once limiting top-down control of those in authority. One of the regular McKinsey reports clearly highlights how the “Internet of Things” will create brand new ways of doing business and disrupting the traditional back and forth of conducting business. Ideally, this means creation of new opportunities for job creation as different companies strive to remain relevant and retain their customers. In additionally, the Internet is full of information that can help potential entrepreneurs start successful ventures. Furthermore, as Executive Street notes, internet penetration has caused a selling revolution by placing the purchasing and decision making authority in the hands of prospective buyers. This means that if one website does not have what a buyer wants, another Website will meet their needs. This gives startups an equal playing field with multi-nationals.

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Startups now have a platform to compete with multinationals: Image courtesy of Google 

As more ‘traditional’ jobs are replaced with new jobs that have been brought about by the internet, university graduates will have to align themselves with the new types of work. Additionally, they will need to be as dynamic and as comfortable to adjusting to the regular changes that are bound to happen in the work place. And in order to remain relevant and reliable once they join the work force, they will need to learn how to be resilient and able to recognize and make the most of new opportunities. Being technologically literate will be one of the key elements of beating unemployment as companies are now rushing to adopt digital strategies that will see them survive in the new digital era. In short, mastering new ways of working will be key to a person’s employ-ability.

But even as all this happens, one can’t help but wonder how the market will be like in the next 15-30 years. Will there be need for offices or will everyone opt to work from the comfort of their homes, hotel suites or airplane seats? Will Whatsapp messaging app and Instagram Direct Message be adopted as the main form of communications deeming interpersonal communications, that current employers value so much, irrelevant?  Will  robots take over the world and force humans to migrate to another planet? Or maybe someone on the internet might just create an app that will turn all social networking sites, Google and the internet as a whole into some sort of virus forcing everyone to turn back to the traditional way of doing things. You never know!

 

New age parenting: A hurdle or not?

By Esther O Ochieng

Babies using tablet - source wall street journal
Photo Source: Wall Street Journal

Being a mother of two young girls I often debate with other parents or at times with myself about the effect of internet and digital gadgets on our lifestyles as opposed to the older times when we were raised. Gone are the days when parents had a lighter time raising children. Parents were the main source of information that nurtured a child’s character apart from peers, teachers and the community. Enter now, the digital age, myriads of information are flying by every second making parenting a daunting task. From a young age children are exposed to a lot of material online that may impact in their behavior. Have you seen a toddler trying to finger swipe a television or ‘analogue’ phones much to their frustration? I have seen many, I have even seen my children try it. It can be daunting.

TEENS_ON_SOCIAL_MEDIA www.umcom.org
Teens on social media. Source: http://www.umcom.org

Raising a child in the digital age needs parents to have guidelines on internet usage for their children. It’s not possible to just make a blanket decision and deny children especially teenagers access to online sources because they develop a stronger desire to access internet from other areas like peers, at school or cyber cafes. This alternative sources turn out to be unsafe as it isn’t regulated and possibly exposes the child to explicit or violent content.

A study by Pew Research Center revealed that 92% of teenagers are online on a daily basis. This has become possible through the ever increasing availability of smartphones and its ease of access into the internet.

credit- unicef kenya
Two young ladies in Kawangware Nairobi using their mobile phones on the side of the street. Credit UNICEF Kenya

It is literally difficult to deny your child access to a phone moreover the internet, I haven’t succeeded and my children are only just preschoolers. Today, a lot of practices children have developed come from the internet and not to fault them even adults’ lifestyle choices are affected by ease of access to the internet. Of all age groups, teenagers are most vulnerable because they are at a point in life where they’re easily impressed. There is an enormous amount of pressure to fit in which most of the time influences how they eat, dress and behave. Google, YouTube, streaming channels etc. just to mention a few have opened another world to them, albeit positively and negatively. Did you know that most of your children have watched pornographic materials at least a few times before they turned 18? This might be a shocker but according to statistics 92% of boys and 62% of girls have watched porn before their 18th birthday. This is according to a study by covenant press as seen in the image below.

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Statistics by covenant press on teens and porn. Credit http://www.covenantpress.com

Nonetheless, there are many potential benefits of the internet among teenagers when it is used productively. For instance, children can access educational material online which can be useful with studies. Gaming is also important for brain growth provided the amount of time taken in plating should be regulated and the types of games carefully chosen. They may use media channels online to connect with peers across national divides and create cross cultural friendships. There are many parents who have used new media positively and are having great results with their children. I have used media available online to teach my child various activities, learn colours and shapes, even to show her she can brush her teeth independently and successfully. See the video below also used by Fastrack Kids Kindergarten in Johannesburg to enhance social learning in class.

