WhatsApp Notes, Kinemaster And Canvas: Three Communication Tools To Empower Women Home-Based Workers During COVID-19

WhatsApp Notes, Kinemaster And Canvas: Three Communication Tools To Empower Women Home-Based Workers During COVID-19

14 Jul 2020

In the era of lockdowns and physical distancing, grassroot-level organisations face challenges when communicating with and staying in touch with its membership. Women home-based workers, across South Asia and the rest of the world, have been gravely impacted by the fallouts of COVID-19. And it has become imperative for organisations to stay in touch with members – to build solidarity and offer support, implement initiatives and to gather worker inputs at all stages of decision-making and strategy-building at this critical time.

Through its Comic Relief-supported project – Empowering Women Home-Based Workers – HomeNet South Asia has been able to participate in webinars that highlight the various tools and strategies being used by organisations – in different parts of the globe – at this time. These online tools, that are enabled through internet and mobile phone technology, have seen success and have proven useful while engaging with members and ensuring their participation in the organisation’s programmes and advocacy strategies. Here’s a list of three that you can use:

Whatsapp Notes

Apart from its regular text chats and calling features, Whatsapp can be used for voice meetings as home-based worker groups, who are members of WIEGO, in Africa, discovered during the COVID-19 lockdowns. A group of home-based worker leaders decided to meet virtually to share their on-ground experiences related to the spread of the pandemic. However, due to the lack of reliable and affordable internet bandwidth, using video conferencing seemed out of reach. So, the leaders decided to employ a tool that they had previously seen members of the Sierra Leone Traders Union (SLeTU) use - Whatsapp. Instead of texting each other, the group decided to have the conversation through voice notes.

To ensure a smooth process, an agenda was sent across in advance, and members responded to each agenda item through voice messages. They also asked and answered questions through voice notes. Members also took time to listen to each other’s voice notes as the meeting progressed. WIEGO – that facilitated the meeting – says that the meeting not just ran smoothly but was also a great way to promote accountability (as the meeting was recorded) and also resulted in robust and personalised interactions. It helped galvanize leaders and improved their mood. At the end of the meeting, the groups also agreed to work on a representative Charter of Demands that has since been presented to governments across Africa.

Positives

Both, Whatsapp and Viber, are free of cost.

Used widely across South Asia.

Records meetings. 

Promotes accountability.

Personal interactions.

Participation from across region, countries and the globe. 

Can accommodate over 250 participants.

Things To Consider

Needs all participants to have a smartphone.

Needs WiFi or Data connection (WIEGO re-routed funding towards this).

Needs to be moderated.

Needs more time than usual meetings (WIEGO allotted 1.5 hours for the meeting).

Kinemaster

Based out of Mumbai, India, Point of View is an organisation that aims to build the voices of women and other marginalised genders. It looks to empower women, girls and members of the LGBTQI+ community by equipping them with tools that help them tell their own stories. Members of Point of View use video-editing app, Kinemaster, to record and share their experiences. The easy-to-use mobile app (there is also a desktop version) has many features that allow users to layer their video recordings with text, music, and also basic effects. Kinemaster, Point of View says, has been especially useful in recording stories from the ground. And to also showcase the organisation’s work when approaching funders.

Positives

Free app. However, a watermark of Kinemaster will appear on the video. The Pro version is available for an annual subscription of less than $25.

The workers can become the content creators and a great tool to capture worker stories and on-ground realities especially during a distressing situation like COVID-19

Can support the organisation’s funding pitches.

Does not need too much phone memory.

Supports multi-layer videos.

Works offline. However, the initial download of the app will need data or Wi-Fi.

Things To Consider

An initial training will be required.

A smartphone is required.

Canva

Another app that’s used by the Point of View community is the photo editor tool, Canva. Available in a free and a pro version, Canva can be used to make attractive posters, social media posts, banners and other content. It also supports the creation of GIFs and also offers pre-made templates that you can work with. Canva is not just a useful tool for workers but can also be used by organisations to creative attractive content that can be used across social media platforms, in PPTs and other forums.

Positives

Free version available on mobile phones and desktop.

Templates available so content creation is easy.

Workers can use it to highlight their stories.

Organisations can use to improve overall look and feel of content it generates.

Things To Consider

While it is free, many of the features (like a wider selection in templates) are only available with the Pro version (available for USD 9.95 per month).

An initial training will be required.

Like many internet-driven tools, it may be hard to control the authenticity of content generated.

Image Credits:

Whatsapp.com

Kinemaster - Facebook

Kinemaster.net

Canva India - Facebook