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IGF 2020 - Day 6 - WS147 Building digital bridges: engaging young women online

The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the virtual Fifteenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), from 2 to 17 November 2020. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 

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>> MODERATOR:  We are going to start now. I would like to thank you all for making the time and joining us in our session today. Welcome, everyone, to our session, Building Digital Bridges.  Today we are going to hear an amazing presentation from amazing fierce women who are trying their best to build bridges, and I know by the end of the session you will be familiar with the concept.

I am Nesmah Mansoor. I will be your moderator for the session.  My colleague, Anna, she will be helping me with the chat and Q and A.

  For myself, I am from Yemen, and my background is in the feminist peace building.  I'm sure it's not your first IGF session nor your first Zoom session.  We have been stuck with Zoom since the beginning of the pandemic, so you know that if you have any questions, please put them in the Q and A.  And if you have any comments, put them in the chat.  My colleague, Anna, will be monitoring the chat and she will be capturing all of your comments.

Now, I would like to start presenting the organisations our speakers come from.  So today we are going to hear from three different organisations.  They have different approaches, but they all do work in building bridges and trying to engage women.  First, we will hear from TechSoup.  It is a nonprofit intercessional network that is trying to build dynamic bridges between civil society, change agents, to give them the tools and the resources to be able to use technology to create more equal world.

Second, we will hear from RNW media.  It's headquarters is in the Netherlands.  RNW media is working on creating online community, and through all of these communities they also design the content, engagement and moderation.  RNW media has two thematic programmes, the first is citizen voice, which is more into citizenship and governance and all of the topics that stem around it.  The second is love matters, which covers the topics of sexual and reproductive rights.  RNW media works in 12 countries around the world including the Middle East and North Africa.

We are going finally to hear from Huna Libya. It's based in Libya, and it aims to create a safe and healthy space for all young Libyan people from different ethnic backgrounds, intellectual backgrounds, to just have a respectful dialogue.  As you may know, in a foreign country the media is polarized and Huna Libya is a safe space for those young people who don't find themselves between the polarized media to have the dialogue.  It encourages young change makers and influencers to share stories to inspire other young people in the country.  And now after introducing the organisations our speakers come from, I'm happy to introduce our first speaker, Ms. Anna Kuliberda.

She is an independent consultant of TechSoup.  If you first sit with Anna, you would think she is a technical person, because she is all about tech, but believe me, she is not.  She is a fierce feminist who is trying to create this bridge between the complicated tech world that activists like you, like me, do not understand, and the complex activism world that tech people do not understand.

Please welcome Anna.  Anna, the floor is yours to start your presentation.

>> ANNA KULIBERDA:  Thank you so much, Nesmah. This is the best introduction I have ever heard about myself.  I will record it and listen if I am in doubt any time.  Thank you so much.

Welcome, everybody.  It's so great to be able to talk with you about building bridges for tech for good innovation, and this is what I'm going to tell you.  Let me share my screen.  This should work.  Yes.  I think I'm sharing my screen now.  Great.

So as Nesmah said, I work with TechSoup Europe to be precise, and I am working mostly in central and Eastern Europe, which is a lot of countries, a lot of languages and different types of activism, a lot of really mission‑driven people.  And TechSoup really turns into innovation.  How can we support innovation for activists?

And let's go here.  Yes, so what I want to say is we have two key assumptions in our project and those are based in data, in statistics but also from what we knew.  And one assumption is about activists that in general they are not tech savvy as Nesmah she isn't tech savvy and tech empowered.  On the ground we can see mostly women so on the C level we can meet men but on the project coordinate E. compliant builders are mostly women working hard with communities.

And women in general, not even only activists are discouraged from STEAM from the early age.  So they are not really happy to be creative and innovative in technology.  They do the job with the means they have, but technology is say bit scary if not discouraging them from just going and looking at it.  And then we have this human part, the that learning takes time and requires safe space.

So we took into account while building our bridges and projects.  And then develop real thing that my colleagues will tell you more about women in tech, including are not really safe.  It's not say safe space in general to be a woman, to ask questions, to have opinions.  It requires attention to build this safe space.  And on the other hand, we have amazing tech experts to are full of goodwill and they are lacking the teaching capacity and understanding how it works when people are being taught, and they are not good in communication outside of the tech genre as well.