Social media and the internet are very useful tools to advance sustainable social and economic development. New technological advancements and milestones have been achieved during this digital age making it almost impossible to regulate this tool which is a double edged sword, it has its benefits but is also harmful. Researchers continue to look into way of making the internet safer to use to increase productivity for children. Parents are encouraged to teach their children on safe internet use in order to encourage responsible habits. This is no easy fit owing to the millions of information online. For starters, as a parent you need to be fully conversant with internet. Some parents are technology savvy and do not take much interest using internet. It becomes difficult to regulate someone from using a tool or service while you aren’t aware of its benefits and risks. Understanding internet usage enables a parent limit access to only appropriate content and interactions on social sites.

On a lighter note there’s an interesting video on you tube showing a toddler conducting CPR on a dummy. Amazing, right? The toddler must have observed someone doing it, right?  It is an arguably cute video but on the flip side it demonstrates how easy it is for a child to pick up a habit or behavior just by being exposed to it. You may watch it later on this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRoSAkeV_Qc. Parenting is full time duty that requires a parent to be very observant of their children’s activities especially online. Psychologists encourage open communication between parents and children so that they’re able to guide on best practices of internet use and safeguard them from harmful retrogressive digital age cultures.

Here are a few simple procedures to guide internet usage for your child;

  • Constant supervision of internet use through computers or mobile phones
  • Initiating parenting controls on websites with obscene content like porn sites
  • Purchase of internet software that regulate internet browsing and safety
  • Educate your child on the dangers of accessing harmful websites especially clicking on those pop advertisements
  • Some may call it stalking but try to interact with your child while they’re online

New age parenting; A Hurdle or maybe not?

 

By Esther O Ochieng

Being a mother of two young girls I often debate with other parents or at times with myself about the effect of internet and digital gadgets on our lifestyles as opposed to the older times when we were raised. Gone are the days when parents had a lighter time raising children. Parents were the main source of information that nurtured a child’s character apart from peers, teachers and the community. Enter now, the digital age, myriads of information are flying by every second making parenting a daunting task. From a young age children are exposed to a lot of material online that may impact in their behavior. Have you seen a toddler trying to finger swipe a television or ‘analogue’ phones much to their frustration? I have seen many, I have even seen my children try it. It can be daunting.

Raising a child in the digital age needs parents to have guidelines on internet usage for their children. It’s not possible to just make a blanket decision and deny children especially teenagers access to online sources because they develop a stronger desire to access internet from other areas like peers, at school or cyber cafes. This alternative sources turn out to be unsafe as it isn’t regulated and possibly exposes the child to explicit or violent content.

A study by Pew Research Center revealed that 92% of teenagers are online on a daily basis. This has become possible through the ever increasing availability of smartphones and its ease of access into the internet.

credit- unicef kenya
Two young ladies in Kawangware Nairobi using their mobile phones on the side of the street. Credit UNICEF Kenya

It is literally difficult to deny your child access to a phone moreover the internet, I haven’t succeeded and my children are only just preschoolers. Today, a lot of practices children have developed come from the internet and not to fault them even adults’ lifestyle choices are affected by ease of access to the internet. Of all age groups, teenagers are most vulnerable because they are at a point in life where they’re easily impressed. There is an enormous amount of pressure to fit in which most of the time influences how they eat, dress and behave. Google, YouTube, streaming channels etc. just to mention a few have opened another world to them, albeit positively and negatively. Did you know that most of your children have watched pornographic materials at least a few times before they turned 18? This might be a shocker but according to statistics 92% of boys and 62% of girls have watched porn before their 18th birthday. This is according to a study by covenant press as seen in the image below.

covenant eyes
Credit: http://www.covenanteyes.com

Nonetheless, there are many potential benefits of the internet among teenagers when it is used productively. For instance, children can access educational material online which can be useful with studies. Gaming is also important for brain growth provided the amount of time taken in plating should be regulated and the types of games carefully chosen. They may use media channels online to connect with peers across national divides and create cross cultural friendships. There are many parents who have used new media positively and are having great results with their children. I have used media available online to teach my child various activities, learn colours and shapes, even to show her she can brush her teeth independently and successfully. See the video below also used by Fastrack Kids Kindergarten in Johannesburg to enhance social learning in class.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnHIgRhJctc

Social media and the internet are very useful tools to advance sustainable social and economic development. New technological advancements and milestones have been achieved during this digital age making it almost impossible to regulate this tool which is a double edged sword, it has its benefits but is also harmful. Researchers continue to look into way of making the internet safer to use to increase productivity for children. Parents are encouraged to teach their children on safe internet use in order to encourage responsible habits. This is no easy fit owing to the millions of information online. For starters, as a parent you need to be fully conversant with internet. Some parents are technology savvy and do not take much interest using internet. It becomes difficult to regulate someone from using a tool or service while you aren’t aware of its benefits and risks. Understanding internet usage enables a parent limit access to only appropriate content and interactions on social sites.

