Vacancy Announcement: Project Officer - CLOSED

Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) is looking for a dynamic and self motivated individual to join the WOUGNET team. Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) in partnership with SOS Faim is implementing a new project in the Rwenzori region of Uganda.  WOUGNET is a non-governmental organization initiated in May 2000 by several women’s organizations in Uganda to develop the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) among women as tools to share information and address issues collectively. WOUGNET’s vision is an inclusive and just society where women and girls are enabled to use ICTs for sustainable development.

Type of agreement:

  • Full time
  • Starting month:  October, 2022
  • Duration: 6 months (renewable and possibly evolving towards permanent employment).
  • Duty station:  Kabarole district.

Overview of the PATHS Project

The project aims to increase and improve smallholders farmers resilience to food security by instigating the level of transition to a sustainable food system through inclusive participation and use of digital technologies for sustainable agricultural production in Uganda by 2026. Specific objectives of the PATHS project are;

  • To increase knowledge, strengthen capacity and agroecology skills of smallholders’ farmers with focus on gender and group dynamics to provide a wide variety of nutritious foods and services from agriculture to boost household incomes and health in a sustainable manner.
  • To leverage on digital technologies to advocate for the need to coherently mainstream agroecology approach in national and sustainable agricultural development by documenting and providing evidence-based information on the effects of agroecological innovations in Uganda.
  • To foster strategic multi stakeholders’ collaborations and partnerships among smallholders’ farmers and decision makers to enhance their capacity to engage and prioritize agricultural practices aimed at increasing household incomes, natural environmental protection as well as reducing inequalities through the youth and women-led farmer groups.

 Roles and Responsibilities: 

The Project Officer will be responsible for:

  1. Planning, coordinating, and implementing project activities in the project areas in accordance with the project work plan.
  2. Coordinating with the key stakeholders and the project beneficiaries for efficient project implementation.
  3. Documentation of project activities and production of reports as required by the organisation.   
  4. Representing  WOUGNET at all relevant stakeholders engagements in the region. 
  5. Maintaining WOUGNET field office in the region and establishing strategic partnerships and collaborations for the organisation.
  6. Ensuring project visibility.
  7. Participating in  WOUGNET staff events happening virtually or physically. 
  8. Participating in resource mobilisation. 
  9. Participating in monitoring and evaluation activities.
  10. Any other duties and responsibilities as assigned by the project coordinator/ manager from time to time.

Qualification and Experience

  • A bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences, Development Studies  or any other related field.
  • Fluency in the English language and any of the local languages in the Rwenzori region.
  • Experience in project management
  • Knowledge in gender and community development.
  • Advanced Computer skills
  • Good interpersonal and communication skills
  • Knowledge in resource mobilisation
  • Knowledge in participatory training methodology 

How to apply

Send your application (CV, cover letter, copies of academic documents in one PDF) addressed to Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) by Friday 23/09/2022, 11:59 pm EAT at the latest with the mention "Project Officer PATHS Uganda Application" in the subject line to the following e-mail addresses:

  • mgt@wougnet.org
  • info@wougnet.org

FEMALE applicants are STRONGLY encouraged to apply.

NOTE: ONLY  ONLINE applications will be considered.

        :  ONLY shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

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How could Data help Social Justice? Moving beyond Data Governance in Africa and Latin America.

Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) organized a Side Session on May 6th, 2022 during the Online Global Digital Development Forum (GDDF) 2022 to share perspectives on the interaction of data and social justice, informed by the data justice research conducted in Bolivia, Cameroon and Uganda by Internet Bolivia Foundation, AfroLeadership, and WOUGNET respectively with financial support from the Alan Turing Institute (ATI) and the International Center for Expertise in Montréal on Artificial Intelligence (CEIMIA). The conversation had an emphasis on privacy and social justice in terms of access to, visibility, and representation of data used in the development of artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning (ML) systems, participation of the citizens in the decision-making, and management of databases. This session was submitted by Sandra Aceng, WOUGNET’s Program Manager; and facilitated by Peace Oliver Amuge, WOUGNET’s Executive Director.

The Definition of “Data Justice” in Different Regions

The session panelists included Eliana Quiroz, Research Director at Internet Bolivia Foundation; Louis Fendji (Ph.D.), Research Director on Innovative Technologies at AfroLeadership; and Isaac Amuku, the Research Specialist at the Women of Uganda Network who shared their definitions of data justice in Africa and Latin America. 

