Equipping The Women Of Gilgit Baltistan With Digital Marketing Skills
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In the increasingly digitalized world, having an online presence has become the new normal. Having a presence on social platforms not only helps in marketing the business, but also has great potential for business expansion.
Whether someone owns a big company or a small startup, having a sound digital marketing strategy for online businesses has become more important than ever before to survive the cut-throat market competition.
Realizing the importance of digitization for small businesses, Khalida Rahim, an entrepreneur from a small town of Gulmit in Gilgit-Baltistan, created a Facebook page for her handmade jewelry business. However, her first venture into the digital world failed.
The Facebook page remained static and failed to grab the attention of shoppers because Khalida was unfamiliar with the concept of digital marketing.
I had created a social media page for my jewelry business, but I wasn’t using it regularly. I did not even know what to do with the page to get the word out or attract customers.
To help Khalida and many other Gilgit-Baltistan amateur entrepreneurs, the region’s first Digital Marketing Bootcamp was recently organized.
Since her home is in a remote area, continuing to attend the Bootcamp was a real challenge for Khalida. She and several other participants faced problems such as power outages, poor internet connectivity, and extreme weather conditions, but survived through thick and thin and graduated from the camp.
Khalida has already begun to yield the fruits from her learning.
“The bootcamp significantly enhanced my digital marketing skills,by employing the strategies that I learned during the programme, I am seeing a significant increase in the number of followers on my social media pages.”
A step towards women’s empowerment
A Karachi-based CIRCLE startup, in collaboration with the Rupani Foundation, an NGO working to create jobs for people from the underserved mountain communities of Pakistan, organized the Gilgit-Baltistan Women’s Camp.
This bootcamp was designed to adapt to the growing needs of the industry. Courses offered to participants included digital marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), content creation, and life skills such as building trust and resilience.
Who says bootcamps are boring?
This year we decided to teach Digital Marketing to women in Gilgit-Baltistan with the help of Rupani Foundation. This 10-day Bootcamp will help these women grow their businesses and be economically independent. @RFInterventions#digitalskills pic.twitter.com/x5XkZSJ8s6
— CIRCLE (@CIRCLEwomen_) March 2, 2021
The 10-day camp, which ended on March 10, 2021, included 30 students from Sost Village and Gulmit. The virtual graduation ceremony was held recently to acknowledge the successful completion of the program.
Talking about the significance of digital skills in today’s world, Sadaffe Abid, the founder of CIRCLE said:
Digital skills are a core capability in today’s world. With this vision, we ran a digital marketing Bootcamp in Gilgit-Baltistan for 30 young women to build the next generation of women leaders in tech.
“I want women in smaller cities to know that they can leverage technology from their homes and play an important role in Pakistan’s economic progress. Through these workshops, our goal is to empower women with digital skills and reinforce the fact that women can set up their businesses,” she said.
“I am happy that these women participated in the Bootcamp despite the qualms. My message to them is to always believe in themselves, stay resilient, communicate, don’t feel alone, and support each other,” Sadaffe said.
Congratulating the graduates, Jalaluddin Shah, Global Director of the Rupani Foundation, thanked CIRCLE for pioneering the project in the GB and stressed the importance of women’s participation in the workforce.
“There’s no doubt that a society cannot progress without gender equality. We need to induce employable skills [in women] so that they can meet the demands of the digital world. These graduates will not only improve their businesses but will also act as ambassadors and bring more women on board in the future,” he said.
A chance for collective studying
Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Rabab Fatima, a professor of digital marketing and advertising training camp, said that although the program only lasted 10 days, it was a two-way learning process for everyone.
“We all learned a lot from each other. Owing to the remote locations of their hometowns, these women faced frequent power and internet connectivity issues. And we had only one hour for each class in which we had to accommodate a lot,”
“Nonetheless, each participant was full of passion for their businesses as well as for learning new things and excelling in life. This was my first time in G-B and I am [thoroughly impressed with participants’ business acumen and motivation].”
Pakistan Is Full Of Potential’
During the online graduation ceremony, Wendy Gilmore, Canadian High Commissioner in Pakistan, congratulated the attendees and said she was excited to learn about a digital training camp designed specifically for GB women.
To shed light on how Pakistan’s ranking has further declined to secure the 151st position in the 2020 Global Gender Gap Index, Gilmore said that despite the challenges, there is no shortage of potential in Pakistan.
“There is potential, but people are [often deprived of] the opportunities. [More work should be done to] let girls take their rightful place in the economy and decision-making processes that impacts them as well as society,” she said, adding that the government of Canada is ready to support initiatives that empower women.
Discovering the Right platform
Speaking about her experience, Fehmida Rehman, another graduate of the program, said she enrolled in the course because she was eager to learn digital skills but never found the right platform.
“Thanks to this program, we have learned in a fun way many unique digital marketing techniques. All women should participate in this program and be financially independent,”
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