On a lighter note there’s an interesting video on you tube showing a toddler conducting CPR on a dummy. Amazing, right? The toddler must have observed someone doing it, right?  It is an arguably cute video but on the flip side it demonstrates how easy it is for a child to pick up a habit or behavior just by being exposed to it. You may watch it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRoSAkeV_Qc Parenting is full time duty that requires a parent to be very observant of their children’s activities especially online. Psychologists encourage open communication between parents and children so that they’re able to guide on best practices of internet use and safeguard them from harmful retrogressive digital age cultures.

Here are a few simple procedures to guide internet usage for your child;

  • Constant supervision of internet use through computers or mobile phones
  • Initiating parenting controls on websites with obscene content like porn sites
  • Purchase of internet software that regulate internet browsing and safety
  • Educate your child on the dangers of accessing harmful websites especially clicking on those pop advertisements
  • Some may call it stalking but try to interact with your child while they’re online

Mobile and Internet Technology: How the More Revolution is Improving the Quality of Life for Women and Girls in Afghanistan

 

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Afghan girls surf the internet to get more information on human rights especially for women.          Photo credit: Manezha Mohamed, Afghanistan

 

By Joan Lewa

From August 2014 to March 2015, I had the pleasure of working with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Kabul, Afghanistan.  Many thought I was insane to accept the short-term contract in such a war-torn country. Some even bid me a “see you in heaven” goodbye since I was sending myself to the gallows. For me, I considered it an opportunity of a lifetime knowing I will be able to meet Afghan women, who I’d heard so much about, especially their determination in the fight for equality, voting rights, equal employment opportunities among other.

Afghanistan, a mountainous landlocked country located in South Asia, is famously known for the long-term unrest caused by war.  Worst is the way women are treated, confined to extremism in religion, negative social and economic elements. For decades, Afghan women have been second class citizens, not even allowed to vote in elections. They were married at 13 years and no option for divorce and no chance of inheriting anything. The women were never allowed to move around without an escort of a male.

Afghan women were not allowed to walk out without the company of a man or boy regardless of age. The boy is to report on their conversations or any acts that may be seen deviant according to the Sharia law.
Afghan women were not allowed to walk out without the company of a man or boy regardless of age. The boy is to report on their conversations or any acts that may be seen deviant according to the Sharia law. 

During my stay, and working as a development communications outreach for USAID gave me an opportunity have many site visits with the escort of the American marines.  Some of my duties were to move around and collect success stories and blogs which I would publish on website.  Over the period, I got to meet many women and girls. One thing was for sure – The More Revolution had indeed reached Afghanistan and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) especially the mobile phone and internet were favorably helping in the process of empowering women and girls.

The “More” in terms of donor funding is one positive aspect that contributed to Afghanistan’s rapid growth of ICT.  It happened at a time where millions of dollars from development partners was poured in the country from donors. It will be noted that many targeted the interests of women especially in changing the conservative attitudes towards women. The influx of (More) cheap smartphones from China which retail for as little as ten dollars was an important variable that contributed to the growth of ICT in Afghanistan. Of “more” noteworthy is the “youth bulge” that constituted of millions of young people of below thirty years. These youths, majority being women and girls, desired progress in their fight for human rights faster than the Afghan government could give.  They, in numerous numbers and equipped with the use of mobile phones and internet became difficult to control and with that power, they have managed to improve their livelihood.

Social media advances understanding of girls and women’s rights

One of the girls I had the opportunity to meet is Hamira Hamidi.  “I was afraid to join Facebook”, she explains.  I was afraid because this was a rare thing for women and girls in Afghanistan.  Since joining social media, Hamira now has over 1,500 Facebook friends and over 6000 Twitter followers. “When I learn of a woman who is not on Facebook, I say ‘how do you exist without Facebook?’”. Working as a consultant for women’s right campaigns, she is able to use social media to reach out to thousands of women and children, educating them of their rights. Hamira also set up the Afghan Women’s Network of Technology which has a coalition of more than 90 women groups.

