Monthly Archives

March 2021

Voici comment les gouvernements répliquent les pratiques de violations des droits numériques et d’arrêts d’Internet en Afrique francophone.

By | Advocacy, Digital Rights, ICT Policy

Le contexte des droits numériques s’améliore progressivement, visiblement dans certains pays d’Afrique francophone. Si certains pays comme le Gabon, le Congo ou la République centrafricaine (RCA) en Afrique centrale ne sont pas régulièrement sous les feux de la rampe, d’autres comme le Cameroun, le Tchad et la République démocratique du Congo (RDC) sont fréquemment dans l’actualité liée soit au numérique violations des droits en général ou à la privation des libertés de leurs citoyens sur Internet. Ces derniers mois, cependant, ces pays ont montré de légères améliorations dans le classement des pays où les violations des droits numériques sont courantes dans la région. Mais, en observant les diverses violations des droits numériques ces dernières années, des cas de coupures d’Internet, d’arrestations de journalistes ou d’activistes en ligne ont inspiré d’autres pays de la région à adopter de nouvelles approches pour violer les droits humains en ligne. En particulier la RDC, le Tchad, le Togo, le Bénin entre autres.

Depuis 2017, le Cameroun est classé par les organisations de défense des droits numériques comme le pays avec la plus longue coupure d’Internet en Afrique. Les coupures d’Internet au Cameroun en 2017 ont incité plusieurs gouvernements qui n’avaient pas encore subi de violations des droits numériques dans un contexte de crise politique grave à adopter des mesures similaires. En effet en 2017, quelques mois après l’éclatement de la crise anglophone (deux régions anglophones du pays) en 2016 qui a conduit à des mouvements séparatistes et identitaires, le gouvernement du Cameroun a ordonné la fermeture d’internet dans ces deux régions du pays; le Nord-Ouest et le Sud-Ouest. Cette action gouvernementale avait violé les droits numériques de plusieurs Camerounais vivant dans ces deux régions, en isolant les communications et Internet avec les Camerounais vivant en dehors de ces régions et ceux des étrangers. Ces actions de privation des droits Internet ont conduit à plusieurs conséquences socio-économiques. Depuis, les actions des ONG, organisations de défense des droits numériques, ont été de plaider et de présenter les conséquences socio-économiques et sociopolitiques des coupures d’Internet tant pour le gouvernement que pour les populations comme arguments contre les coupures. Cependant, cela n’a pas découragé les autres pays de la région. Ils ont été inspirés et savent qu’ils peuvent faire taire la dissidence, les protestations des citoyens ou d’autres formes de soulèvement en perturbant Internet.

En 2018 en RDC, le gouvernement a adopté des mesures de privation d’internet similaires à celles du Cameroun en 2017 pour étouffer les manifestations et les revendications des opposants au régime de l’ancien président Kabila au lendemain des élections législatives présidentielles, nationales et provinciales en République démocratique du Congo (RDC). En 2019, lorsque Fayulu a contesté l’élection du président Tshisekedi, Internet a été coupé pendant 20 jours dans le pays. Comme ce qui s’est passé au Cameroun, la décision de fermer Internet a été prise par les ministères en charge des secteurs des TIC. Les opérateurs de téléphonie se sont conformés aux directives gouvernementales de privation d’Internet afin d’éviter dans certains cas le retrait de leurs licences ou d’autres mesures qui pourraient avoir un impact négatif sur leur activité.

À la veille de l’élection présidentielle de 2018 au Cameroun, il y avait des rumeurs de coupure d’Internet. Les actions des organisations de défense des droits de l’homme à travers le plaidoyer avaient poussé le gouvernement à exclure la possibilité de coupures d’Internet pendant les élections. L’annonce d’une coupure Internet s’inscrivait dans le même contexte que celui de 2018 en RDC. Malgré les assurances du gouvernement, des interruptions Internet ont été enregistrées sur certaines plateformes telles que Facebook le jour des élections. Le Cameroun a frôlé la deuxième coupure d’Internet au vu des tensions en cette période pré-électorale.

