#AruWSIG19

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Yesterday’s Highlights and Today’s Agenda.

This was the second edition of Arusha School of Internet Governance 2nd Edition-AruwSIG.

KsGen is hosting the Localization Sprint as an annual appearance at the Obuntu Hub which is a social enterprise that seeks to empower young entrepreneurs based in Arusha, Tanzania.  Obuntu is inspired by the notion of ‘Obuntu’ i.e ‘collective progress’. The founders were eager to share what they had learnt with other young people in their local community.

The 2nd annual Localization Sprint has brought together a group of about 20 individuals to share experiences and brainstorm how to improve the localization of ‘Safe Sisters’ which is a common-sense guide to digital Safety for Women and Girls in Sub-Saharan Africa.

This booklet was written to help girls and women learn about problems that they might run into on the internet ( like leaked or stolen photos, viruses and scams), how they can make informed decisions every day to protect ourselves, and to make the internet a safe space for ourselves, families, and all women.

This booklet was made possible by the collective effort of Internews, Defend Defenders, and the 2017-2018 Safe Sister fellowship program. The mission is to make digital security less complicated and more relevant to real users and to encourage all women and girls to take online safety into their own hands. 

Participants represented the linguistic, geographic and professional diversity and user community.

Why this is important:

One of the most important decisions that any country can make about their content is to provide access to it in other languages, especially local language. In an increasingly shrinking world, where our contact with other cultures grows daily, there is also more opportunity available now than at any point in our past. The internet continues to bring us together and provides more interaction than has ever been possible.

Localization workflow:

This session brought together a group of participants and translators to discuss the challenges faced by both groups with regard to localization workflows across Localization projects and identify ways in which these workflows can be made more effective and efficient.

Contributors, participants and translator sides agreed that there is a large gap in communication between communities. As a result of this lack of communication there is efficiency loss, work is completed that is then not used (primarily on the part of the translators), translation work does not match project priorities, new translators are easily overwhelmed and thus hesitate to contribute, and review of content becomes more difficult. Due to these complications, there are a lot of lost opportunities and the full potential of our translator community remains untapped.

Today, Day 1 of AruWSIG we cover what is Internet Governance, Introduction to Tanzania ICT Landscape, Policies and the Law, Introduction to ICT, Human Rights and Democracy for the morning session. Stay Tuned for more updates throughout the day.

 

Enjoy!

Photos by Wanjiku Kang’ethe

Tackling Digital Gender Divide

Digital divide word cloud concept with abstract background

By; Wanjiku Kang’ethe

Acknowledging that greater female participation in the digital economy will lead to more solid economic growth, the declaration issued by ministers at the G20 Digital Economy Ministerial Meeting in Salta, Argentina, contains an annex with proposals to help reduce the digital gender divide.

The digital divide is a manifestation of exclusion, poverty and inequality and continues to be exacerbated due to the effects of unemployment, poorly functioning digital skilling programmes and socio-cultural norms in some economies, depriving women equal access to digital services.

Despite exponential growth in Internet and mobile usage across Africa, African women are much less likely to get online than men. This gap, reported to be as great as 45 percent in sub-Saharan Africa, could be hindering the continent’s economic growth—especially in the agricultural sector, where women make up the bulk of the workforce. Increasing the digital literacy of African women could have immediate impact on the agricultural sector, where information communication technologies (ICTs) already have played a role in increasing crop yields and boosting farm incomes. Survey respondents in the E-Learning Africa Report attributed the digital gender gap to the inaccessibility and unaffordability of technology, as well as to individual women’s lack of confidence in using it.

In the past two decades, there has been a lot of talk about the transformative power of technology in society, yet little attention has been paid to an emerging digital gap. Though Africa has recently seen rapid growth in Internet access, women are vastly underrepresented in technology. The rise of cybercafés has benefited men more than women because boys and men have more freedom of movement to get to the cafes and have more access to make and spend money at them.

There is a disturbing trend of cyber bullying experienced by young women. They also find it difficult to access technology because of cultural restrictions and their lower status in society.

Because women face barriers such as poverty, illiteracy, and discrimination when getting training and education, we are witnessing the rise of a second digital divide.

It is important to understand that technology and access to the Internet is essential to women’s empowerment across the continent and it is key to overcoming these barriers in the first place.

Gender inequality remains deeply entrenched in many African societies. Many women and girls still do not have equal opportunities despite this being enshrined in the law. Yet Information and communication technologies are important tools for advancing gender equality, women and girl’s empowerment, and a more equitable and prosperous world.

Becoming technologically skilled can play a major role in getting jobs, being competitive in the job market and enable these women to pull themselves out of poverty. It is clear that if this group is ignored, problems such as economic dependency, violence against women, and low self-esteem will continue to be perpetuated.

As an advocacy method, ICT can help empower African women to demand true reform that will bridge the gap between their legal rights and their enforcement. It gives women the opportunity to communicate their needs in their own ways, in real time and on a massive scale. Online technology also offers anonymity, which is absolutely essential when speaking out on sensitive issues might endanger a woman’s safety. ICT is a limitless platform for women’s grassroots organizations so they have a collective voice in public, thus enabling them to make their voices heard more clearly.

Girls and women must be supported in becoming technologically competitive and they must gain proper understanding of how to use it safely and effectively. With Africa’s growing youth population and increasing competition for jobs and other opportunities, addressing these issues is imperative in any effort to promote women’s employability and financial independence.

At KsGEN, we believe bridging this gap more girls and women will be empowered and will eventually shape the future. We must expose girls and boys to role models in non-traditional fields — such as female engineers or male careers — and give women the chance to tell their own stories through programmes such as the #HerStory campaign, and our very own #HERSTEAM which showcases the stories of women leaders and women who have been forgotten in history books.