Advocacy both online and offline is one of the important approaches that we have been embracing as Women at Web Tanzania. The online is usually in a multimedia approach taking into account the text, images, graphics and videos whereas the offline approach involves deliberate measures and initiatives to engage with the stakeholders that support the cause and movement for a better and safe space online as well as advocating against Online Gender Based Violence.
Since the launching of the project as a pilot in 2018 and then as a three year project lasting from 2019 to 2021, we have been able to hold one annual stakeholders workshop each year for 2018, 2019 and the on in 2020 through the regional advocacy campaign. Media Convergency has taken initiative to establish a series of articles since the birth of the project to the current status. The following are the three main sessions that involved partnerships from the ecosystem.
The first Stakeholders meeting with theme “Introducing Women at Web Tanzania”
Women at Web Tanzania organized a stakeholders meeting on the 13th of August 2018, in Dar es Salaam with the aim of introducing and launching the project. The breakfast engagement meeting took place at Coral Beach Hotel and brought together a diverse section of stakeholders ranging from media, development partners, social media influencers, women and gender-based organizations and the government. Around 30 participants representing important sections of the public, relevant to the project were in attendance. Among the participants of the meeting, were representative from the Embassy of Ireland, Tanzania Gender Networking Programme (TGNP), Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), Deputy Head of the Cybercrime Unit, TWAWEZA Tanzania, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Tanzania Media Foundation (TMF), Sahara Ventures to mention but a few.
The presentation and discussion was centred around introduction of the project, why, when and how it started with emphasis of an interest in getting partnerships from interested stakeholders. The presentation also provided summaries to the survey findings. The ultimate discussion was very positive towards the project with prospective new partners. We had succeeded in introducing the Women at Web project Tanzania with it’s overall goal of enhancing women participation online, with a variety of potential partners.
The second Stakeholders meeting with the theme “Bridging the gender digital divide in Tanzania”
The Gender Digital Divide is unacceptable in an era where development is driven by the digital economy, thus in circumstances where women have all key attributes to enable them to be part of the online world but opt out of it because of challenges they incur, is impermissible. Presented here as shared by DW Akademie, the drive towards the regional women at web project has been drawn from the fact that, Digital media development in East Africa has opened up unprecedented opportunities for women. Yet, digital challenges such as cyber violence against women have proven to be a stumbling block in enhancing digital participation for women and girls. Many of them shy away from participating in controversial online discourses and end up practicing self- censorship.
This meeting brought together various stakeholders from different sectors like the The Human Development Innovation Fund Tanzania(HDIF), Nukta Tanzania, Freedom House, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) Tanzania, Twaweza, Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT)Tanzania, Tanzania Media Foundation (New TMF), The Tanzania Data Lab (Dlab), The Launch Pad Tanzania, Jamii Forums, Ryan Initiative, European Union (EU) Tanzania, Tanzania Police Force (Tanpol) & the Embassy of Sweden in Tanzania to discuss and share the findings from a focus group discussion held in August 2019 where a group of women and men brainstormed on the existing challenges and opportunities for women in the digital world and came up with a plan of action for advocacy on safe online spaces in Tanzania. The aim of the meeting is to be able to identify possible synergies and areas of collaboration. These efforts were intended to contribute to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number five (5) on Gender Equality and Women Advancement an agenda that is still carried by the project.
The regional Advocacy campaign with theme “Promoting Safe Spaces Online”
The third was an advocacy event that incorporated both online and offline approaches of implementations in a seven (7) days regional advocacy campaign conjoining four countries of Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda. It was the first time that we implemented a regional campaign as the Women at Web project. The overall objective of WomenAtWeb regional advocacy campaign was to call on stakeholders and the entire ecosystem to unite efforts in creating, applying and promoting safe online spaces for women and collectively advocate on ending online gender-based violence and harassment in the region.
The campaign’s emphasis was stressed on involving partners outside the already existing network. The determination of involving as many partners as possible was fueled by the acknowledgement that the Women At Web overarching theme of addressing online gender-based violence was a calling for a good number of partners and players in the region (Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya & Rwanda). Each region worked at partnering with other entities as well as segmenting the already existing regional network with effective participation and joint implementation. Digital and Mainstream Media. At implementation level, Women at Web Tanzania was able to partner with 8 partners with UN Women Tanzania and Plan International Global and Tanzania as co-implementers with support from the Embassy of Sweden, DOT Tanzania, Ndoto Hub, Msichana Initiative, Global Peace Foundation, WiLDAF Tanzania, Her Initiative and Dexterous Tanzania. A report of the outcomes of this campaign was released and you can get it through “Say ‘No’ to Online Gender-Based Violence”.
Apart from stakeholders meet-ups and engagements, we also provide capacity building in Digital Skills to University students, Journalists, Women in Politics, Women Professionals, Women Entrepreneurs, Online Content Generators as well as to the youth. We also do Focus group discussions and provide peer to peer support systems.