Au Tchad, depuis 2016, le gouvernement a régulièrement perturbé et ordonné la fermeture des plateformes de médias sociaux et des services SMS. Une privation de libertés sur Internet, notamment Facebook et Twitter, qui reste d’actualité dans le pays. L’objectif de l’action du gouvernement est d’étouffer la voix des Tchadiens sur les plateformes web. Cette technique a inspiré la RDC en 2018 et d’autres pays du continent à restreindre des revendications politiques similaires, comme au Cameroun en 2017. Le Tchad a continué à subir des perturbations des plateformes de médias sociaux jusqu’en 2020, malgré l’annonce par le président de la restauration de la connexion internet et les plateformes de médias sociaux au début de 2020 dans un communiqué de presse.
Le 9 Mars, 2020 République démocratique du Congo,Premier ministre Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba et le ministre des Postes,Télécommunications,nouvelles informations et technologies communication, Augustin Kibasa Maliba signé décret no 20/005 sur « certifications appareils mobiles». Le décret mentionne que tout utilisateur d’un téléphone mobile devra s’acquitter, via son opérateur téléphonique, d’une taxe de 1 USD pour les appareils mobiles 2G ou de 7 USD pour les appareils mobiles 3G, 4G ou plus, pour leur certification par l’Agence de régulation des télécommunications par l’inscription dans le registre central de la base de données IMEI ».

En octobre 2020 au Cameroun, une décision conjointe du ministère des Postes et Télécommunications et du ministère des Finances annonçait le paiement de taxes sur les téléphones et tablettes Android à hauteur de 33% d’une manière similaire à celle de la RDC. La décision sur les impôts au Cameroun a été suspendue par une note de la présidence après de vives disputes sur cette fiscalité. Aussi, dans le contexte de la crise du coronavirus, le gouvernement camerounais a annoncé le paiement d’une taxe de 19,25% sur toutes les publicités au Cameroun sur la plateforme Facebook et autres plateformes internet depuis le 1er octobre 2020. Cette décision dans le contexte de la crise a été interprétée au Cameroun comme une autre violation des droits numériques, car il n’a été soumis à aucun processus d’engagement des parties prenantes. Le Cameroun a été inspiré par l’introduction de ces taxes en raison de stratégies similaires du Bénin en 2019 sur les services over-the-top (OTT). Cependant,sa décision de payer des taxes sur les OTT au Bénin a été retirée sous la pression des organisations internationales et locales.

Entre 2017 et 2020, plusieurs pays africains francophones se sont inspirés les uns des autres dans les pratiques de violations numériques et de privation de libertés sur internet. Lorsque les violations orchestrées par les gouvernements ne sont pas signalées, ou dans le contexte où les membres des sociétés civiles locales manquent de coordination et de stratégie de plaidoyer, les droits numériques sont régulièrement violés ou Internet est coupé comme d’autres. Chaque violation par les des droits numériques des gouvernements ou des opérateurs de téléphonie doit donc être mieux examinée afin de limiter les chances de réplication dans d’autres pays du continent africain en général et dans les pays d’Afrique francophone en particulier.

 

Par Rigobert Kenmogne | Responsable de Programme | Afrique Francophone

Demystifying Digital Exclusion

By | Advocacy, Digital Rights, DRIF, DRIMF

IGI Global defines digital exclusion as the lack of access to, and use of, ICT resources or just the lack of technology resources and access thereof.

Put simply, digital exclusion is the inability of individuals and groups to access and use information and communication technologies, or the incapability to use the internet to do things that benefit individuals or organizations. This inability to access information can be termed as a disability.

Information Communication Technologies have contributed a lot to change our everyday life. From letters to e-mails, market shopping to on-line shopping, classroom learning to e-learning, etc. Yet, a significant proportion of the population is still digitally excluded.

These populations, excluded digitally, are considered socially disadvantaged and are therefore locked out of self-service channels. This matters as those who are excluded digitally are also far more likely to be disadvantaged according to many other social and economic measures. The digital divide exacerbates inequality.

Impacts

Effects of the digital divide are immensely felt in the following areas: Education, job opportunities, communication, politics, consumer satisfaction, health Information, community Involvement, government, and emergency information

Causes of digital exclusion

Although access or lack of it is believed to be the major cause of the exclusion, there are other contributory factors.