Hamira also takes time to teach young girls on how to use social media tools and internet to access information.
Hamira also takes time to teach young girls on how to use social media tools and internet to access information.  Photo credit:  Samim Wafeq, Afghanistan

Mobile-money Transfer Deepens Financial Inclusion

Another impressive stride that mobile technology has given to the Afghan women is the use of mHawala (mobile money). Typically, women in Afghanistan are not allowed to work away from home. They have to be escorted by a male when leaving the house the only job they are allowed is that of tailoring, where they are confined to a room.  The mHawala mobile technology, a home-based business that allows transfer of cash, payment of bills and even a personal bank is changing women’s lives. I met Fardha Ahmed, who impressively defied the trend of women unemployment and became a mobile money agent for a telecommunications company. Fardha believes that by doing so, she is preparing a way for other women who are looking for jobs. She works from home and offers the mHawala services to neighbors, local business people and relatives. She earns seven percent per transaction, customer registrations and sale of pre-paid cards. “My dad refused that I work outside of my house” said Fardha, 23. “I discussed with father and managed to convince him and now I work from home, the money I get is also helping in paying for my sister’s education.”

Promoting Social Justice

Afghan women protesting the brutal murder of Farkhunda Malikzada. They all took to the streets after messages of demonstration went viral in the women’s network. Photo credit: Radio Liberty, Afghanistan

“We are able to post on social media women injustices taking place here,” says Farni Marwad 30. “Hard evidence helps us women get global attention, forcing judges to imprison men who they would have otherwise released.” Farni was a biter woman at the time of my interview with her. She narrated of the case of Farkhunda Malikzada, who had been murdered by in the streets. Killed with medieval cruelty, Malikzada had an argument with a mullah (a religions scholar), where he accused her of burning the Koran.  She was then beaten, thrown from the roof, ran over by a car, her body set on fire and later dumped in Kabul River, the police looked on. “Power was out that day so communication was impossible, she says.  “I saw it on Facebook, Hamidi had posted it and with all the women’s network, the clip went viral.” Farni smiles at this point because by morning millions of people around the world were condemning the action. The case eventually demonstrated Facebook in action among Afghanistan women. She believes that the judge could not release or give the accused a less conviction because all eyes were on him, especially with the hard evidence circulating on social media.

Reducing the unemployment gap for women

More girls and women Afghanistan are getting information through the internet and mobile applications.
More girls and women Afghanistan are getting information from the internet and mobile applications.  Photo credit: USAID/Afghanistan

Technology has also helped Ms. Manisha Roya become a role model for girls and women in Afghanistan, especially those who want to become future leaders. Roya, after graduating with a degree in computer science opened her own company where she sells software.  The company has 30 employees, 21 of whom are female. Roya represents one of the hundreds of Afghan women who have started companies encompassing the technology world. They believe that the way to peace and modernization in Afghanistan can be found in technology. They are audacious, braving Afghanistan’s cultural and religious norms are marching up with courage to front-run their own companies.

Promoting education 

It was good to learn, recently that the Education Ministry in Afghanistan introduced a new literacy application for mobile phones. Ustad Mobil (mobile teacher) will give traditional ways of learning a modern approach. The application will be providing information to both national languages and it also has modules in language and math. Though the Ustad may not end violence against female teachers and learners, it will most definitely make the education policy makers explore further on strategies that will make education accessible to women and girls who are sometimes not allowed to attend schools.

Women in adult education are able to access information and learning in their national languages – thanks to Ustad mobile.
Women in adult education are able to access information and learning in their national languages – thanks to Ustad mobile.  Photo credit: Getty Images

Conclusion

The More revolution should not be mistaken for just quantity but also about improvements in lives as in the case of Afghan women and girls. They are more informed, better educated and bold in educating fellow women of their rights. Thanks to the More revolution, to date, through technology, what had protected power against women is no longer working as the women are more connected with the world than before.

Fond memories of girls and women and how far they have come will always be dear to my heart.  Indeed, technology has contributed greatly in the strides they have made to overcome their social, economic, and religious and cultures to be who they are today and much more in future. Technology has helped them become a force in their country’s development.  They are participants and not stand-by second class participants and also leaders in a country where they were once dominated.  I am so proud to have been a part of this great time, to witness first-hand how technology, especially the internet and social media improved the quality of life for the women and girls of Afghanistan.