Louis Fendji informed the audience that data justice refers to access to means to produce and control data. However, the challenge comes in how people are represented in data. He emphasized that data justice can have different meanings from one region to another. He cited that the diversity in sub-Saharan Africa is about change in data justice.

Isaac Amuku defined data justice as some of the forces (social, historical, economic, and political) that inform data collection, analysis, and use. These forces may influence how people are treated in terms of fairness, fair play, equity, peace, genuine respect for people, rightfulness, and lawfulness.

Eliana Quiroz shared that there is not an easy translation of data justice to Spanish, although people are living with several data injustices daily. This brings difficulty when making research on this topic. In order to build common ground with the people and be able to talk about data justice from that point, the use of examples was the best strategy.

The Interaction of Data and Social Justice including Data Justice Research Findings

The speakers gave their perspectives on the interaction of data and social justice including the data justice research findings, with emphasis on privacy and social justice in terms of access to, visibility, and representation in data used in the development of AI/ML systems, participation of the citizens in the decision making and management of databases.

The understanding of data justice can vary from region to region. Louis Fendji (Ph.D.), informed participants that data especially in the context of Cameroon is mainly collected by big tech companies due to a lack of national strategies by the government to collect data, produce and control data that is produced in the country including the lack of laws on data especially data protection and data privacy in Cameroon.  In Cameroon, there is the existence of laws on electronic communications, and consumer usage of services however there is no law on privacy or data collection. This makes those with data have the power to do whatever they would like to do with existing data. There is therefore a power imbalance in the Cameroon context where developers should be aware of how data can be harmful to people that use their system. Additionally, people on the conflict side of Cameroon do not have the power to manage data.

In terms of the participation pillar, data can be harmful to people based on compliance because they do not have enough funds to support the understanding of the perspectives of marginalized communities on data because the process is expensive although developers are used to just collecting data and dropping it.

The platform for passport issuance by the government has some communities missing because their identities are missing. There is a need to make sure data is issued fairly to benefit all the communities.

Eliana Quiroz mentioned that the legal authority for example the communication authority accepted the reform of the unethical and legal ways in terms of internet service providers (ISPs). “We found power imbalance based on the knowledge of technology because if we want to say something as users, people are not involved in the ecosystem of governance, hence limited information and knowledge,” Quiroz added. This is because the government makes it hard for people to understand the debate as being technical and inaccessible. People are not included in the decision-making of data management. We have been putting pressure on the government to open data but there are gaps due to limited skills to collect, clean, and analyze data in terms of data presentation. There is violence against lesbian couples and the existing law cannot be used because the law favours violent crimes towards a woman by a man but not between two women.

Isaac Amuku spoke about the research by WOUGNET which aimed at broadening the understanding of data justice based on the six pillars (power, equity, access, participation, identity, and knowledge) among policymakers, impacted communities, and developers in urban, peri-urban, and rural areas of Uganda.

In the context of Uganda, there is the data protection and privacy act 2019, however, Non-Consensual Intimate Images (NCII) and Online Gender-Based Violence (OGBV) keep happening although no action has been taken because people in power do not act hence the power imbalance. Many people interviewed were moderately aware of data justice and the policymakers need to engage and know the perspectives of everyone to be integrated into the policy. 

In terms of the equity pillar, it is usually the government collecting data and there is no clarity on where the data collected goes. For instance, the registration for a National Identity (ID) card is mandatory for everyone in Uganda to be able to access services although the data collection in Uganda is informed by culture and norms. This affects the LGBTIQ communities because they may not have certain services for being LGBTIQ and having missed data. The PWDs also have a lot of discrimination in terms of access to information and lack of representation when accessing the services.

In terms of the access pillar, there is no transparency in terms of surveillance done by the state because no one has access to this information collected from the citizens.

In terms of the identity pillar, there are so many identities of people collected who are not reflected. For instance, the refugees in Uganda do not know where their data go once collected.

In terms of participation and knowledge pillar, women do not participate, including various stakeholders interviewed who said they do not participate in the process of data collection.

Read more: Advancing Data Justice Research Outputs by 12 Policy Pilot Partners.

Question and Answer Session

The question and answer session followed from the participants to the speakers. Participants asked:

In this era of datafication, I’m worried about Artificial Intelligence algorithms. Tech companies are using AI algorithms to increase productivity but these algorithms sometimes exclude the minorities and the marginalized communities. How can we influence tech giants and tech professionals to develop unbiased AI algorithms in the fight for social justice?

