Featured Blogger: Sara Abd Al-Maktari

Participants of blogging workshops often feel the need to spread what they have learned to others. This ripple effect also took place in Yemen and the Rising Voices grantee project Empowerment of Women Activists in Media Techniques (EWMAT). One of the participants decided to take on a more active role in the project because of her firsthand experiences learning about new media. Originally from the city of Ta'izz, Sara Abd Al-maktari [ar] is a 21 year-old English and Computer Studies student at Sanaa University, who took part in the first workshops about blogging offered by EWMAT. Soon after, she offered her assistance to take the training to more young women.

Photo of Sara leading one of the workshops in Sanaa

The skills that she acquired from those sessions convinced her that more young women should learn more about participatory media tools. So she volunteered to lead some workshops in early October 2010 that attracted 12 young women to learn about new media. Her experiences as a trainee helped her once it came time to be on the other side as a trainer. In an interview with Rising Voices, Sara said:

When I train, I gain a lot of skills. One of them is how to deal with the trainees and how to be patient because it really is not easy. It gave me more confidence because I can't forget the information to give to the participants. There is a big difference between being a participant and being a trainer with EWAMT. When I was a participant, I was only looking for information, but when I am a trainer it is a big responsibility…I learned to be very patient.

The founder of the EWAMT, Ghaida'a Al-Absi recognizes Sara's leadership skills and has high hopes for her in the future:

Sara is one of the EWAMT project's success stories. Without EWAMT, she would not be a trainer in new media, and many other girls would not have the knowledge of new media. Sara is an asset to EWAMT, and she is a role model for other women wanting to master new media. Sara is ambitious and has the ability to gather women around her. She has a clear vision, and I am sure that one day she will be an important woman in Yemen.

It is this type of impact that can be seen in other Rising Voices projects. Learning how to open a blog and publish his or her own voice on the internet is often a very powerful realization, and he or she believes that more individuals would want to learn about these tools. Sara adds why this is so important for her country:

I think these kinds of trainings are so important, especially in Yemen because a lot of people don't know anything about blogging and we do not have many of those trainings. We need them to talk about our ideas, talents, and our culture in a simple way. We must connect with the information revolution. Social networking and blogging are a part of that revolution.

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