My networking at the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society

Now that i told you about the meetings, speeches and sessions [1] [2] I attended at the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society, I would like to tell you about the networking I did with some of the many interesting women present at the forum.

Widad El Hanafi (Morocco), Abeer Al-Mukhaini & Salwa Al-Jabri (Oman)
These were my colleagues from the Middle East and North Africa, representing Women in Technology (WIT) at the booth of Microsoft. Widad explained that WIT is a network of partner organizations that operate in nine countries (Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Yemen) to empower women and expand their participation in the workforce and the civil society. Both the partner organizations and the women they serve are provided with training and capacity building in business planning for sustainabilty, professional development (communication skills, conflict resolution, how to write a CV,...) and information technology. Since its launch in 2005, WIT has trained over 4.500 women and built the capacity of more than 50 local women’s organizations in the Middle East.

Māra Jākobsone (Latvia)
Māra Jākobsone is a member of telecentre-europe and represented the Latvian Information and Communication Technology Association (LIKTA). LIKTA is the project initiator and coordinator of the Latvia@World program that raises the e-skills level and competitiveness of the Latvian SMEs and citizens. LIKTA coordinates a network of 23 training centres across Latvia and to date has already trained a total of 22.400 people.

Emma Bluck (France - UK)
She represented the Networking Academy of Cisco Systems, Inc. This academy teaches ICT skills tailored to fill the growing demand for network technicians in virtually every industry. Academies are located in high schools, colleges, universities and community-based organizations in more than 10.000 locations in 160 countries. Each year, approximately 500.000 students from virtually every socioeconomic background are empowered by this program.

Lynne Franks (UK)
She is the writer of the best-selling book "The feminine way to create business" and founder of SEED, an in-depth learning programme to teach entrepreneurial women how to start and sustain a business using what Lynne Franks calls "the feminine principles of community, connection and collaboration".
SEED targets 35-55 year old women wishing to simplify their lives in a way that combines both personal and professional aspirations. According to Lynne, one of the most important ingredients of the project is its ability to bring women together, supported by a social networking site. The site is targeted to women that are thinking of starting their own enterprise, already have a business or wish to create social change in your community, and watn to come and share stories, ideas and experiences. Just like the social networking site of telecentre-europe, SEED's networking site is powered by ning, a powerful service that both Lynne and I identified as a 'silent revolution'.

Vera Cordeiro (Brazil)
I already told you how enchanted I was by Vera Cordeiro from Saúde Criança Renascer, after I saw her as a panel speaker of the session "Assessing the impact of social entrepreneurship" I already blogged about [1]. She showed up among the audience of our session of "Empowering women through IT", so I had a chance to talk to her after our session was finished.

She was very curious to know more about the organization structure of Fundación Esplai, because of the scale of our projects. I told her L'Esplai is the trademark of a big project that has the mission of educating children and young people during their leisuretime, and therefore promotes and strengthens the development of associations, with a mission of transforming society and aiming for social inclusion. Under the umbrellaname of L'Esplai and under the leadership of the Catalan Foundation of L'Esplai, different entities perform their role in the Esplai project: the Catalan Association of Summercamps, the Esplai Services, the Research & support centre, the Catalan Federation of L'Esplai and finally, Fundación Esplai that performs his tasks at a national level, while the other entities are operating on the regional level of Catalonia. The mission of all these entities is to deliver services and integrated education programs for schools, to coordinate the infrastructure and programming of environmental education programs, to provide training courses and management services to the third sector, and to implement digital inclusion programs. It also includes the activities of the Catalan Federation of L'Esplai, that contains 110 Esplai centres, the building where the educational leisure time activities take place.

When I finished this rather complicated explanation, I gave her an example of the guide Fundación Esplai uses for training women, in the hope it would be useful for the capacity building of the women she helps out through her project. I felt happy she was grateful for this, and I am sure somebody like Vera Cordeiro will let it translate to Brazilean as soon as she arrives, so she can implement it directly into her project!

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Comment by Christine Prefontaine on October 30, 2008 at 18:02
What a wonderful post. Thanks so much for sharing!

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