Choose.co.uk reports that the four main factors contributing to digital exclusions include; Access: both physical and financial, Motivation: including understanding or appreciation of the benefits, Skills: including whether people have any available means of learning ICT skills and Confidence: including fears of fraud and online security.

Impacts

The effects of the digital divide are felt in various areas of life. These include education, job opportunities, communication, politics, consumer satisfaction, health Information, community involvement, government, and emergency information.

As Stanley Chege, GCIO at Jubilee Insurance observes, ‘digital gaps’ or differences in the ability to access data and digital technologies are widening both between and within countries.

“Internet usage ranges from as high as 87 percent of the population in high-income nations to as low as 17 percent in low-income nations. While nearly four-fifths of countries have implemented regulations on e-commerce and data protection, government responses continue to be outpaced by the speed of digitalization,” he avers adding, “Public officials need to narrow this regulatory gap, not least due to technology’s growing influence on human interaction, health, and belief systems.”

With Covid-19 came the surge in internet usage as organizations shifted to work remotely and learning had to be conducted online. But as the United Nations University reports in a blog, the transition to work, learn, and socialize online has not been easy.

“Our current experience with COVID-19 shows that the transition to these extraordinary circumstances is far from smooth. More specifically, people without access to ICTs are even more disadvantaged than before. In many cases, the lifeline provided by technologies is only available to those who can access them,” says the blog.

The exclusion, therefore, means that when so much is expected to be happening online, an equal much is not happening due to the inability to go online.

Solution

Having known the many factors contributing to the digital divide, what can be the solution to it?

Eddie Kabiru, the Principal Officer at Bond Insurance Agency notes that there cannot be a one size fit solution for the divide. He, however, opines that policies directed towards inclusion in the digital space would go a long way to overcome many of the barriers preventing the said inclusion.

“The provision of technical support to assist people with getting online is vital. Stakeholders should collect quality digital data and establish a robust baseline for a minimum digital living standard,” he averred. Adding, “Victims of digital exclusion should be co-producers of these strategies.”

Kabiru runs a digital insurance agency and has first-hand experience working with those digitally excluded.

Digital Divide Council recommends the below five ways to help curb digital exclusion.

1. Increasing internet affordability. This will ensure that those who cannot afford the cost of the internet and those locked out due to the cost of owning or accessing internet gadgets are included.

2. Empowering users. “To see the full potential of the internet and its impact on the world, we must take advantage of its capabilities. Most of the people who use the internet have a limited understanding of some of its use cases. For instance, Google helps people find information that they would not have access to. An issue that broadens the digital divide is ‘participation inequality’ where users lack the skills to use it,” reads the Top Five Digital Divide Solutions in part.

3. Internet infrastructure development like providing a public safety net to offer internet access to facilities like libraries, health, and welfare service, and improving the relevance of online content will help curb digital exclusion.

 

By Molly Wasonga, Paradigm Initiative Digital Rights and Inclusion Media Fellow 2021.

Open Letter Calling For President Edgar Lungu to Defer Signing of the Zambia Cybersecurity and Cybercrimes Bill 2021

By | Advocacy, Digital Rights, ICTs, Internet Freedom

Dear President Edgar Lungu,

Following the passing of the third reading of the Zambia Cybersecurity and Cybercrimes Bill 2021 on the floor of Parliament on 9th March 2021. Paradigm Initiative calls on you to defer the signing of the Zambia Cybersecurity and Cybercrimes Bill of 2021 as it has the potential to severely infringe upon fundamental human rights of citizens, such as the right to access information, the right to freedom of expression, right to privacy, and the right to associate and assemble online.

Paradigm Initiative (PIN) is a social enterprise that builds ICT-enabled support systems and advocates for digital rights in order to improve the livelihoods of under-served young Africans. Our digital rights advocacy program is focused on the development of public policy for internet freedom in Africa, with offices in Abuja, Nigeria (covering the Anglophone West Africa region); Yaoundé, Cameroon (Central Africa); Arusha, Tanzania (East Africa) and Lusaka, Zambia (Southern Africa). Our digital rights advocacy efforts include media campaigns, coalition building, capacity building, research, report writing, hosting the annual bi-lingual pan-African Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum, and promotion of Digital Rights and Freedom legislation.

While we note the progressive provisions and the need for a law that protects citizens against cybercrime and fosters cybersecurity, we also wish to remind the Zambian government of its constitutional, regional and international obligations to protect the civil liberties of Zambians.

Specifically, we wish to remind the government of its constitutional obligations to safeguard;

  • Freedom of Expression and Access to information under Article 20 which provides for the sharing and receiving of information without interference, whether public or private
  • Freedom of Assembly and Association under Article 21 which provides for freedom of assembly and association without hindrance
  • Privacy under Article 17 guarantees the protection of privacy of home and property and no  person shall be subjected to the search of their person, property, or the entry by others on their premises unless by the subject’s consent

We wish to also remind the government of its international obligations to safeguard and promote;

  • Freedom of Expression under Article 19(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  The   UN   Human   Rights   Committee states that “any restrictions on the operation of websites, blogs, or any other internet-based electronic or other such information dissemination systems” must comply with Article 19”.
  • Privacy under Article 17 (1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states that “no one shall be subjected  to  arbitrary  or  unlawful  interference  with  his  privacy,  family,  home  or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honor and reputation.”

Further, Zambia’s regional obligations to the following regional instruments on freedom of expression and access to information; African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, Windhoek Declaration, African Platform on Access to Information, and the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression.

The Cybersecurity and Cybercrimes Bill of 2021 in its current form is anti-freedom of expression, anti-freedom of assembly, anti-freedom of association, and anti-privacy and presents several problematic clauses that infringe on digital rights and may provide avenues for abuse and in the long run will be detrimental to the work of human rights defenders, civil society, bloggers, journalist and ordinary citizens who provide the necessary checks and balances.

For instance;

  • Section 54 prohibits the publication of false information, criminalizing “false” news or “false” content will stifle independent media, especially those with critical voices, create a climate of censorship and undermined public debate thereby weakening democracy, and limit legitimate information sharing by those who use the internet for civic work and to expand democracy. Moreover, a similar provision in the Penal Code was declared unconstitutional by the High Court in 2014.
  • Sections 9 and 11 provide excessive powers to cyber inspectors who are mandated to monitor, inspect, search and seize with a warrant, however, there are no limits as to the nature, scope, or duration of warrants.
  • Sections  6, 7, 8, 13, and 14 of the bill create two new bodies to address cybersecurity and cybercrimes, give the ‘Authority’ power to appoint “cyber inspectors, the ‘Director-General’ of the ‘Authority’ to appoint ‘cybersecurity technical experts, as well as provide vast powers for the ‘Authority’ and ‘Minister’ who are put in charge of the new bodies that have the power to control virtually all internet activity in Zambia without appropriate safeguards to oversee such actions.  
  • Section 7 of the bill establishes the National Cybersecurity Advisory and Coordinating Council constituted of part-time experts in cybersecurity and cybercrime. The provision however does not state the qualifications nor the criteria for selecting these part-time experts. This gives way for the Council to be made up of partial people who may use it as a tool for surveillance.
  • Section 29 grants law enforcement officers to verbally request service providers to intercept communications of citizens without a warrant if they have a reasonable belief that there is the possibility of cybercrime. This gives room for interception of the private communications of citizens on very vague grounds that have no relation to cybersecurity.
  • Section 65 seeks to criminalise hate speech with broad provisions that state that any statement directed at a particular group that is interpreted as hostile may amount to hate speech and interpretation of this is left to law enforcement officers.

Overall the bill grants excess powers to law enforcement officers and provides inadequate judicial oversight for surveillance activities, and this threatens the right to privacy, freedom of expression, and other digital rights.

Furthermore, we note that Cabinet approved ratification of the African Union Convention on Cybersecurity and Personal Data Protection 2014 (Malabo Convention), therefore we urge the government to consider deferring the bill until such a time when the Malabo Convention is fully ratified in Zambia as a commitment to the protocols set out in the Convention to protect critical ICT infrastructure, personal data and to encourage the free flow of information and contribute to a developed and credible digital space in Africa. In addition, to consider aligning the bill to global best practice standards including but not limited to the provisions of the Budapest Convention on Cybercrimes of 2001.

