On 19th and 20th October 2021, Women Human Rights Defenders Network Uganda (WHRDN-U) held a training on online gender-based violence and digital security management for 20 LBQT and female sex workers defenders, at Eureka Hotel, in Ntinda.
The training that was facilitated by Ms. Amuge Peace, the Executive Director for Women of Uganda Network, and Ms. Kwikiriza Sandra, the Executive Director for Her Internet, enabled participants gain skills in analyzing and responding to on online gender threats and attacks.
During her facilitation on online gender-based violence, Ms. Amuge Peace told participants that the misuse of digital tools has facilitated online violence forms such as cyber stalking, sexual harassment, defamation and doxing, and advised participants to avoid using the internet aimlessly. She enabled participants to identify incidents of online gender-based violence among themselves such as;
- Ms. Kugonza Farida, an HIV/AIDS activist expressed that she has been going through tough times following an insult she got from Facebook that she is spreading HIV/AIDS after posting experiences of women leaving with HIV/AIDS.
- Ms. Sebabi Kirsteen, a leader of LBQT/Loose network shared that the government has not done enough to protect their rights just like other individuals. Many of LBQT and sex worker have face gender based violence but they cannot seek protection because the policies do not favor them.
- Ms. Sebabi said that Pastor Martin Ssempa uses his social media to trawl LBQT and sex workers defenders and calls them ‘Laba abasiyazi’ meaning ‘Look at Gays’.
Ms. Kwikiriza Sandra, encouraged participants to consider their safety as key and, the importance of using strong passwords saying that, it helps to secure our information and data from cyber criminals/hackers. “Passwords should be changed after three months. Every WHRD should have a password manager which is a program that allows users to store, generate and manage their passwords for local applications and online. It assists to retrieve complex passwords, storing them in one encrypted database.”
Ms. Kwikiriza guided participants on how to install the most recommendable Virtual Private Network (VPN) and Signal App saying that they help to promote anonymity.
Ms. Kwikiriza facilitating on digital security management during LBQT and female sex workers training
Participants conducting skit to demonstrate how online gender-based manifests to physical violence to develop action plans to mitigate online gender-based violence.
As a means to end online gender-based violence among WHRD, LBQT and female sex workers were encouraged to transfer knowledge and skills to colleagues in their respective organizations. On 5th November 2021, Ms. Taaka Irene, and Ms. Sebabi Kirsteen, a team leader of LBQT and Loose network conducted an online gender-based violence and digital security management training with colleagues in their Organizations.
Taaka Irene training her colleagues from Friends Uganda on online gender-based violence and digital security management.