Doris Ojuederie of Blockchain African Ladies on Crypto Clothesline Podcast
A True Blockchain Evangelist
A true blockchain evangelist, Doris Ojuederie of Blockchain Ladies Africa in Nigeria, is proudly preaching at the Blockchain pulpit singing technology praises to the heavens.
She is convinced Blockchain technology and specifically cryptocurrencies, are the key to the future and that they’ll help emancipate African women from the seemingly endless cycle of birth/ work/ marriage/ work/ work/ work…
It makes us, in this country,regroup our thinking about perceived lack.
Doris mentions that over 70% of Africa’s food is produced by women working in rural communities where the education level is very low due to the expense, but also the prevailing attitude that teaching and upskilling women leads to arrogance and is therefore undesirable.
That was hard to hear, sitting in our podcasting studios on either side of our country, Australia, having settled our own daughters into school and study for the day…
Doris sees the availability of the internet to a wider and wider community in Africa, (even if it means sharing bandwidth and devices to access information collectively), as providing, little by little, everything that is now lacking for women in Africa.
Even women in the direst of circumstances such as those in rural communities who work harsh physical labouring jobs all day and come home to tend to large families, can learn virtually anything for free, and therefore start to accumulate more knowledge, leading to an un-capped potential for achievement and change.
“Personally, I believe that the blockchain technology is freedom for Africa women. Why? Because it’s actually a decentralised system. You can be your own boss. You can have the ability to create anything. You have the ability to do business anywhere in the world. You have the ability to create an idea and you have the ability to change your life.”
Are Women in Africa Able to Learn About Blockchain, and are They Able to Contribute Funds to Cryptocurrencies?
It seems there are countries where Bitcoin and its copious cousins are tolerated, and those where it is straight-out banned.
“In Egypt you can’t talk about Bitcoin or you’ll be in trouble.”
In Nigeria however, Doris claims they have one of the largest and the biggest crypto communities in Africa, making progress with education and hosting international conferences and gatherings both for the community and women in particular.
“We’re talking about a new future payments’ system and we are talking about how money is going to be transformed.”
Acceptance of crypto payments in the market place is pretty much non-existent, but there is a lot of peer-to-peer transacting.
“Everything we are doing is only peer-to-peer business: that’s our asset, Bitcoin for anything. But, within the community we have people doing peer-to-peer exchanges, tours for bitcoin and all.”
As A Woman and As an Entrepreneur, Do You Have Any Advice for Anyone Else Embarking on A Crypto Road Adventure?
Doris has seemingly unending enthusiasm for the power of technology – namely the internet teamed with Blockchain and crypto, as the Road to Freedom for all, especially however women in Africa.
“I’m teaching people how to make money, how to attain financial freedom because that was one interesting thing about being an entrepreneur. [Being] able to break out of any difficulties. You are able to break out of any limitation where you found your fault, you know, the ability within you.”
Access to the internet and a shared smartphone, access to endless information, time for education, and small crypto purchases online or peer-to-peer, seem to be the steps towards emancipation. On top of that, developing a business where you can sell to people on the other side of the world through the internet, means you can develop a source of income beyond the lifelong slog in the sun and fields.
“…and sales online because you can actually sell anything beyond your territory.”
What Are Literacy Levels Like for These Ladies In Rural Areas, and Do They Speak English?
Given that English is largely used throughout the internet, from learning about digital marketing to blockchain and beyond, it seems pretty central that women in these impoverished communities first and foremost have access to English language acquisition before any of the above steps can be taken. At least, access to someone who does speak English who can then teach them the information being researched online.
Doris counters that approximately 70% of Africans speak English very well. This is another aspect of education that is a work-in-progress for people in remote areas though she remains optimistic that also this challenge can be overcome.
“We are still trying to get them educated, especially in the rural area because in the rural area, most of the time women are farming and trading in order to be able to actually fend for themselves.”
Married Happily Ever After?
Families surviving in these rural communities also have a long-standing cultural tradition of marrying off their daughters early in an effort in part to create more financially desirable circumstances.
This presents yet another challenge for the average African woman living in a rural environment as not only do you have:
- little or no access to education
- the challenge of having to acquire a second language in order to understand online information
- no time to study as you are working long arduous hours all day and then coming home to serve your family
- have little or no access to the internet
- need to share a device like a single smartphone if you do have one in the village; have to deal with prevailing sexist attitudes from the men in your community – especially fathers and husbands, but…
- you’re married off before you know it!
“Another challenge that the female have is that most of these parents have to marry their daughters. Instead of going to school, they get their married… And because of that, they miss on the vital parts of their lives where they have to go to school and all that…”
It’s understandable, given Doris’ description of these life conditions for women, that she feels technology could be their saving grace.
Certainly, from our developed nations’ position of privilege, whinging about cooking the family dinner after a long day in the office seems a bit bloody ridiculous, though our working mother challenges are real too.
It’s hard not to feel overworked and overwhelmed at times, but one look at the bullet point list above and you realise how fortunate we are here in Australia.
As Anu Bhardwaj of Women Investing in Women, mentioned in her interview with us recently:
“Having that ability, that opportunity, I’m gonna take it as far as I can and help these other women and girls who don’t have that same position, because ultimately we’re in this together, and our sisters and our daughters and other parts of the world need us to step forward because they can’t.
“So that’s my inspiration: we’re in this together and let’s help each other out because if we don’t, no one else will.”
And So Doris, Do You Believe The Future Of Money Is Through Cryptocurrency?
When asked whether she agrees that the future of money is to be found in cryptocurrency and blockchain-related industries, Doris remains convinced that yes, it is so.
Rather than us having to transact in cash or to send each other money from bank accounts, people in Africa and all over the world are able to now start transacting peer-to-peer. As it grows and becomes more commonplace, Doris sees that being the norm.
“This is the future payments’ system whether anybody likes it or not. What anybody believes or not. This is the future. Money has evolved [through] different stages… Right now, we are in the digital age, the age of technology and [there is] this need for digital money because almost everything is going online.”
The recent BlockTech Women Conference 2019, in Lagos was organised by Blockchain African Ladies with a view to closing the Blockchain gender gap, exposing more African women to learning opportunities to utilise and profit from Blockchain technology.
The next conference will be in August 2019 in Accra, Ghana in Africa.
Find Doris on Linked In
Twitter: Blockchain African Ladies
Facebook: Blockchain African Ladies
Anu Bhardwaj of Women Investing in Women on Crypto Clothesline Podcast
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