Eliana Quiroz: There are very few Apps in local languages and the elderly need support from younger relatives otherwise they do not benefit from information on the internet but they are also suffering from data collection. For example, Facebook collects data from users and non-users and yet elderly people do not receive any benefit from the data collected which is the same case as the government who are collecting data from citizens yet they do not benefit from it.

Article 3: Under the principles of Data Protection in Data Protection and Privacy act 2019

(1)A data collector, Processor, or Controller or any person who collects, processes, holds, or uses personal data shall; and (c) Collect, process, use or hold adequate relevant and not excessive or unnecessary personal data.  Do you really see this being applied when it comes to data in the Ugandan context?

 

Isaac Amuku: The Ugandan law is okay and they have minimal standards on data collection but there is power misuse and participation in data collection such as in passport processes and National ID processes. There is a need for continued conversation on data protection and privacy to define data collection standards in Uganda.

 

A participant urged the need to bear in mind the universality aspect of human rights and have data justice inclusivity. In the Ugandan context, there is the misuse of data during data collection which is a violation of rights. He added that the means and ways to mitigate the effects of all processes of data collection are essential because the aspects of intersectionality need analysis in terms of data collection and planning. This is because a lot of data is left uncollected which affects the planning of the country.

 

A female participant added that most of the information collected by these companies can be easily used by third parties to acquire people's personal data.

 

Louis Fendji (Ph.D.) said that data justice is about the representation of minorities and marginalized communities in the data. However, there is a need to ask ourselves why these communities are not included. Telecom companies are present in areas where they can get a return on their investments since they are profit makers.  It is expensive to include these communities, especially for developers because developers sometimes lack funds to include marginalized communities in AI algorithms systems. However, developers need to be educated about the dangers of not including these communities and design national strategies to provide awareness to the policymakers about the inclusion of marginalized communities to be represented in data and have the power and ability to create the awareness.

 

YouTube Video: Introducing Data Justice

By Sandra Aceng - Manager Information Sharing and Networking

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Advancing Gender Equality through Big Data in Sub-Saharan Africa

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by all United Nations member states in 2015 has 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with Goal 5 being gender equality. Africa and the rest of the world are targeting to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030. According to the Office of the Special Advisor on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (2001:1), gender equality refers to the equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities of women and men and girls and boys. The United Nations Development Group ([UNDG] 2017:2) mentions that the data revolution has been recognized as an enabler of the 2030 Agenda, not only to monitor progress but also to engage inclusively with stakeholders at all levels to advance evidence-based policies and programmes to reach the most vulnerable.

Reports such as that by Ahmed (2020:1) have indicated that big data can be leveraged to achieve gender equality globally. Big data analytics can facilitate real-time situational awareness, improve information on the lives of women and girls, identify trends and correlations within and across large datasets that would otherwise be unknown, provide new information on mobility, social interactions, opportunities for participatory monitoring, real-time feedback, and learning loops, along with improvements in accountability and transparency. Therefore, this paper explores Africa’s chance to achieve gender equality using big data. I analyse the different debates advancing gender equality through the use of big data, I also explore the realities in the sub-Saharan African region in reference to the digital gender divide, poor technological infrastructure, data infrastructure, data protection regulations, content regulation and internet shutdowns. The paper will draw examples largely from Uganda and East Africa.

What are the existing debates?

According to Ahmed (2020), data plays a fundamental role in achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls across the globe by identifying multisectoral gaps in the provision of equal opportunities and the protection of female rights, and by aiding in the implementation of evidence-based policies and interventions. Ahmed (2020) also argues that big data has evolved as a parallel source for understanding gender perceptions and forms of discrimination and marginalisation due to its ability to detect large-scale data patterns and generate predictive models. UN Women (2018) also recognises the potential of integrating big data and analytics into programmes and policies and aims to identify applications of big data that could lead to effective solutions in its areas of work.

Ahmed (2020) argues that inclusive approaches to data collection on gender and its usage have been shown to yield greater revenues, as well as numerous other nonfinancial positive outcomes such as employee retention and operational replicability and scalability. The data revolution currently underway can be leveraged, and in certain places already is being leveraged, to achieve sustainable development.

Initiatives promoting the use of gendered data to empower women and girls are being implemented in Africa. The UN Women’s global gender statistics project, Making Every Woman and Girl Count, is being implemented in many African countries, including Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania. According to UN Women Africa (2020), this project has conducted national assessments of gender statistics systems and supported the strengthening of capacities to produce and disseminate new gender data in the different African countries. The assessments have highlighted concrete recommendations for advancing gender equality and influencing current policies and programmes using gendered statistics.

