Wednesday, November 26, 2008

F4W – Feminists for Wireless!

Wireless (wi-fi) community networking has become a recent passion of mine particularly here in Africa. The passion lies in reaching the last mile: seeing rural communities be connected to internet using innovative practices through antennae, wireless routers and motivated people. This is even after overcoming harsh conditions of poor reliability to electricity, dust, lightning, illiteracy, hilly terrain and lack of resources. Wireless does not leave the rural out and in fact, has helped to develop skill and astonishing new ideas of reversing the digital divide trend.

But lets not be too wishful. My observations in Africa is that wireless networking is still dominated by male electrical engineers. But because wireless networking is still such a new concept, the trend can still be reversed. I believe that it has begun here at FTX! My heart filled with hope and optimism as I watched my track participants attempt to dispel usually daunting ideas of hardware and go configure a wireless router and learn more about connecting wi-fi. It is not hard at all! We just need to learn the glossary of the scary tech words and do it. So feminists (male and female), if we want wireless networking to be useful to our underserved rural communities and help women gain access to the knowledge economy, make time to learn these wireless hardware / software skills today.

Shout out to Lillian and Fatima leading us to see Wireless through Women!


Wireless Africa
Wireless Networking in the Developing World
Community Wireless Resource Centre (Makerere University)

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