Women and Digital Inclusion

How did WODIN begin?

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As of this month, Women and Digital Inclusion (WODIN) has been registered as a voluntary community interest organisation for three whole years. Isn’t that incredible? We’ve achieved so much in the past three years, bringing digital education to our community, as well as food and other resources. We hope we’ve been able to lift up the Black migrant women in our communities in Liverpool and Merseyside, and we plan to continue doing so until we are all thriving.

On the occasion of this major anniversary, we wanted to take a look back and tell you all how WODIN began…

Our origin story

WODIN didn’t spring up out of nowhere in December of 2020. There was a long road to registering under that name.

The seed of WODIN was planted in late 2015, when our founder Julie Syl Kalungi was part of a group of Black migrant women from across the UK who came together in an effort to share information and seek community. The group didn’t start with the intention of discussing the digital world, but it quickly became apparent that pretty much all of the women faced digital-related challenges. They struggled navigating the internet and understanding gadgets, and that was preventing them from applying to jobs, helping their kids with homework, and so many other essential parts of life in the UK.

Quickly, the group — who had named themselves “We Nation” — realised that Julie had a level of digital savvy that could be of use to all of them. She became their go-to digital guru; a source of information as everyone helped each other learn how to navigate the digital space and use social media.

How WODIN was born out of crisis

Of course, everything changed in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdowns were imposed across the UK and the world.

COVID only amplified the inequalities that already existed in our society. Those of us who were socially isolated became more so. Economic disparities became increasingly dire. These factors applied to so many Black migrant women, who were also more likely to be frontline workers and therefore more likely to get sick.

It was in 2020 that we truly recognised that our community was in need of a strong, resilient safety net. We wanted to give the Black migrant women around us the tools to thrive, which starts (but doesn’t end) with digital tools that would ease their social isolation and provide them more avenues through which to advance their careers and become self-sufficient.

In December 2020, We Nation officially registered under a new name: Women and Digital Inclusion.

What’s to come for WODIN?

And now, here we are. We have so many hopes for the future. One of them is to advance from our status as a registered “voluntary community interest organisation” to a “charitable interest organisation”, aka officially becoming a registered charity. That status change will provide us more pathways to helping our community.

WODIN’s journey is a testament to the power of community, determination, and stepping up when you recognise a crucial need in those around you. As WODIN continues to grow and adapt to the changing landscape, we hope we can always remain a beacon of hope for those who have, for too long, been left on the sidelines.

Watch Julie tell WODIN’s origin story in her own words

If you want to hear Julie tell WODIN’s story herself, watch this video she recorded reflect on our organisation’s origins:

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