To empower women HRDs and journalists in Cameroon, DRC, Senegal, and Uganda to fully and safely participate in increasingly digital societies
Across Africa, the growing scourge of online violence disproportionately targets women, particularly women human rights defenders (HRDs) and journalists. Harassment and hate speech stifles women’s ability to safely participate online, silences their voices, amplifies offline security risks, and exacerbates existing gender disparities in political and economic participation. Stories of high-profile women who were fired from their jobs, arrested for reporting abuse, and forced to flee their country show the potential threats women face just from engaging online. In Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Senegal, and Uganda it is particularly dangerous for women; there are no legal protections for them online, abusers operate with impunity, and there are few opportunities, if any, to learn how to stay safe online. WOUGNET with support from Internews and other FemTech partners are implementing the FemTech-Africa, a 24-month program to empower women HRDs and journalists in Cameroon, DRC, Senegal, and Uganda to fully and safely participate in increasingly digital societies through awareness raising initiatives and advocacy strategies. FemTech-Africa builds on Internews’ successful Safe Sisters pilot programs. The project’s two-pronged model offers both immediate digital safety training and long-term systemic policy and advocacy support to help women survive—and thrive—in a digital world. FemTech’s two objectives are:- i) Empower women HRDs and journalists to take digital safety into their own hands and keep themselves and their communities safer online ii) Promote safeguards for women’s safety online through public awareness raising as well as targeted advocacy for rights-respecting policies that deter abuse.