What are the realities in Sub-Saharan Africa?    

Advancing gender equality using big data in Sub-Saharan African (SSA) is hindered by various issues, such as cultural belief, a lack of relevant policies that promote access to and usage of big data, a lack of infrastructure, and not prioritising gender equality. For countries to tackle gender inequalities, significant issues such as access to education, finance, health care and relevant information by women and girls should be addressed. This must lead to enacting relevant laws, policies, practices and strategic approaches by governments, the private and public sector and all key stakeholders. The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (2016) asserts that the importance of having gender statistics cannot be overlooked, because statistics incorporate disaggregated data that reflect gender issues and inequalities, data that highlights the realities and diversity of the lives of women and men, and data collected using methods and concepts that account for the gender biases present in traditional classification and collection methods.

According to the GSMA (2021), 75% of women in Sub-Saharan Africa own mobile phones, but the gender gap for mobile phone ownership is 13% and 74 million women are still unconnected. The report also reveals that 39% of women use mobile internet, which indicates a 37% gender gap in mobile internet usage. About 182 million women do not use mobile internet. The report further indicates that the gender gap in mobile ownership is higher in rural areas, and among the illiterate community, persons with disabilities and the unemployed. This connotes that big data is less generated from the unconnected, and yet it is crucial for data to be captured inclusively to order to inform policies and programs that advance gender equality. Surya Kannoth (n.d.) argues that big data sources in Sub-Saharan African are largely mobile phones, therefore telecommunications companies remain the biggest holders of big data in Africa. The top telecommunications companies in Africa are the MTN Group, the Vodacom Group, Safaricom, Airtel Africa and Orange Africa, among others, but access to the data they hold still remains restricted.

According to Data2X (2019:2), increasing financial inclusion among women depends on a better understanding of gendered phone and mobile money usage. This analysis suggests that improving access to digital technologies will not, in itself, fully leverage the power of these technologies to equalise social opportunity. However, policymakers, private companies and key stakeholders need to consider barriers such as cultural and traditional beliefs and practices that constrain the size and structure of women’s social networks, limit their mobility, and determine the differentials in their use of voice, text and data services. Data2X (2019:2) states that young women, especially those living in urban areas, use mobile phone services almost as much as men, and this represents an important opportunity for network operators, governments and other actors to collaborate for social gender equality

According to Open Data Watch (2019), Uganda still lacks data on key aspects of women’s lives. Uganda’s national databases include 59 out of the 104 gender indicators, and 10 gender indicators lack sex disaggregation in Uganda’s national databases. Of the published gender indicators in Uganda’s national databases, 17 do not conform to internationally recommended definitions, and 32 gender indicators in Uganda’s national databases have no published observations since 2015. Therefore, in the absence of adequate sex-disaggregated data, gender equality strategies cannot be well informed to tackle the existing inequalities.

Data protection and privacy regulation is a crucial component of big data, and yet there are countries such as South Sudan, Burundi and Tanzania that do not have data protection laws. Daigle (2021) emphasised that, in the absence of data protection laws, there is a danger that big data may be exploited instead of being leveraged to achieve gender equality. Additionally, there is need to create public awareness to change the practices and also ensure the proper implementation of these laws. According to Daigle (2021), the majority of West African countries have adopted data protection regulations, while many countries in Central and East Africa have not adopted any major data protection regulations, apart from Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. In Southern Africa there is an uneven patchwork of regulations. Several countries (South Africa, Botswana, Madagascar) have adopted data protection laws that are not currently in force, and no major countries in Southern Africa have adopted a data protection law after the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

Despite Uganda’s progress in enacting a data protection and privacy law in 2019, it is yet to ratify the African Union’s (2014) Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection. Data collection, processing and storage are undertaken with minimal public awareness of the legal frameworks and ideal practices that needs to be embraced. According to Kamurungi (2021), Uganda is currently in the process of installing digital vehicle tracker on all vehicles and motorcycles in the country. This initiative has been undertaken to tackle the rising number of cases of insecurity. The digital vehicle tracker would generate data that reveals access to, and usage and ownership of vehicles by women and men. This data is crucial for both the government and private sectors in Uganda to achieve gender equality. However, Kamurungi (2021) says that this initiative has received mixed reactions and criticism for fear of increased government surveillance of citizens, especially opposition politicians. Other critics have argued that this data could be used by criminals to track individuals, which jeopardises personal security.

