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Gender, Virtual Seminars, and Networking: successful strategies, lessons, and challenges

Cosponsored by the Gender and Rural Development Thematic Group (GENRD)

November 5, 2002

Presenters via video links:
Ms. Dorothy Okello, Coordinator, Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET), Kampala, Uganda

Dr. Leslie Regan Shade, Assistant Professor, Communication Department, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Ms. Tatjana Sikoska, UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW), Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Co-chair: Eija Pehu, Senior Advisor, Rural Development Department, the World Bank

Virtual seminars have become a very popular way to acquire knowledge and skills among both men and women in developed and developing countries. Among a variety of ICTs, e-mail and electronic discussion groups are the predominant information technology applications that women in developing countries use, due to the cost-efficiency issues. Three presenters discussed how to conduct virtual seminars on gender and development and build networks among local and global communities in both developed and developing countries. In addition, we discussed how to set up a virtual seminar, costs, moderators' roles, building knowledge resources, raising global awareness, and what needs to be done after the completion of a virtual seminar.

Ms. Dorothy Okello presented the formation of the WOUGNET (, an NGO that uses ICTs for economic and social development among women in Uganda. WOUGNET has the only website and mailing lists that provide information about and for women's organisations in Uganda. She outlined WOUGNET activities and challenges with emphasis on information access for rural communities, and lessons learned on "how to conduct a virtual conference" based on their experience of hosting the June 2002 WOUGNET online conference: "Information Access for Rural Women."

Dr. Leslie Regan Shade discussed "Towards an Evaluative Framework for Community Learning Networks," a recent initiative of the Information Policy Research Program which is designed to evaluate the Community Learning Program across Canada. This program is funded by the Social Science Humanities and Research Council of Canada and is under a Research Development Grant of the Initiative on the New Economy (INE). Furthermore, she talked about the initial conceptual framework they are developing that deals primarily with gender evaluation. Lessons from this program can be useful for developing countries.

Ms. Tatjana Sikoska shareed results, analysis, and lessons learned from INSTRAW's July -September 2002 Virtual Seminar Series on Gender & ICTs in terms of access, participation, level of discussions, and some of the substantive aspects addressed at the seminars. Several of these aspects include conceptualization of gender and ICTs, regulation and policies, enabling/disabling environments, and use of ICTs for women's empowerment.

Bios of Presenters

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Special Features

Presentation Materials 11/05/02