R U Ready 2 Talk? Keep your chats exactly that! New Campaign for South African girls

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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, 28 May 2009 (Women'sNet)

African girl sending SMSAfrican girl sending SMSAn innovative new campaign was recently launched in Johannesburg, that aims to ensure that young people are empowered to use their cell phones and the Internet for positive self expression. The campaign was launched by Girls’Net, a daughter project of Women’sNet.

Says Faith Nkomo of Girls’Net “80% of young people have access to a cellphone – we must be acting to make sure we take advantage of this tool to help young people access opportunities and create positive social spaces to interact in.”

The campaign aims to undertake public education on safe use of mobile social networks, engage with educators and learners on safe and responsible use, and will work with service providers, partners and stake-holders on making cyberspace a safe space. “Why should cyber-space be any different to our streets and homes, where violence against women and girls is commonplace?” asked Sally-Jean Shackleton, Women’sNet Director, “our activism must be as present in cyber-space as it is in the streets. We must challenge sexism, address harassment and help young people to engage in the issues relevant to them.”

Also at the launch was NGO Love Life’s Duncan Harling who talked about a new mobile social network initiated by the organisation, MYMsta. Harling emphasised the responsibility of adults to protect and enable young people to use technology for their own development. Goodness Zulu from the Film and Publications Board, talked about the Board’s Pro-child web site and the work they do on preventing and addressing child pornography. She noted that sometimes children unknowingly produce porn themselves by “taking explicit pictures of themselves,” and, she said, “parents’ ignorance of technology is stopping them from getting involved.”

William Bird from Media Monitoring Africa presented the organisations’ work with children and media, and explained that “while children are 40% of the population they feature in a mere 6% of news coverage,” he said, “and this was reduced to a pitiful 0.08% during the recent national elections.”

The campaign launch concluded with a session on planning campaign activities and identifying potential partners. If you would like more information send a message to girlsnet@womensnet.org.za or call us at 011 429-0000. The brochure is also available for download at the bottom of this page.

Women’sNet is a feminist organisation that works to advance gender equality and justice in South Africa through the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs). We provide training and facilitate content dissemination and creation that supports women, girls, and women’s and gender organisations and networks to take control of their own content and ICT use.

More links
Watch presentations
Film and Publications Board Pro-Child website
Media Monitoring Africa
Love Life

Photo by EosCameroun. Used with permission under Creative Commons license 2.0

(FIN/2009)

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GirlsNetBrochure.pdf399.5 KB

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