Gender equality is affected negatively by the increased internet shutdowns in SSA, as shutdowns restrict women and men from accessing information, services such as finance, health and education, and also limit content creation. Shutdowns infringe on digital human rights such as access to information, freedom of expression and freedom of association, which must be upheld for gender equality to be realised. Data (2021) argues that the internet has been disrupted in countries such as Ethiopia, Cameroon, Uganda, DRC, Chad, Sudan, Tanzania, Mali and Burundi once or multiple times. Uganda has had three internet disruptions during general elections. According to the BBC (2021), the recent internet disruptions in Uganda happened on 11 January 2021, with access to Facebook blocked. After two days, and on the eve of the presidential and parliamentary elections, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) ordered all telecommunication companies to shut down internet access for all users until further notice. The total shutdown lasted for five days, after which access to the internet was restored except for social media platforms. Bwire (2021), writing in the Daily Monitor, confirmed that access to Facebook was still restricted in February.

There have been increased content regulations in the region. Wanyama (2020) reveals that Uganda’s communications regulator, UCC, issued a notice in 2018 to require providers of online data communication and broadcast service providers to obtain authorisation for the provision of services to the public. In September 2020, the Uganda Communications Commission ([UCC] 2020) issued a renewed order for online publishers and broadcasters to apply for licences before they operate. The regulator has on many occasions threatened to close media houses on allegations of inappropriate content and not possessing authorisation. According to The Independent (2019), UCC threatened to shut down the website of the Daily Monitor, one of the leading independent newspapers in Uganda. These restrictions affect women and men disproportionally and influence content creation and the generation of big data that informs policies and approaches undertaken to tackle gender inequality in the country.

Recommendations

To achieve gender equality, there is an urgent need to enact gender-responsive laws and policies and also gender-responsive approaches in all programmes of government, and the private and public sectors.

The proper implementation of the existing laws and policies in the region should be monitored. SSA countries largely have good laws and policies; however, there have been gaps in the implementation.

The fight to tackle gender inequalities cannot be left for governments, but rather collective action must be taken by all stakeholder, such as civil society organisations, the media, academics, legislators, multinational companies, women and men.

Conclusion

Conceivably, traditional data collection methods such as interviews and focus group discussions can still be used in Sub-Saharan Africa to achieve engendered data that will inform approaches and policies to enhance gender equality in the region. These methods of data collection would also help clarify the cultural and economic factors that determine the behaviour and use of technology of women and men. Most African societies are patriarchal, with the male being dominant. This is replicated in the online space and influences data generation. For Africans to achieve digital sovereignty, interventions to control and govern its own data is a key strategy to be undertaken, rather than have its data managed by foreign entities.

If we have societies in which women and girls are empowered, it will unleash the full potential of women’s efforts toward achieving Goal 5 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

References 

African Union. (2014). Convention on cyber security and personal data protection. Available from: https://au.int/en/treaties/african-union-convention-cyber-security-and-personal-data-protection

Ahmed, N. R. (2020). Leveraging big data to advance gender equality. Washington, DC: International Finance Corporation. Retrieved from: https://www.ifc.org/wps/wcm/connect/24721437-3f10-4e7b-9177-eb067d188d4c/EMCompass-Note-86-Big-Data-and-Gender-v2.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CVID=nbNtqBX

BBC. (2021, January 18). Uganda election: Internet restored but social media blocked. Available from: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-55705404

Bwire, J. (2021). Government lifts internet shutdown imposed over election. Daily Monitor. Available from: https://www.monitor.co.ug/uganda/news/national/govt-lifts-internet-shutdown-imposed-over-election-3286184

Dada, B. (2021). The protracted history of internet shutdowns in Africa. Available from: https://www.benjamindada.com/history-of-internet-shutdowns-in-africa

Daigle, B. (2021). Data protection laws in Africa: A Pan-African survey and noted trends. Journal of International Commerce and Economics, February. Available from: https://www.usitc.gov/publications/332/journals/jice_africa_data_protection_laws.pdf

Data2X. (2019). Mobile money & gender in Uganda. Available from: https://data2x.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/MobileMoneyGenderinUganda_Dalberg.pdf

GSMA. (2021). Connected women: The mobile gender gap report 2021. Available from:

https://www.gsma.com/r/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/The-Mobile-Gender-Gap-Report-2021.pdf

Kamurungi, E. (2021, July 26). Car trackers: Government assures on privacy. Daily Monitor. Available from: https://www.monitor.co.ug/uganda/news/national/car-trackers-govt-assures-on-privacy--3487014

