Women at Web implemented a session that we had named as “Peer to Peer support session”, gathering young women and men among them victims of online harassment and cyberbullying with an intent to provide a safe space to share stories, share experiences and advice on the way forward. One of the resolutions was the establishment of the Jeshi la Dada movement. This group was born out o the discussion from the participants and was to be independent with support and cooperation with Women at Web Tanzania.

The Jeshi La Dada movement currently has thirteen participants with the intent to increase the number, formally established as an independent movement with the goal to drive the agenda of promoting safe spaces for all online users. The group has been an integral part of Women at Web Tanzania and has played a significant role in delivering the Safe Spaces message. It has also been successful to positively appeal to the young age group mostly affected by online gender-based violence through direct support online as well as support through peer group sessions addressing victims affected by mental health as result of the online abuse.

Women At Web Project Leads & the Jeshi la Dada Team Showing solidarity in the course of advocating against Online Gender-Based Violence

The group currently consists of 13 participants namely, Asma Iddi Mkwata, Yvonne kigano Mussa, Nyangubu Yessy Nyamsogoro, Martha Chimilila, Salha Aziz Ng’amilo, Vivian J Joseph, Doreen P Mbalazi, Angella Richard Karashani, Jennifer Equcho Kayombo, Tatu Ahmed, Shamira Mshangama, Lydia Charles coordinated by their interim lead Viola Julius Massawe.

As an effort to add value to the group as well as implementing the project’s goal of enhancing women participation online; Women at Web Tanzania hosted a total of six meetings for the Jeshi la Dada for the year 2020 incorporating it with shared expertise from the Project Leads and the invited expertise. Among them was a legal expert Edson Mahalu on the 25th of September, 2020 and the Psycnoligist Ms Araika Mkulo on the 14th of August 2020.

Legal Challenges

Legal aspect in enhancing Women participation online is required so as to have the basic knowledge on the laws and regulations of the Cyber Crime laws that either promote, protect or narrate participation online. While there have been reasons posed by perpetrators affecting women participation online, the legal-framework is also one of the areas that discourages participation. The enactment of new laws and malpractice of existing laws and the constitution by the government of Tanzania, has directly impacted the ability of citizens to freely express themselves, voice concerns and freely access information.

The legal Expert, Edson Mahalu leading the session on the legal landscape (Cyber laws and regulations) in Tanzania

The Media Service Act of 2016 allows the government to “to prevent or put obstacles to the publication of any content that endangers national security or public safety”. Some of the provisions in Online Content Regulation] the do not only affect bloggers but also online radio stations, online streaming platforms, online forums, social media users and Internet cafes. Unfortunately, the new laws do not include data protection and privacy; with the growing domestic and international internet community ‘data protection laws’ are most urgent as they prevent the disclosure or misuse of information about private individuals. This session had also successfully involved a case study of the most recent (at that time) victim whose nude photos and videos were released.

The project lead and CEO of Media Convergency, Ms Asha D. Abinallah — sharing why the sessions are key to adding value in promoting safe spaces online

Psychosocial safety, mental wellness and safe spaces

Was also one of the components to these meet-ups that have been part of the important components to addressing online gender-based violence. Psychosocial safety is one of the most important components for a netizen. This goes well with good mental health and emotional wellbeing. In this case the expert shares insights on understanding the terms, understanding how to observe other online users especially those vulnerable and also ways in which one could be of help and support.

The Psychological Expert, Araika Mkulo giving a session on Psychosocial safety, mental wellness and safe spaces

Mental Health is made up of our emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. It can be negatively impacted by such things as living in a difficult marriage, struggling with aging parents, or poor work/life balance.

The movement is currently working on strengthening it’s the group and devising ways the could grow and strengthen their communication plan and effective ways self-coordinating themselve. The group is consequential for it has a lot of impact to the online space. It has been able to solve more than 45 cases. This includes emotional support, online patrol, reporting of offensive and abusive online accounts and victims that reach out to the JLD group for guidance and advice about them or their close relatives.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *