Ugandan Women Online and The Challenges They Have To Overcome

Ugandan Women Online and The Challenges They Have To Overcome

Picture Source: Internet

Women in Uganda use the Internet for business, political dialogue, to blog their thoughts, share beauty and hair tips, counsel, to inspire, to advocate, , to connect, to chat, to rant, and whatever.

It is ideally supposed to be space for free expression. What happens when this space is invaded?

I thought I should ask my online female friends whether they had faced any challenges online and what they had done to deal with these challenges. Stalking, harassment, verbal abuse and self-censorship came across as some of the challenges women face online. The perpetrators are both men and women.

Evelyn: “Yes I have; there are so many of them but I think the biggest one would be the constant disrespect most women get from our male counterparts online. I have been stalked several times with someone obtaining my contacts from someone else and calling me at odd hours, texting me, stalking my Instagram and Facebook. When I didn’t do much, they start insulting me, filling my mentions with hatred from different fake accounts. I used to censor myself on what I say online due to how women are perceived but after some years I have learned to speak my mind.” I have been insulted several times after I said No to men/ women online or responded to them about some of the mean comments they give to women online. Of course there are situations I have said something stupid and been castigated by my friends about, then I have to apologize for that. The saddest experience online though is seeing how we women go up against each other because we seem to interpret feminism differently. And of-course those who find joy in putting others down”

Maria “Can I call it Stalking? This happened two to three years ago, I was in a conversation with a male acquaintance that I had recently befriended on Facebook, and they randomly referred to an event in life that I had posted in 2006! After more interactions with this person I realized they had scanned all my social media profiles, and even downloaded my photos to their phone. One of my biggest challenges online is total lack of social media etiquette. I find it weird when some people start privately texting, whatsapping or DMing me about posts or tweets I have made. Yet they will never publicly post a comment. It’s a public post, they should comment on the post publicly! When they only ever approach me privately over a simple post, I can’t help but feel like I am being watched and I feel very uncomfortable. I have had to block and restrict a number of people because of this behavior. Because nothing physical is being done, I can’t report such behavior. What to do?” Not everyone is like this. But it certainly makes you paranoid.

Lucinda: I have had stalkers online. People pretend to want to do business with me then I invest in a lot of time only to realize that all this time the person was interested in a date. I have tried to be polite by telling them that I am a married woman and Facebook is strictly for business. If they persist, I block them.

Linda: Uhm as a woman, not exactly, but as a young adult using social media, the biggest challenge is self censorship which is a necessary defense mechanism against being attacked for my opinions, I have dealt with it by having sufficiently informed opinions which I can back however bold, with facts and truths.

Emily: Well, I was attacked for my political views, the troll hurled insults at me, he told me that I was rubbish and that I had no Idea of what I was talking about. I blocked him immediately.

Women cannot afford to acclimatize to abusive online behavior that distresses them, if tolerated, online abuse just like physical violence is detrimental. It can cause women to reduce their online activity yet only 1 in 9 women in Africa use the internet.

So then what must women do? Stand up, speak out, do not feed the troll, and do not indulge the stalker, empower other women.

So how far is too far?

Dr Emma Short a Co-Founder at the National Centre for Cyber-stalking Research and a leading researcher on online harassment says, “you’ve gone too far in your online activities if you know your actions are upsetting another person: “Once you are causing fear and distress through your communication and you know the communication is unwanted, then you are engaged in harassment which is against the law.”

Take Back the Tech defines Technology-based violence against women (tech-based VAW) encompasses acts of gender-based violence that are committed, abetted or aggravated, in part or fully, by the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs).

Telling the Wonder Welders’ Story

Telling the Wonder Welders’ Story

Doing something for the first time can cause jitters – that is what I could read from the faces of the team of NGO communications practitioners that was going to shoot and produce a television story for the first time. The story was an assignment during the “Strengthening the Representation and Portrayal of Women in the Media in East Africa ” training by Commonwealth broadcasting Association and UNESCO.

Off they took a trip to wonder world. Wonder world is an incredible place in a Dar es Salaam where the disabled people that once used to beg on the streets have been handed a second chance to turn scrap metal into anything they choose.

A large crocodile greets the team and when they get out of the car- lo and behold there is a zoo – Lions, a variety of bird species, fish and even monkeys. As if filming for the first time is not challenging enough, I am beginning to worry about the distractions that the wonders of Wonder Welders might cause.


After being introduced to the manager Shukulu, the video team took a tour around the project to identify what possible stories they might want to film- from onset, the disabled men in the workshop that made the welding work intrigued them because they made the work look very easy.

It was time to decide what angle the story was to take, one of the team members said that that was pretty simple until when they all spoke out loud and each one had a different angle. T

Once the team had come up with an angle, they divided up the roles since the camera crew were available, a director, someone to interview were selected from the team.


Now that the team and story angle were in place, questions in place, they wanted faces behind wonder welders; everybody seemed to agree that Shukuru was the perfect choice for the first interview he has been there from the start, he had risen in ranks to manager- perfect pacesetter for the story. What about the gender aspect, that was a question that lingered in the minds of the team. So they headed to Aisha Alfan the lady that had greeted us with a smile in the paper workshop as we were building rapport. As the plot was climaxing, the team was convinced that it was key that other people are inspired by the work of wonder welders. The inevitable choice was Joyce a mother of two married to a deaf man and a sole breadwinner of the family that was an amazing story.

The interviews started, I could tell that some of the team members were beginning to resign because at that point, the journey seemed so far and how in the world would all this footage be cut to only three minutes?

Thank God for Salim, the team’s amazing cameraman by the time the team got to the studio, he had already organized the footage into folders.

Now the task ahead was to write a script in as few words as possible- I discovered that if you are the kind of person that clings onto things, video editing is not for you- we let go of lots of things including Joyce’s voice and opted to narrate her experience because she was a slow speaker.

We reviewed the videos, identified the plot of the story, cut-a-ways. The story was unfolding- the first ten seconds of the story meant everything- a catchy first line was a must- no ifs no buts otherwise the viewers will walk away to grab coffee or if they are like me that watches news with a remote in my hands, I will have already changed the channel to watch something that is more interesting.

The story had been formed; there was relief on many faces on the team. What remained was the icing on the cake; voice-overs and behold the story was ready to be served.

Teamwork is everything in this game; that was the take-away lesson for me.

By Prudence Nyamishana