Engaging & Empowering women and young people in Cameroon through SMS

Women for a Change (WFAC) Buea's e-advocacy and SMS advocacy creates impact during 08 March activism

As you know, over the years WFAC advocacies has always been person-to-person and electronic. For The first time, it has to used SMS/text messages to raise awareness against violence on women, provide timely information to support women’s empowerment likewise connecting its SMS audiences to its virtual space here on Facebook/twitter.

The total persons reached during this year's womens day estimates to be over 4000 people - that is both through e-advocay and SMS advocacy. Statistics taken from WFAC’s Facebook page shows traffic of 3000+ people reach; with over 74 people talking about the page.

So far, SMS advocacy is new in Cameroon, and WFAC believes to be one of the first civil society organizations in Cameroon (particularly in Buea) to use SMS as a tool for social change and advocacy.

Just so you know two week ago, WFAC sent out over 900 SMS, urging the public to take personal commitment to end violence on women and girls in their community, home and society. Since then, WFAC has received over 50-replies in forms of text messages, personal feedback, and telephone calls from persons across all works of life- that is - media, academia, activists, politicians, youth leaders etc. both young and old –appreciating the ‘personal commitment’ initiative, and thanking the team for reminding the public to take action to end violence on women.

However, of all the responses, none was an email or a post here on our Facebook wall.

OBSERVATION, CHALLENGE & FEAR
The fact that WFAC received no email provoked the big question which asked whether its SMS audiences were not internet connected. Alternatively, in subsequent advocacies, it should considers these audiences differently – virtual and offline audience.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to answer the big question, WFAC observed that it was unable to detect the number of SMS, recipients could have forwarded and shared with their friends, families, colleagues etc through any communication portals.

Again, WFAC realized that of the 900 SMS sent, it was incapable to relate it to 900 different people, recognizing the fact that many people possesses more than two or three telephone lines. Besides telephone numbers which is no longer active.

Even at that WFAC wondered how many of those SMS received are still in the keeping of those who received it.

CONCLUSION
In all WFAC’s SMS advocacy during this women’s day to facilitate change could be said to have been positive. At least some of the objectives were met.
And the fact that this was just an experiment that many people enjoyed and became inspired by it. 
As such WFAC concludes that if such a campaign is frequent. People would definitely become use-to and results would be more meaningful.

And one of the event WFAC looks forward to create greater impact is the upcoming Global Youth Service Day - April 26 – 28, 2013 – where young people across the globe will be celebrating youth Services for change. By that time, WFAC hopes to have been able to secure some financial supports to sponsor its SMS advocacy for greater impact and change.

This article is a repost from wfac

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