While we commend the efforts made to foster stakeholder consultation, we, however, wish to register our displeasure at the ‘last-minute’ manner in which stakeholders were engaged and informed of internal legislative review meetings and the rushed manner in which the bill was read on the floor of Parliament through a motion to suspend Standing Order 100 of the National Assembly of Zambia’s Standing Orders 2016. These measures did not give the public and Members of Parliament ample time to propose objections or amendments to the pieces of legislation.

In closing, we strongly urge you-  President Lungu, to withhold signing the Cybersecurity and Cybercrimes Bill of 2021 until after the August 2021 general elections to allow for more consultations with stakeholders and subsequent amendment of the worrisome clauses.

For more information about contact: media[at]paradigmhq[.]org

 

Owosekun Olatubosun: Knowing ICT has connected me to a lot of opportunities.

By | AbaLIFE, AjegunleLIFE, Echoes From Life, ICTs, L.I.F.E., Techtiary

Before the LIFE Program, Olatubosun was afraid of being a failure in life, he saw many limitations to his success, one of which was gaining admission to study the course of his choice in the university. This thought weighs him down a lot he said. Olatubosun wants to be a Business Manager, this desire was stirred in him while managing his mum’s poultry farm, this keeps him engaged while waiting to gain admission.

Getting to know about the LIFE program from his neighbor in 2018 was a blessing in disguise because he had always wanted to get knowledge in ICT. “The training opportunity brought a paradigm shift to my life and it brings joy to me whenever I remember the experience. I was inspired during the program that I can be successful. I have gained so much courage to take some bold steps in my life..”


The most amazing thing about the program is knowing that there are people who volunteer to uplift Nigerian youths without looking at their background, tribe, or money. Also seeing under 25’s owning successful businesses was amazing, he said.

Through the LIFE program, Olatubosun got an internship opportunity with Gina Consulting, a UK-based firm. He worked to manage the Dress For Success project – a project that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support and the development tools to help women thrive in work and life.
In 2019, Olatubosun gained admission to study Business Management at the University of Nigeria, Enugu. He is also taking fashion design training.

“Knowing ICT has been helpful; academically, I can do online research in getting resources for my assignment and my research work. Business-wise, ICT has helped me connect to the world of fashion which I plan to embark on; I now know more information about fashion as a business. I also plan on starting an online agricultural store to stimulate the sale of agro produce in Nigeria.

Call for Applications: Research Assistants

By | Advocacy, Digital Rights, ICTs

Paradigm Initiative and Olumide Babalola LP are looking for three (3) Research Assistants to support a 3-month project that will undertake a critical evaluation of issues surrounding the establishment, independence, impartiality, and efficiency of Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) in the last two decades of their existence in Africa.

Project Description

The first data protection legislation in Africa was enacted by Cape Verde in 2001 and as of July 2020, about thirty-three (33) other African countries had either passed laws or issued regulations on the subject. This number represents over 60% of the 55 countries on the continent and such progression was meant to, expectedly, boost regulatory activities and more visible enforcement of data protection rights by the gatekeepers. There exists no comprehensive report on the nature, modus operandi, and efficiency of DPAs in Africa. The knowledge gap in this area is palpable and whether by commission or omission, African DPAs’ activities and role-playing have remained in the background. The research project aims to focus on African DPAs’ situation report since the pioneering Cape Verdean Act in 2001 and the proposed case study research method will involve the assertive collection of statistics and verifiable data on the role-playing of the DPAs with a juxtaposition of their legislative and/or socio-political limitations over the years.

Qualifications

To support this research project, we are calling for applications from qualified enthusiasts to support research in Anglophone, Francophone, and Lusophone African countries. Researchers must be residents in the African region they wish to support research activities for and be fluent in the relevant official language(s). While research skills are absolutely essential, we are eager to work with team members who are organized, follow through on all tasks, and can coordinate work with remote teams.

