Elevating women’s voices from grassroots to world stage
World Pulse worldpulse.com
What is the innovation and how does it address a pressing problem?
World Pulse uses digital media to connect women to share their stories, exchange ideas, and strengthen their voice on the issues that affect their lives.
Empowering women continues to be an uphill struggle in many communities globally. World Pulse recognizes that this not because of a lack of strong women voices, but because women at the grassroots are too often isolated and thus invisible. Women leaders often lack access to information and opportunities that could support their work. Although they may be powerful advocates in their communities with strong plans and visions, their voices are simply not being heard.
World Pulse amplifies women’s voices with three primary approaches:
- Community: World Pulse’s online community is a safe, supportive space where every woman can log on and connect. Many women access World Pulse via mobile phones or Internet cafes.
- Magnifying Voices: World Pulse’s editorial desk crowdsources and channels the most powerful voices and solutions appearing on their platform to major media outlets and influential forums.
- Training: World Pulse holds annual online trainings in citizen journalism and digital empowerment. Thirty women from around the world are trained for 6 months to become digitally-savvy, vocal leaders for their communities, and to train others. These women become the bridge for connecting women with low literacy or digital skills to the World Pulse network.
What existing practices inspired the innovation and how does it represent something new?
World Pulse is at the nexus of powerful modern global trends. First, the role of women and girls in solving global problems is at the forefront of conversations from small villages to international conferences. Second, the role of digital tools in creating and strengthening networks of individuals has exploded over the past decade. Finally, digital data that is generated through social networking, often used for advertising purposes, can instead be used to give communities a voice and advance social change.
World Pulse has effectively used the power of social networking to support women in their efforts to be heard, giving women all over the world a voice in their own development pathways. This happens directly as women share ideas and resources within the World Pulse community. It also happens indirectly as World Pulse disseminates the stories women contribute to inform media and policy discussions. In some cases, this happens when stories submitted by women are pushed directly to the media. In other cases, World Pulse uses text mining and crowdsourcing techniques to understand and advocate around trends in global issues important to women.
Please describe the social impact to date, as well as potential impact in the future.
WorldPulse connects 50,000 women in 190 countries. With support from the online community, women have run for office, secured land rights, and started initiatives such as mobile health clinics and women-only internet cafes. According to a survey, 60% of the women using World Pulse were inspired to take action on an issue in their family, community or region, 41% collaborated on a project through WorldPulse.com, and 25% received funding or an award based on an opportunity they learned about on World Pulse.
In addition, World Pulse’s editorial team has placed women-generated stories in major media outlets, including CNN, Reuters, and the BBC.
Advocacy campaigns organized through World Pulse have reached institutions such as the UN, the World Bank, and the White House.
For example, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has poor communications infrastructure and is in the midst of protracted conflict, World Pulse trained several local citizen journalists, who in turn trained 300 citizen journalists. These women have collected the world’s largest online repository of women’s testimonies. With access to 12 computers (“three butts per seat”), the women started a petition to get a White House special envoy, and received 100,000 signatures globally. The women were invited to the White House to present their case, which is now under serious consideration. Currently, the women are collaborating on a national development agenda detailing their vision of a new Congo.