Our maiden Digital Rights and Policy training was recently concluded in Port-Harcourt and it was 2 days of engagements, discussions, practical sessions and enlightening conversations on digital rights. The 2 day training which held on the 13th and 14th October, 2017 was in response to the obvious need to bring the needed conversation on Digital Rights and Policy to the Niger Delta from Lagos and Abuja where such conversations usually take place. The rationale behind this training, was to create the needed awareness and enlistment of digital rights defenders especially now in Nigeria when such issues as hate speech, cyber crime, internet shutdowns are at the fore of national discuss. It is important to know that if these digital rights are stifled, it will be difficult to expand the push for innovation and development in technology.
The theme was ‘The State of Digital Rights in Nigeria- Implications for the Niger-Delta’. This first of its kind training in Port-Harcourt was organised in collaboration with Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND) and Paradigm Initiative, a Lagos based social enterprise with focus on digital rights. Participants at the training included stake holders in the media from reputable stations like Nigeria Info, Classic and Beat FM and Wazobia TV, civil society, bloggers, tech and online community and government. The Senior Special Assistant to the River State Deputy Governor on Social Media, Uki Asemota, was present. The training held at the PIND Economic Development Centre GRA Port-Harcourt.
On the 1st day of the training, Adeboye Adegoke, ICT Policy Manager for Paradigm Initiative, introduced participants to digital rights. His session was very interactive and it covered areas like human rights online, data privacy, internet shutdowns, surveillance and interception and freedom of expression online. Participants got to understand that while the internet has introduced new spaces the culture of control online was being initiated to curtail the impact of the digital space. We also looked at the Paradigm initiative Status of Internet Freedom report in Africa which showed that Nigeria was just barely above average. Subsequently, Eloke Olise, Data Analysis & Research Officer for PIND’s Peace Building Program informed participants of how PIND leverages the internet and mobile technology to generate data for its Peace Map. Ebenezar Wikina, NDLink Project Analyst, gave a presentation on NDLink on how PIND leverages it to pioneer development reporting and links partners for Niger Delta development.
TechCultureNG founder and publisher, Adaora Okoli , wrapped up the day with a revealing discussion and engaging debate on how to bridge the digital gender divide. Her presentation was on the Web Foundation Women Rights Online Gender Report Card which showed that Nigeria scored 30% when it came to how women access and use the internet for empowerment. According to the global report card, women are nearly 50% less likely to access the Internet than men and 30-50% less likely to use it for personal empowerment. Participants discussed the reasons for this situation especially with regards to women in poor urban areas in the Niger Delta and possible ways to bridge the divide
The 2nd day was pictures, pictures, pictures, not because we had a lot of slay kings or slay queens in attendance but to learn basic photography skills. Our trainer for that day was Mathew Smart, the PIND Media Engagement officer. There was a practical session afterwards where participants were made to take pictures applying skills learnt. Some were fantastic while some were well let’s say…not picture perfect. lol.
Below are more pictures from the 2 day event