Application and additional details

Qualified and interested applicants should fill out this form before March 25, 2021. Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for interviews and that the expected start date is the first week of April 2021. The role is part-time, may require up to approximately sixty (60) 2-hour days over the project period, and will be compensated at a rate of up to the equivalent of $15 per hour.

THE ADVANCING WOMEN’S RIGHTS ONLINE WORKSHOP

By | Digital Rights, ICTs

In a digital age, sexual and gender-based violence transcends our traditional understanding of it to more unconventional methods. Recognizing what these methods of violence are will help society curb it and give women and girls better access and opportunity. United Nations Declaration on Elimination of Violence against Women defines violence against women as any act of gender-based violence that results in or is likely to result in physical, sexual, psychological, or economic harm to women.

Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) is already a problem of pandemic proportion; research shows that one in three women will experience some form of violence in her lifetime and online violence stands to increase that number.
Online violence against women as defined by the Associative Press for Progressive Communications (APC) are acts of gender-based violence committed, abetted, or aggravated in part or fully by the use of information and communications technologies (ICT) such as mobile phones, the internet, social media platforms, and email.

Many do not recognize this menacing form of violence and its staggering effects and It is for this reason that on the 24th of February 2021 Paradigm Initiative in collaboration with TechHer, powered by the Web foundation organized a closed-door policy maker workshop to bring the issues forward and address the ways forward.

Paradigm Initiative and TechHer targeted Government ministries, government agencies, and civil society organizations making a difference in the spaces affecting women. We hoped to bring to their attention through our “ADVANCING WOMEN’S RIGHTS ONLINE WORKSHOP”

The workshop had a 3 part agenda; To break down and contextualize online violence and its effects, a look into the legal framework surrounding online violence as it is in Nigeria, and a peak into solutions using technology using UNSUB as a case study.

Soibomari Seddon, a first responder to Sexual gender-based violence during the COVID-19 pandemic and former programs officer at Stand to end rape brilliantly led the session on “Online Violence Against Women: A Break Down”.

There were many gems from this engaging session such as how most types of violence that can be perpetrated offline can be done just as well online. She highlighted that the first step to addressing online violence against women is to recognize that it is a legitimate and harmful manifestation of gender-based violence. Online violence presents itself in many forms including sexual harassment online, slut-shaming, cyberstalking, trolling, targeted hate speech, identity theft, doing, and threats of corrective rape.

Online violence she noted is often downplayed, ignored, and underreported. In a country like Nigeria with a broken down analog system of justice, the police hardly take offline violence seriously, so reporting online violence will most likely be an exercise in futility.
Soibomari narrated Nigerian Twitter’s recent trends of people spamming the pages of women speaking up against oppression with football commentary.

“Men threaten women with corrective rape for opening differently on gender issues. A popular Kannywood actress is often trolled and at the mercy of violent mobs such that she had to produce a teary apology video for simply showing her back. A young woman breaks up with her abusive boyfriend and in days private information that could endanger her is published online.
A young mother attends a concert and has to lock her account to be free of trolls whereas there are sympathy and understanding for a father who abandoned his wife at a hospital with a stillbirth, we all grieve differently. A group of women who strategized and mobilized the country’s most successful nationwide protests is always the subject of endless scrutiny and criticism but a proven male saboteur is still being given the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes online violence can present in more subtle ways like attacking women for shared views with men but the men often get zero vitriol. Women are always trying to get accounts that have stolen their identities suspended. Some women have already been marked as vocal and no matter what they say, are often at the receiving end of trolling.”

Many women in these cases have had to delete social media entirely, taking away their access to information and communication. For many women these situations have real-life consequences, causing them to fear for their lives and ultimately affect their jobs, interactions, and communication with society.
With most of these cases going unreported, the actions go mostly without consequences as Soibomari called, that as a community we cease perpetrators to thrive and make a statement of zero tolerance.
After laying the brutal foundation and giving context, Judith Takon then went ahead to present the policy brief she authored for Paradigm Initiative titled
“ONLINE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC”.

