Women At Web Tanzania has officially launched its Safe Online Space Mentorship Program this year. In the year 2021, we had a total of 32 young women, that became ambassadors of promoting safe spaces and for the year 2022 we have increased our number to a total of 20 participants, 8 being male and 12 females. Advocacy and capacity building for Safe Online Space Diplomats is one of the key areas that the Women at Web Project targets and implement in its activities. The selected Safe Online Space Diplomats varied from entrepreneurs to social media influencers to university students. Having a diverse community enhances creativity and understanding the perception of each individual based on their experiences in the digital space.
On addressing how one can brand themselves online and consume the right content, Hon. Neema Lugangira had this to say, “We have a number of influencers who are currently focusing on fast-money agendas; hence a group of youth is taking part in being social media influencers creating content that are less value driven and less educative.”
She has insisted on how imperative it is for youth today to be well-versed in the digital space, understand their digital rights, and be able to access digital opportunities while staying disciplined, committed, and consistent with the digital skills that they offer.
The approach of the Program
Focus Group Discussions, where trainees will have the opportunity to learn about the Women at Web Project as well as share their expectations for the mentorship program and why it was important for them to apply in the first place to be part of Safe Online Diplomats.
Digital Skills Training, training will equip Safe Online Diplomats (SOS Diplomats) with the knowledge about Digital Skills, basic laws, and regulations affecting cyberspace. the knowledge of dealing with and overcoming online gender-based violence and also sharing their journey through storytelling.
School visits, one of the activities that SOS Diplomats will be implementing this year, is hosting sessions with students and speaking to them about digital literacy, digital rights, and what are the opportunities that can enhance their career growth.
Being part of impactful conversations online, hosted by young vibrant women who in the previous years have been part of the mentorship program and are now excelling in the digital space, showcasing their skills and promoting digital awareness to fellow youth
Create a strong network of people that can protect one another online as well as share knowledge about the digital space and be part of fostering conversation on the gender digital divide and breaking the bias that exists.
Safe Online Diplomats to create content in groups once a week that centers on advocating against Online Gender-Based Violence and Safe Spaces.
During the introductory session and understanding the mentorship program one of the highlighted areas is how SOS Diplomats can be part in taking deliberate measures and initiatives to engage that support the cause and movement for a better and safe space online as well as advocating against Online Gender-Based Violence. Digital challenges addressed,
- Lack of Digital Skills training
- Gender Stigma
- Lack of understanding of what type of content to create
- Despite individuals receiving training on how to efficiently use social media, there is still a challenge in how people share their knowledge online with the digital audience.
- Providing Digital Skills training not only to women but also to men
- Rather than focusing on what gender is better than the other, having a clear understanding of what equal rights mean will help in providing equal access to online opportunities
- Engaging decision makers to be part of digital skills training will help in fostering conversation, having informed decisions and addressing laws that govern the space, and reforming policies especially those that center on data protection.
- A digital citizen needs to learn and understand the behaviors of a different digital platform, what type of content to create, and analyze it before posting.
Enhancing digital inclusiveness strengthens solidarity especially when the trainees are fully equipped with digital skills, they are able to overcome harassment and abuse online. Missing out on engaging in the online space not only deprives, the youth of the freedom to express themselves but rather it also deprives them of the ability to embrace the digital opportunities available. Now more than ever we need youth that is well-equipped in the space as we gear up toward a digitized economy and the 4th industrial revolution.