UN agency launches website on news, gender issues for African women

UN agency launches website on news, gender issues for African women

African women's voices will now be heard online, thanks to the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), which announced today the launch of a website with information on gender issues in the Horn of Africa.

The Horn of Africa Region Women's Knowledge Network, or Hawknet, will enable women to discuss emerging national issues, network and participate in global debates and have a voice on national policies regarding information and communication technologies (ICTs), UNIFEM said.

"ICTs are the train tracks upon which globalization is moving, often at breakneck speed," said UNIFEM Executive Director Noeleen Heyzer. "Hawknet is an example of how we can create an environment in which ICTs support equality and connections between countries, ethnic groups, and men and women."

While the African continent contains 13 per cent of the total world population, Africans comprise a mere 1 per cent of Internet users globally, according to UNIFEM. Limited technological access, know-how and literacy - especially among African women - prevent many people from taking full advantage of the opportunities offered by ICTs.

Hawknet is attempting to change that, by offering women in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Sudan, and Somalia the opportunity to participate in various chat rooms, read the latest news on gender and business issues and take advantage of Internet networks and resources. The new website was launched with the support of the World Bank and is hosted by the African Centre for Women, Information & Communications Technology (ACWICT). It can be accessed at www.acwict.or.ke.