So they need translators.  Tech for Good volunteers are usually coming with a basket of solutions, and sometimes the solutions, they are ‑‑ so it's like the organisations need to adjust to the solution, not the other way.  So that makes the solution not really feasible and not sustainable.  And the pile of many tech solutions that didn't work is growing, and in general members of organisations are discouraged from trying again because, well, it's a waste of time.  Because it never works.

And then you can see this is working with activists in Serbia.  And teaching about open data.  And you can see there is this glare of super hero.  He helps women in building, in building capacity.  So we want to change it.  We want to have this not one superhero, but be a community working.  For better world.  And tech experts are mostly men.  That's statistics.  We can't avoid it for now.  We want to change it, but for now.  So in the end, those are not sustainable solutions.  Someone comes here with algorithms, but I remember social media, open data, probably soon something else is going to come and then a few months later this smart person says this problem is more difficult than I thought.  I can't solve it with just one solution.  So we want to act against it, and how do we do that?

In our community projects, we wanted to build bridges, which are proactive processes for connecting the cultures.  We wanted horizontally to make sure that all process are counted and then when it comes to empowering women to make sure that those that we know that are not really heard, they will be amplified.  So to keep the balance, and this is the role of project coordinator or bridge person or a translator to make sure that this balance is kept.

And I want to tell you about especially one project, but as you can see, we learn from the goal, and there are many different projects.  And I want to show you how did we build bridges in transparency this TCEE, which is Transparency Central in Eastern Europe.  And we propose activities for many different groups, experts, beginners, activists more, technologists more so they can meet and actually some initiatives and innovation can be cooked.

Otherwise, those are different silos and we wanted them to meet.  You can see those are hands‑on work.  There are educational activities like workshops, and there are also resources that you can, that you can learn from in your own pace.  And inspiration as much as we could.

Online and offline.  And we served this platform for people to meet and if they have an idea to come to us and to say like, hey, we need your support and we want to build something specific.  And this is the building bridges.  It needs to be 360 degrees because somehow different people have different needs and this is what we wanted to cover here.

And this can be kind of gender blind, but what we always added is making all voices count.  So supporting non, not technological voices, amplifying the concerns, trying to show what does it mean when you are an activist, what are your assets and what do you work with?  What is your content?  Because sometimes technical people don't see the other side, like to be able to understand the jargon, to be able to understand the potential, to be excited about technology, not only scared.  Making, so bridging the gaps in communication.  That was one of my, it is still one of my most favorite things, like to translate one to another, sometimes giving me, asking the serious questions for other people to feel free to ask something smarter but never feel like it's a stupid question. So I ask them all beforehand.

And this balance between interest of activists and tech experts so not the solution pushing organisation to do something, but rather organisation asking for something that they can work with.  And in the end, supporting women leadership, and empowering women.  This was one of the things that we never explicitly put in our policies, but it was always done, mostly because the whole team was female.

So our team understood the issues of feminism from our own perspective, and this is what we wanted for all of the women that were participating in our projects as well to feel safe with us and also to grow technologically and in terms of innovation.

So we wanted to show to the women activists that it's not their individual issue that they don't feel safe.  It's a common issue.  There are statistics, women in STEAM, women in technology, it's a big problem.  So the change needs to happen on the organizational level as well.  So they don't feel lonely, they don't feel like they are not good enough.

So this is a very common understanding of empowerment through showing the system.  We were proactively acting against sexism in terms of like we were not organising, we were really working hard on men Splaining when teaching tech experts, saying this is men Splaining, can you be more inclusive.  And especially in central and Eastern Europe we are promoting women tech experts.

She is at the reach of our hand and she most probably speaks your language.  It's not only English.  And in the end, we are very strong for supporting changing organizational culture from the more competitive culture into more collaboration and listening to each other.  We want to avoid this.  Women extremely bored when being men Splained, this is me and my friend at the Conference and when a man that I remember but I will not say who that was, really explained to us something that we really knew.  Thank you so much.

>> MODERATOR:  Thank you so much for this Anna presentation.  A wick reminder, please do not forget to put your questions in the Q and A answers.  And so we can have the conversation going.  Now, I'm going to introduce our next speaker, Jahou Nyan.  She is focusing on her work in the citizen voice project.  Through her work, Ms. gentleman Jahou is focusing on gender and how to bring women into the communities RNW media is create.  She has a very long experience in West Africa when she was working on development media, she was trying to build the bridge between the ordinary people and the mass media.  Let's welcome Jahou.  The floor is yours to amaze us with your presentation.  You are muted.

