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Since early 2015, the Local Action to Secure Internet Rights (LASIR) project has focused on empowering national and local actors in their defence of human rights on the internet, in countries as diverse as South Korea, Brazil, the Philippines, India, Jordan, Uganda, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bangladesh, Kenya and Tunisia. All LASIR partners are strong local organisations, with ongoing work on internet rights. They are developing, together with APC, integrated strategies of policy research, context analysis, coalition building, media outreach and popular engagement.

Now that the project has reached its final stage, APC is sharing a series of interviews to highlight the participants’ experiences and conclusions. Today, we want you to meet Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA), an organisation that promotes effective and inclusive ICTs in Uganda.

OpenNet Africa Online Security Training. Source: CIPESAOpenNet Africa Online Security Training. Source: CIPESA

What was your goal when you decided to be part of the LASIR project?

Our main goal was to raise awareness on the impact of internet policy in Uganda, especially on the need to protect personal data and privacy.

Did you achieve those goals?

Yes. You can see some outcomes of the dialogue we facilitated to create critical engagement around the the data protection and privacy bill, and in the Reflections on Uganda’s Draft Data Protection and Privacy Bill.

We also came up with a baseline study of the current state of internet policy in Uganda, a review of current policies and how they infringe on user privacy, and policy briefs, and we hosted a policy dialogue. Also, we conducted a digital safety training for media, which 27 journalists attended, and one for human rights defenders.

OpenNet Africa Online Security Training. Source: CIPESAOpenNet Africa Online Security Training. Source: CIPESA

Did you find media interest to cover this work?

Yes, several media covered the activities, like New Vision. However, we also made sure to use our own resources, campaigning through social media. We held several Twitterthons, like the one on online safety for Africa, in commemoration of Safer Internet Day, one on online safety for women to celebrate International Women’s Day, and another one coinciding with World Press Freedom Day to promote awareness of the data protection and privacy bill and local-context online freedom issues.

For all of these Twitterthons, we drew participants from different stakeholders locally and beyond, such as Google Africa, NEPAD, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, Uganda CERT, ISOC Kenya, as well as CIPESA’s partners KICTANet (Kenya), the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, Jamii Forums (Tanzania), and ISOC Uganda. There was a very good response.

Where can we stay updated on your work?