On March 9 of this year, UNICEF held a panel discussion at their headquarters in New York City about the potential impact of mobile phones in the mobilization of marginalized women throughout the world. Participants emphasized the cell phone’s ability to help rural girls acquire critical life skills, and give them a voice in their community. They outlined the combination of new, modern technologies with development and communication strategies to empower these silenced women.
Leaders of discussion emphasized, as we learned in the readings this week, the undeniable influence of environmental factors on the development of these women. The participants agreed that these cultural and political traditions which influence social norms are what must be targeted to instigate change. In order to reach these women, programs must also reach out to their families, community leaders and the community itself.
Gannon Gillespie, the Director of Strategic Development at Tostan, highlighted the amplification effect of communication technologies such as cell phones in the dissemination of information and sharing of opinions and ideas. Communication for Development (C4D) and Information and Communication Technology has allowed for a two-way conversation between the organizations helping in development and the marginalized people living in developing countries, leading to more effective development plans. UNICEF plans to prioritize the use of communication technologies such as cell phones in future development plans. To read more about the panel discussion, follow the link below.