Kannoth, S. (n.d.) Big data presents big opportunities for Africa. Logistics Update Africa.

https://www.logupdateafrica.com/big-data-presents-big-opportunities-for-africa

Office of the Special Advisor on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women. (2001). Gender mainstreaming: Strategy for promoting gender equality. Available from:

https://www.un.org/womenwatch/osagi/pdf/factsheet1.pdf

Open Data Watch. (2019). Bridging the gap: Mapping gender data availability in Africa. Technical Report. Available from: https://data2x.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Bridging-the-Gap-Technical-Report-Web-Ready.pdf

The Independent. (2019, February 6). UCC orders Daily Monitor to shut website. Available from: https://www.independent.co.ug/ucc-orders-daily-monitor-to-shut-their-website/

Uganda Communications Commission. (2020, September 8). Reminders to providers of online data communication and broadcasting services to obtain authorisation. Available from: https://www.ucc.co.ug/reminder-to-providers-of-online-data-communication-and-broadcasting-services-to-obtain-authorisati on/

United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. (2016). Integrating a gender perspective into statistics. New York: United Nations 

United Nations Development Group (UNDG). (2017). UNDG guidance note on big data for achievement of the 2030 Agenda: Data privacy, ethics and protection. Available from: https://web.archive.org/web/20171107170050/https://undg.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/UNDG-Big-Data-Guidance-Note.pdf

UN Women. (2018). Gender equality and big data. Available from: https://www.unwomen.org/-/media/headquarters/attachments/sections/library/publications/2018/gender-equality-and-big-data-en.pdf?la=en&vs=3955

UN Women Africa. (2020). Gender statistics: Making every girl and woman count. Available from:

https://africa.unwomen.org/en/where-we-are/eastern-and-southern-africa/tanzania/gender-statistics

Wanyama, E. (2020) Registration of online publishers and broadcasters threatens free expression in Uganda. CIPESA. Available from: https://cipesa.org/2020/09/registration-of-online-publishers-and-broadcasters-threatens-free-expression-in-uganda/

By: Peace Oliver Amuge - Executive Director

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Digital Security, A Must Have Skill for OGBV Extenuation

Gratefully appreciative of the partnership with Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) and Digital Human Rights Lab (DHRLab), I sincerely thank you for the opportunity and confidence exhibited in me while the one-week digital security training took the centre stage. 

End-user training, which varies dramatically in scope and length, typically convenes some mix of human rights defenders, activists, and media producers (bloggers, journalists, or citizen reporters) to focus on tools, tactics, and concepts that facilitate the safe use of digital platforms and tools. I am glad to have been part of the 5-day ToT training designed to build the capacity of trainers from 5 districts in Uganda (Kabale, Lira, Kampala, Kabarole, and Jinja) who later trained 120 university students, women politicians, artists, activists, journalists and law enforcers in Uganda. Relatively, a small pool of security experts capable of training in the digital security/ safety and development fields limits the degree to which this community can grow and respond rapidly.



Cumulatively, these efforts endeavor to support civil society, human rights defenders, university students, law enforcers, activists, and journalists in their attempts to access, and communicate information in repressive contexts without compromising themselves or their colleagues. Targeting women survivors of Online Gender-Based Violence was always going to be NOT only a good thing BUT also the only path to securing their online presence and encouraging meaningful participation.  

Cyber security training has come a long way in the last few years. Back in the day, security training was largely reserved for IT security specialists and then extended to include IT personnel in general. These days, all Human Rights Defenders, and activists need to be well educated in security best practices and good habits if the organization wishes to avoid ransomware and Malware. Based on the 5 day’s digital security training; the following were some of the feedback or achievements, WOUGNET got from the training;


The current focus of most digital security awareness training initiatives is on phishing – and with good reason. Phishing is responsible for the bulk of breaches. I greatly appreciate the trainees for their soberness throughout the whole week and their sincere appreciation towards our efforts to make them aware of the trends in the digital world.


By Taremwa Albert

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This article is part of a series of posts by trainers of trainees during the online safety and digital security capacity building workshop conducted by Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) under the project, Enhancing Women’s Rights Online through inclusive and effective response to online Gender-based violence in Uganda. The project is funded by the Digital Human Rights Lab which is implemented by betterplace lab and Future Challenges under a grant agreement with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) Programme Strengthening Governance and Civil Society in Uganda, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) under its Digital Africa Initiative.


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