GRACE, Gender Research in Africa into ICTs for Empowerment, is a nonprofit research coalition of 14 independent research sites in 12 countries throughout Africa and the Middle East that focus on researching the capacity for ICTs to enable women’s empowerment. Their primary foci seems to be using “information politics” to:
- Raise awareness about the various disconnects between women and ICTs
- Build the capacity of women concerning ICT usage
- Increase the participation of women in ICT fields
The GRACE coalitions raise awareness about using technology as a platform for publicizing violence against women in public spaces, as the Blank Noise campaign does.
GRACE also acts as a network hub in that they facilitate the flow of information among the various research sites and also build the capacity of the group through training sessions.
In terms of larger impact, it is not apparent that GRACE itself uses “leverage politics” or “accountability politics” to call upon more powerful actors to affect change. However, GRACE is funded by organizations that do, namely the Association for Progressive Communication (APC), and the International Development Research Center (IDRC). GRACE network members are also funded by and work with organizations that utilize “leverage” and “accountability” politics, for example, the Gender and Media Progress Study Southern Africa which was published by Gender Links; and Liberia Women Democracy Radio which is “sponsored by the United Nations Democracy Fund, facilitated by UN Women, and implemented by the Liberia Women Media Action Committee and the Young Women’s Christian Association.”
As such, I would say that GRACE largely accomplishes its goals, as its network members appear to be making strides in the women’s empowerment and ICT arena. Salome Awuor Omamo serves as an example, and explains the various ways in which her GRACE training has empowered her, as well as enabled her to empower others.