Women's rights and safety online: Project partners granted to strengthen national work

By Flavia Fascendini Publisher: APCNews    

Strengthening the capacity of women’s rights activists and organisations to use technology tools in their work to end violence against women has been one of APC’s main work areas since 2005.

Following this path, APC’s project End violence: Women’s rights and safety online is being implemented by partners in seven countries through a combination of strategies that contribute towards ending violence against women by building women’s leadership and ensuring women’s rights and safety online, and with the financial support of the Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women (FLOW) Fund of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affair’s (DGIS).

Among the seven country partners, Colnodo from Colombia, KICTANet from Kenya, and the Foundation for Media Alternatives from the Philippines have received additional support to develop national activities in their countries to promote women’s rights and to increase women’s safety online.

Colnodo and the Cyber Stewards network

Colnodo, APC member from Colombia and “End violence: Women’s rights and safety online” project partner, was accepted to join the Cyber Stewards network of the Citizen Lab Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, and the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies. They joined an exceptional group of people from across Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East and North Africa.

“It is so important for Colnodo to take part in this program because it will allow us to research more on the relationship between violence against women in digital spaces, and supporting strategies to sensitize about the risks that could exist for them when using the internet,” says Olga Paz from the Colombian project partner.

Among the activities planned until September of 2014, there is the development of a background research, organising seminars; three workshops on women’s rights and secure communications on the internet (specially targeting activists, leaders and participants from women’s organizations and networks); meetings for advocacy with governmental and parliamentary commissions dedicated to issues of rights to communication and information technologies and communication; producing and distributing materials among educational institutions, public anti VAW services and women’s groups; developing a national workshop on online safety practices aimed at leaders of women’s organizations located in various areas within Colombia; a training workshop on use of technologies for the production of audiovisual materials for the promotion and discussion of internet rights including prevention of gender violence on the internet; content production of the virtual course “Internet rights and online safety” aimed specifically at women and youth activists from grassroots organizations.

Colnodo will also take part in the third annual Cyber Dialogue forum on March 17-18 which will address the question “Governance without Government in Cyberspace?”, building upon previous successful dialogue “What is Stewardship in Cyberspace?”, which will gather an influential mix of global leaders from government, civil society, academia, and private enterprise to participate in a series of facilitated public plenary conversations and working groups.

“Working with Citizen Lab will be a great opportunity to meet other initiatives working on the issue and also to strengthen the action lines of the FLOW project in Colombia, specially on virtual and face to face capacity building and sensitizing processes with women’s organizations, as well as with the orientation about women’s rights in digital spaces and advocacy among civil society and government entities,” reflects Olga. And she adds: “We expect to increase the place that this subject occupies on the agenda because even though the government initiatives in Colombia work towards closing the digital divide, working on digital security as a key aspect of a responsible use of ICTs is just an incipient concern.”

KICTANet and the UNESCO grant

The Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet), one of the seven project partners, received a small grant from UNESCO ending on May 2013 to fully update the 2010 Kenya study Women and cyber crime study, the dark side of ICTs. It will also support a validation and dissemination workshop.

Counting on the “End violence: Women’s rights and safety online” funding to support a baseline study, the UNESCO grant will expand the study to fully update the research conducted in 2011. “Updating the study will provide data for possible policy advocacy in the future,” adds Alice Munyua from KICTANet.

Foundation for Media Alternatives and the ISIF Asia grant

Thanks to renewed financial support, the Information Society Innovation Fund (ISIF Asia) will benefit 11 project teams in 9 Asia Pacific economies in 2013 that offer innovative approaches to development. Under the “Rights” category, FMA’s initiative entitled “Promoting Women’s Rights and Safety Online: Addressing Electronic Violence Against Women” will get the ISIF Asia small grants funding for 2013.

ISIF Asia is a grants and awards program aimed at stimulating creative solutions to ICT development needs in the Asia Pacific region. ISIF Asia places particular emphasis on the role of the internet in social and economic development in the region. Since 2008, the program has supported 39 projects, each of which has benefitted their communities and inspired similar projects around the world,” states their grants announcement. “ISIF Asia is a mechanism to give back to the local internet community by investing in ICT research and development; to support research that can assist internet growth in the Asia Pacific region; and to facilitate networking and information building throughout the internet community,” the text adds.

FMA aims to reach more networks of women grassroots leaders, local government units, and educational institutions in its eVAW advocacy by introducing new ICT techniques which are free and user-friendly. With this project, FMA also hopes to build capabilities of government and non-government stakeholders to address incidents of eVAW strategically and in a coordinated manner, and to improve access to justice of victims/survivors by addressing coordination and capacity gaps.

This grant is a very important recognition to Foundation for Media Alternatives work and project, and represents an outstanding step towards the promotion of women’s rights and safety online by addressing eVAW in the Philippines.

All the grants received will strengthen the national work of the project partners and impact on the overall extent of the “End violence: Women’s rights and safety online” project core goals.

APC’s project End violence: Women’s rights and safety online has support from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affair’s (DGIS) Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women (FLOW) Fund: http://www.flowprogramme.nl/Public/HomePage.aspx

Photo by BasicB’s used under Creative Commons license.


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