One of the greatest benefits of being online is access to knowledge and learning. One of Africa’s greatest barriers to development has been that most universities and ‘experts’ have been abroad, in Europe and America, and our young women and we have not been able to access this information. 

The internet means that we can learn wherever we are in the world. We can study courses at MIT or Oxford, or hear from experts anywhere in the world – we just need a good internet connection.

We can direct young women to continue their studies and develop their knowledge online, or we can use resources like TED talks as discussion starters in group activities.  

Here are just a few ideas:

Making youth workers’ lives easy

You may find it helpful to list youth workers in your organisation. The internet is vast, and it can be overwhelming. Maybe make a list of a few resources or courses that are appropriate and accessible for the girls you work with. And remember that learning isn’t just for young people! Youth workers can also develop their knowledge online. 

Top tips: 

  • If you want to do certified courses, they sometimes ask for payment. Remember that some have specific commitments to helping people in poor countries like ours. See if they will offer the certificates for free. If they don’t, remember that you can still list on your CV that you have completed a course without a certificate. 
  • These courses can use a lot of data, but many have apps. You may be able to download the app and the course information at a time when data is free or cheaper, or using Wifi at the youth club. This could mean that you can do the course offline. 
  • Check before you recommend: like with anything, check the resources you send to young people before you do so. You don’t want to send a broken link, or to find that they cannot access it, or that it is inappropriate. 

Invite new speakers

People who are passionate about their work are often keen to share it. Be bold and ask speakers to join you through Zoom, Skype or Teams. You could invite someone from anywhere in the world! Just be careful to make sure you have a good connection, and that people turn up to watch on time – you don’t want to frustrate them and embarrass yourselves! One way to make this easier is to manage their expectations. Foreign speakers may not be aware of the problems that you and your young people have getting online, from power cuts to poor connections. They may not realise that it is necessary for some places to watch with the video off, to reduce data consumption and have a better connection – to them this might seem rude. Warn them in advance to get the best result!  

Keep young people connected

Online speakers and online tools mean that you can also keep young people in other locations involved in your youth work. Maybe it’s a great way to keep in touch with your alumni, as their studies or work take them to new locations, or invite them to share their experiences with younger girls.

Reflection Questions

  1. Have you used online learning yourself? What was your experience?
  2. Have you used online learning in your youth work? What were the successes and challenges to it being a success?
  3. What opportunities could this bring to your youth club?
  4. How do you currently keep in touch with your alumni? What benefits could you gain from keeping them engaged?

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