The outbreak of COVID19 came with global economic downturns, restrictions in movement, and government-imposed lockdowns which had profound effects on the safety of women and girls globally especially in developing countries like Nigeria. United Nations Declaration on Elimination of Violence against Women defines violence against women as any act of gender-based violence that results in or is likely to result in physical, sexual, psychological, or economic harm to women.

Even before COVID-19 existed, domestic violence was already one of the greatest human rights violations. This violence increased alarmingly during COVID-19 with its impending lockdown and restrictions. Women and girls who were previously shielded from abuse by existing structures of school and work were now trapped with their abusers at home for hours and days on end. Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is reported to have significantly increased since the lockdown began on 30 March 2020 in the three most affected areas (Lagos State, Federal Capital Territory [FCT] and Ogun State) ”

Compelled to stay at home due to the pandemic, more people have turned to technology as a substitute for physical interactions. The internet is the decisive technology of the information age and despite the vast inequality in access and usage due to economic, social, and cultural impediments, it continues to transform billions of lives daily.
The vast inequality in access and usage of digital technology is shown to be ascribable to economic, social, and especially cultural obstacles.

The policy brief cited the legislative landscape of Online violence, some of which are:
The 1999 Constitution Of The Federal Republic Of Nigeria
Criminal Code/Penal Code
Cybercrime Act 2015
Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015 (Vapp Act)
Convention On Elimination Of All Forms Of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw)

The Policy Brief went ahead to cite recommendations to make the online space more accommodating for women.

RECOMMENDATIONS
ENACTING APPROPRIATE LEGISLATION ON ONLINE VIOLENCE
GRASSROOT REORIENTATION/SENSITIZATION ON THE DANGERS OF ONLINE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
Internet Intermediaries playing their part in mitigating the risks of online violence against women. According to a report by the Broadband Commission Working Group, tech companies need to explicitly recognize cyber violence against women and girls as unlawful behavior and demonstrate increased and expedited cooperation in providing relief to victims/survivors within the capacities that companies have.
It has been established that digital inclusion and access is a right, not a privilege and that the digital world contains several benefits to women.

Read the rest on the policy brief here:https://bit.ly/3shLuVU

Finally, Khadijah Awwal, the project lead of UNSUB, an app available on AppStore told the attentive audience how she and her team created an app that connects first responders and allows people to report sexual offenses, report them anonymously and report them on behalf of someone else. They connect victims to hospitals, mental care, and law enforcement.

Khadijah showed us that with commitment and innovation we could make a world of difference.
After Which many of those in attendance contributed beautifully to the way forward. One of which was Dorothy Njamanze of the Dorothy Njamanze foundation saying that advocacy goes beyond the English language and should be translated and interpreted through grassroots mobilization for a wider reach.

Having been widely attended by about 43 different organizations in government and CSOs, Paradigm Initiative is proud to have initiated a conversation among them that will shape the future to come as we set out to host another workshop on the 19th of March, 2021.

Written By,

Khadijah El-Usman

Simon Faith: I have all it takes to rule my world.

By | AbaLIFE, Echoes From Life, ICTs, L.I.F.E.

“Confident and polished” were the words Faith used in describing herself, seeing the impact the LIFE program had had on her.

In 2019, Faith had just graduated from secondary school, she really wanted to get the right job that would keep her engaged but she had no skill that could place her on the path.
Faith knew about the LIFE program from her sister, whose life was proof of the transformative power of the program. With this, she was convinced that the knowledge of ICT is the right tool for her journey of being employable.

“Getting into the LIFE program was the easiest part, staying focused and committed are the attitudes required if anyone wants to get the best of the 10 weeks program. Also, coming from Ajegunle where most people have to do some sort of manual labour to survive, I was happy to know that I have a shot at living a life where my intellectual strength would be needed”, said Faith.


After the program, she had a stint with Gina Consulting, where she was placed on the “Dress For Success Program” in order to improve her skills for the workplace. Presently, Faith works as a receptionist in one of the reputable Hotels in Lagos where she uses ICT skills from the training to carry out her daily tasks. She also has a dream of becoming a fashion stylist.

“I am proud to say that I am a much more confident young lady with a positive outlook for the future. Having being able to overcome the challenge of Digital Illiteracy, I have all it takes to rule my world” – Faith Simon

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