To respond to cases of Online Gender Based Violence (OGBV), especially against women and other vulnerable groups, a community of women in technology, TechHer, has launched a digital platform.
Named “Kuram”, the platform is designed to provide resources to address OGBV threats affecting different vulnerable groups across gender, sexual orientation, class, and background.
Kuram, which translates to “keep me safe” in Tiv, one of Nigeria’s many languages that is commonly spoken across the North-central states and other parts of the country, was launched in Abuja with the support of Hivos through the Digital Defenders Partnership.
While unveiling the platform, TechHer Executive Director, Chioma Agwuegbo, spoke on the need for actionable solutions like Kuram, even as she decried “unnoticed and silent victims of OGBV lost to poor data and the non-availability of avenues to report violations.”
Data on violence storage
Ms Agwuegbo further explained the platform’s ability to collect and store data on digital violence while “advancing advocacy efforts and evidence for the remediation of cases.”
“TechHer has invested a lot of resources to demystify technology for young women and girls through our school tour projects. It is a shame that while we encourage women to access and wield technology more, they are discouraged by the violence perpetrated against them in digital spaces.
“Online violence goes beyond revenge porn; it is bullying, doxing, deep fakes, amongst other forms of violence perpetrated against women and other vulnerable groups on the internet,” she said.
The launch of Kuram had in attendance stakeholders from civil society and digital platform founders.
In a goodwill message, the Country Director of Plan International, Charles Usei, reiterated the importance of protecting women’s safety online and the need for survivors’ justice stories to be shared to encourage others to speak up.
The Executive Director of DIGICIVIC Initiative, Mojirayo Ogunlana, condemned the fact that far too many citizens, especially OGBV victims, are unaware of their digital rights due to the ambiguity of laws in Nigeria.
She recommended the simplification of relevant laws to boost awareness of internet user rights.
“Simplifying these laws provides a pathway for better understanding and, in turn, helps people to be aware that they can seek legal recourse when their rights have been violated online. Several cases have been taken to the courts simply by enabling awareness of personal rights,” she said.
Speaking of efforts to advance OGBV awareness, the TechHer Women’s Rights & Safety Officer, Amina Salaudeen, said they have facilitated in-person and virtual workshops for over 1,000 women and girls nationwide.
“These training sessions aimed to create OGBV awareness and provide resources, including a homegrown digital security toolkit and sharing relatable stories to encourage victims to step forward,” she said.
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