Facebook partners African NGOs to promote internet safety

05 Feb 2019
Financial Nigeria


Safer Internet Day seeks to create awareness about online safety and security concerns such as cyber bullying and cyber-crime.

Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO, Facebook

Facebook is celebrating the 2019 Safer Internet Day (SID) today by collaborating with more than 20 non-profit organisations and government agencies in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) to support the SID campaign to raise awareness about internet safety and security. The 2019 SID is being marked globally on February 5.

The campaign slogan for this year's SID is, "Together for a better internet." According to the Insafe network, the SID is a call-to-action for all stakeholders to come together and play their part in creating a better internet for everyone, especially for younger users.

In line with its commitment to building a safer online world for all, Facebook said in a statement on Monday that it is supporting the Safer Internet Day by sponsoring the printing of online safety awareness booklets, facilitating training sessions, and creating a family-friendly animation to help raise awareness about the Facebook Safety Centre. Some of the online safety and security concerns the campaign seeks to create awareness on include cyber bullying and cyber-crime.

“We know that safety is a shared conversation, which is why we are excited to be working with so many stakeholders around the continent to make the Internet a better place,” said Sherry Dzinoreva, Public Policy Programmes Lead at Facebook Africa. “Together, with Safer Internet Day as a platform, we can address emerging online concerns, so that people and especially children and the youth, can get the most from their Internet experience.”

The campaign is taking place across several SSA countries, including Nigeria, South Africa, Benin, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Côte d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In Nigeria, a social enterprise, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN), is running workshops on safer internet use as part of its LIFE programme in Kano, Lagos and Aba. Facebook’s Safe Online trainers will be running two-hour workshops at schools and PIN's LIFE Centres in these locations.

“Working with Facebook on online safety aligns with our focus on driving digital inclusion and educating the youth about their digital rights,” said Tope Ogundipe, Director of Programmes at PIN. Ogundipe said the programme they are running promises to equip the children who participate with skills and knowledge that will enable them to make confident use of the internet. As of May 2018, there were 26 million active Facebook users in Nigeria.

In South Africa, Facebook said it is partnering with the Film and Publication Board (FPB), Media Monitoring Africa (MMA), Google, Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) to launch the Web Rangers Programme 2019. Facebook is also supporting this effort with educational content.

Facebook will support Watoto Watch’s Safer Internet Day event for students at Ngunyumu Primary School in Nairobi, Kenya. The event will be the launchpad for the “A Million Campaign”, which seeks to raise awareness about online safety among schoolchildren.

The Safer Internet Day started as an initiative of the EU SafeBorders project in 2004. It was then taken up by the Insafe network in 2005. Today, the campaign is followed and celebrated in approximately 140 countries.

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