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Chat /cyber dialoguing

Last edited: January 03, 2012

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Many social web platforms, web-based e-mail programmes and campaign websites include chat facilities for registered users. Such cyber dialogue can create a sense of community among users.

Case Study: Cyber Dialogues by Gender Links

To raise awareness and promote behaviour-change in South Africa as part of the global Sixteen Days of Activism on Gender Violence (25 November – 10 December), Gender Links initiated the Cyber Dialogues project in 2004.

The project aimed to:

-      empower citizens, especially women, in the use of new technologies

-      encourage citizens to air their views and speak out against violence and abuse

-      make "e-governance" work for gender justice

-      link people across provinces and across borders in a common cause.

The cyber dialogues combined facilitated, interactive dialogues on the ground with a link to a central hub at the national level where experts and decision-makers were available at a fixed time each day to answer questions in a live "chat room". The interactive process featured a bulletin board to which individuals could post messages and a daily exchange of information between countries in Southern Africa, as well as a video link-up between all those who participated on the last day of the campaign. In addition, Gender Links produced a special bulletin of its Gender and Media (GEM) Opinion and Commentary Service featuring first-person stories by survivors of gender violence and perpetrators who have reformed their ways.

This project was carried out through a broad-based partnership process. Content, facilitation and arrangements for each day were made by a consortium of non-government organizations (NGOs) including: Gender Links, the Gender Advocacy Programme, ADAPT, NISAA Institute for Women's Development, Tshwaranang, the Inter-Faith Committee, Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, Network on Violence Against Women, Amnesty International, Youth Development Network, Men's Movement of South Africa, and Sexual Harassment Project. Several NGOs, the GCIS Multipurpose Centres, and councilors facilitated discussions and input at the community level. Regional links took place through the Gender and Media Southern Africa (GEMSA) Network.

For more information, visit the Gender Links website.