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Tuesday, April 24 • 11:10 - 11:35
The ORCHID project: Open Research Champions for Women’s Empowerment in Development Contexts

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Digital inclusion can contribute to women’s empowerment via the expansion of choice and capability (Gurumurthy and Chami, 2014). More specifically, OER and OEP have the potential to increase the scale of digital inclusion’s impact on women’s empowerment by opening access to resources, communities and peer support and, through open licensing, allowing resources to be freely adapted for diverse contexts and needs (Perryman and de los Arcos, 2015). However, despite the transformative potential of ICTs, OER and OEP for marginalised women there remain substantial barriers to women’s participation in the digital world in the global south (World Wide Web Foundation, 2015). In addition, there is a paucity of female researchers in the developing world and research on women’s needs tends to be conducted on, rather than with those women.

The ORCHID (Open Research Champions for women’s empowerment In Development contexts) project is designed to help remove some of the barriers to women’s digital inclusion. Still in the planning stage, the project involves 80 female ‘Research Champions’ – aspiring researchers from the global south – receiving Masters-level distance learning research training, mentoring by experienced female academics, skills and career development, and support in conducting community-based research into marginalised women’s needs in their home countries. Partners from several global south nations, including members of the Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth (VUSSC), will support these Research Champions, in addition to collaboratively developing open courses in women’s empowerment-related research and joining the mentors and research champions in a global community of practice with peer support and advocacy functions.

The ORCHID project has not yet gained funding. However, in sharing the project plans with the OE Global community we hope to enrich those plans, build interest in ORCHID, attract potential collaborators and mentors, and explore ways of giving the project pre-funding momentum.

avatar for Leigh-Anne Perryman

Leigh-Anne Perryman

Senior Lecturer, The Open University
I'm passionate about open education, about social justice, about redressing the imbalance between the world's most and least privileged people, about teaching and learning, about openness and about women's empowerment.

Tuesday April 24, 2018 11:10 - 11:35 CEST