Today is Safer Internet Day (SID) which is a global event and this year, stakeholders in the ecosystem led by Facebook are holding a series of initiatives to help make the Internet a safer and better place for people across Africa, especially children and the youth.
In a statement issued this morning, Facebook announced it is partnering with public sector agencies and non-governmental organisations from across Africa and TechCity gathered that it is under the rallying call “Be the change: unite for a better Internet”.
“Nothing is more important to us than the safety of the people who use Facebook. Every day people come to Facebook to connect with people and issues they care about, and they should be able to do so in a safe, secure environment,” says Akua Gyekye, Public Policy Manager Facebook, Africa.
Facebook builds products that empower the community to stay in control, support each other during crises and stay safe online. Every Facebook product has privacy and security built into it to protect your information.
Over 100 countries are participating in an effort to start conversations and help people think about the small steps they can take to stay safe online. The initiative is coordinated by the joint Insafe/INHOPE network, with the support of the European Commission, and national Safer Internet Centres across Europe and beyond.
In Africa, Facebook is working with partners such as: Watoto Watch in Kenya, the International Center for Leadership Development and the Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre in Nigeria, South Africa’s Film and Publication Board, JOXAfrica Association in Senegal, Tech Women Zimbabwe as well as J Initiative and Ghana Internet Safety Foundation from Ghana to ensure the safety and education of their communities and address the needs of vulnerable people.
Facebook said it is providing financial and marketing support for them to use to raise awareness about online safety. Facebook is also hosting an event in Johannesburg, South Africa and Nairobi, Kenya to promote the importance of online safety to students, teachers, parents and policymakers.
Everyone has a part to play
Gyekye says: “This is an opportunity to explore the role we all play in helping to create a better and safer online community. We are proud to work with young people, parents, carers, teachers, social workers, law enforcement, companies, and policymakers to create a better Internet.”
Facebook has redesigned its Safety Center, an engaging resource to help people get the information they need about controlling their information and staying safe. It walks you through the tools Facebook offers to control your experience as well as numerous tips and resources for safe and secure sharing. It is available in over 50 languages, is mobile friendly and includes step-by-step videos.
Quotes from relevant partners
“As more Zimbabwean women and girls go online to take advantage of the immense opportunities the internet offers, they empower themselves with knowledge, education and connections with others,” says Techwomen Zimbabwe’s Founder, Aretha Mare. “We are determined to break down barriers to the Internet for women and girls so they can maximise the benefits of the Internet – and that includes tackling challenges such as online harassment and bullying.”
Watoto Watch Network: Kenya
“The Internet brings offers great opportunities for Kenya’s youth and children. This year’s Safer Internet Day gives young people the opportunity to voice their views on how to make the internet better,” says Lillian Kariuki, executive director at Watoto Watch Network.
JI Initiative from Ghana
“We are passionate advocates for a safe Internet for young people and children, so we are pleased that Facebook embraces its responsibility to keep people safe on its platform,” says Awo Aidam Amenyah, Executive Director at JI Initiative. “We are pleased to work with Facebook to promote positive online experiences for everyone.”
Ghana Internet Safety Foundation
“The massive support we’ve seen for this year’s Safer Internet Day is truly inspiring,” says Emmanuel Adinkrah, Co-Founder and CEO of Ghana Internet Safety Foundation. “It is heartening to hear about the ways young people are using technology to take positive action online to empower each other and spread kindness. We want to encourage them to keep building a better internet for all.”
Film and Production Board: South Africa
“It is important to have conversations early and often about how inappropriate content on the Internet may affect children,” says Janine Raftopoulos, Manager Communications and Public Education South Africa’s Film & Publications Board (FPB). “Parents, educators, guardians and industry all have a part to play in ensuring that children understand how to stay safe online.”
“We’re pleased with our partnership with Facebook for Safer Internet day to raise awareness and have conversations about staying safe online,” says Felix Bidemi Iziomoh, Executive Director at ICLDING. “We are proud to play a role in uniting our community for a better internet.”
Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC)
“The 2017 theme for the Safer Internet Day ‘Be the change: unite for a better internet’ resonates strongly with the Federal Government of Nigeria’s campaign, ‘The change begins with me’,” says Adeyemi Odutola, Communications Officer at Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC). “We are excited to partner with Facebook to host a day of workshops and fun activities for secondary students, where they will learn how to navigate the Internet confidently and safely.”
Senegal (JOXAfrica Association)
“Protecting children on the Internet is a priority for us as we rally with governments NGOs and private companies for a better online community,” says JOXAfrica Senegal’s Assane Diouf. “Together with Facebook, as the world’s biggest online social network, we can create higher awareness of how we can keep children safe online.”