Youth working on advocacy against online women, girls violence

WINDHOEK After representing Namibia at the fifth edition of the African Network Information Centre (AFRINIC) internet summit in Dakar, Senegal from April 29 to May 11, 24-year-old Frieda Lukas is now working on advocacy against online women and girls violence in Namibia through the Internet Society Namibia Chapter (ISNC).

Lukas, currently studying for a honours degree in communications at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), attended the AFRINIC programme, which provides opportunities for individuals who represent organisations and institutions with an interest in internet operations and governance. She participated in AFRINIC's public policy meetings to mould the youth as Africa's future internet leaders. The African Internet Summit is a technical event aiming to bring the information, communication, technical business and tech community in Africa under one roof to talk about Africa's most pressing issues and challenges.

Lukas says she learned that connectivity is a human right and one of the fundamental challenges of the internet.

Countries such as Zambia in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have implemented free basics by creating free internet, which allows access [to] basic services such as education and health, providing mobile internet users across the country free of charge [services], ensuring that everyone is connected and has various choices, says Lukas.

She adds that countries such as Senegal and Ghana have also reviewed their entire education systems from lower to tertiary and incorporate digital systems, ensuring that there is internet accessibility on all educational grounds, and governments and internet providers offer subsidies to students by up to 65% to buy internet data and laptops cheaper.

Lukas says that during the summit she got to partake in developing policies relating to the use of internet in Africa. This is extremely important as all end users have a role to play in developing the internet for their communities. I have learned that end users have the capacity to change policies regarding the internet and it is therefore important for youths to take part in policy discussions to involve under-marginalised communities because without a doubt internet is the future, says Lukas.

With her experience gained from the summit, Lukas hopes to promote advocacy among the youth to get them more involved in discussions relating to the use of the internet, locally and globally, through internet capacity building using training, policy research, policy immersion and facilitating practice among communities with the Internet Society Namibia Chapte, in collaboration with different organisations, institutions, civil society, government and all internet stakeholders.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia