Enhancing Digital Literacy Skills

Esther Asimiire Nov. 8, 2021

For more than a decade, we have kept on hearing the song of “Human Rights” being sung by most individuals, in the media, on the streets, you name it! These rights were mainly classified to devastating situations like freedom of speech, fair elections to mention a few. Recently, we are getting to know other aspects of Human Rights such as Digital Human Rights.

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Some may wonder what Digital Human Rights are. Are those really rights? The answer is yes. Digital rights are those human rights and legal rights that allow individuals to access, use, create, and publish digital media or to access and use computers, other electronic devices, and telecommunications networks. The world is quickly shifting to appreciate the internet and technology and its efficiency. Everything seems to be a click away. As the world of internet and technology evolves, it comes with a lot of challenges. The more they grow the more people get creative for good and for bad. The internet and social media have become very powerful tools especially for human rights activists/defenders to quickly put out word. In Africa, internet freedom is slowly increasing though in some countries it is seen as a threat.

Statistics of Internet of Freedom in Africa

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(click to zoom)

Digital Literacy

As internet freedom increases, the more people will be exposed to cyber-attacks like phishing, man in the middle attack and much more - simply because many are not taught the best practices of using the internet for example the usage of encryption or two factor authentication for software installed. Not only do they face these attacks but are stuck with the paper- based way of doing things like accountability or storage, yet software has been created to help ease work. This means that most people are digital illiterate.

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Digital Literacy is our ability to access information using communication technologies and technological tools to create, analyze and communicate information which requires both cognitive and technical skills. Being Digital Literate increases in efficiency for example in tracking revenue, sending invoices or letters and responding to customers’ needs with a working knowledge of spreadsheet and word processing programs like Microsoft Excel and Word. But it also supports communication and connection on a global scale through use of channels like skype and enhances online protection, through use of anti-virus, online encryption tools, two factor authentication and much more.

Ttaala and Digital Human Rights Lab Training

Earlier this year, Digital Human Rights Lab in conjunction with the DefendDefenders, facilitated a training in the field of digital literacy through a combination of sprint and cohort workshops for improved efficiency in the delivery of human rights defenders’ work and advocacy using secure and safe digital tools. This was organized after noticing the digital gap in the community.

DefendDefenders executed the workshop under its flagship program Ttaala. Ttaala illuminates HRDs of digital tools and strategies like encipher that encrypts your emails or messages before sending them to enhance their work. Ttaala participants learn how to survive and thrive defending human rights in the digital age while creating impact-driven projects. This workshop mobilized over 40 participants both onsite and online. Participants collaborated and exchanged tremendous ideas entrenching and improving skills like the use of Microsoft Excel, Data visualization with Raw Graphs, data analysis, proposal/grant writing, drafting a good budget and mental wellbeing. 

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At the end of this activity, we got tremendous feedback from the various participants, most of them being enlightened about easier ways to promote human rights in a secure and efficient way. Throughout the year, there are many of these workshops happening, and we encourage more human rights defenders to make use of this opportunity and attend to learn more skills. To be part of these, keep in tabs here.