>> JAHOU NYAN:  Thank you very much for that introduction, and thank you, Anna, for your presentation.  I will just sort of try and continue from where you left off and talk more about RNW media's gender inclusion approach.  So for us our objective is to ensure that young men and women in all of their diversities in the different countries we work in have the tools they need, the resources they need to fully participate in their social, economic, political life both online and offline.  So to do that, we build inclusive, effective and efficient platforms for online interaction and we always complement that with offline activities, which is also part of our inclusion strategy.  We will talk more about how we do that in this presentation.

Now, our inclusive approach is built on five pillars, and the five pillars we talk about are building inclusive teams, making sure that both men and women feel comfortable and are part of our teams, are producing content and moderating platforms, and actually completely streamlined within our organisation.

We also brought inclusive communities, inclusive partnerships are important to support our work when it comes to certain contexts and also we produce inclusive content and we make sure that the technology we use is inclusive, as inclusive as possible, and as you know, there is always an ongoing iterative process where we try to improve on what we are doing.  So let's go straight into the pillar one, inclusive teams.

When it comes to gender we make sure we are actively recruiting women and men to ensure gender balance in our teams, and we don't just recruit in terms of the gender balance, but also in terms of demographic, socioeconomic class, political and religious ideas. These are the different variables or the different touch points that we use to ensure that not just one type of woman is on our platforms.  We also encourage women to, for instance, write under pseudonyms if needed and that's also included in our approach to ensure that our platforms are safe, creating safe spaces.  Being a woman online is not always the safest thing.

And we also have targeted capacity building for women, because they face peculiar challenges when working especially in online spaces and they need that capacity to meet those challenges.  Inclusive tech, in a lot of countries we work in data is a luxury and women are usually at the bottom of the pile when did it comes to socioeconomic indicators.  How do we ensure we have women starting the conversation, how do we ensure that the women on the streets in Burkina Faso actually has access to platforms we have.

We do this by making sure our platforms are as data light as possible, fast and efficient.  In Africa, for instance, usually a standard work page takes 30 seconds to load, and it costs 3 megabytes.  They charge per megabyte for data.  For our RNW media we cut that down to 3.5 seconds and 0.3 megabytes to load.  You can also get free access to information without using a lot of data.  So that's our contribution to ensuring access to the information that women need.

Inclusive partnerships, now, there are two ways we do this.  The first I will mention is online and offline links.  RNW media focuses on online interaction.  We all know that you don't live just online.  You live in the real world so we need to create the links and close the feedback loop.  So we partner with CSOs and NGOs that have a specific gender focus to complete our work.  That way they can complement our work.  That way if a conversation is gaining traction online, we can organize offline interactions and debates with women involved so that those who do not have access to online world can feel part of the conversation and understand what a viral hashtag is all about.

Another way we partner is to make sure we have an Omni channel approach where we are producing content not just for web sites but for social media, we have interactive videos, podcasting, we are always experimenting to make sure that different audiences have access to different kinds of information.  Inclusive content, for us, content is key.  Without the content, a lot of the work we do would be (?) and I'm just going to mention, we have ten principles for producing gender‑sensitive content.

I'm just going to highlight five.  The first thing is voice.  You need to make sure that the woman's voice is heard in your content.  If you have men writing, always writing or always producing the content, that will become the dominant voice in the content.  So it's also related to inclusive teams.  We need to challenge gender norms and make sure that traditional ways or exclusion airy ways of talking about women, we actually challenge them on our content and say what if we try to look at this from a different perspective, what happens.

Language is important, gender-neutral language.  You don't only sort of box women within a certain, a certain narrative just because of the language they are using.  The last thing I will talk about is topic.  So you need to cover topics on the nexus of gender and the thematic area of the project and program.  So if you are not talking about issues that deal with gender, then there is something a little bit missing in your content.  You need to look at that.

And finally, engagement in voice.  You always have to have engagement in voice.  And Reema will tell you why you always must engage in boys, you cannot just engage women and girls.  Inclusive media, we have a wide variety of people with different kinds of literacy skills.  We try to make it as visual as possible.  We use simple, straight forward language.  We have online, we use website, we use infographics, all of these are part of our gender inclusive strategies when it comes to producing inclusive content.

One of them is smart targeting.  A lot of times we put a piece of content online and you see the men come and take over the conversation.  And once the tone has been set it's hard to wrest that control.  Where we have specific content where we are looking to service the needs of young women, we target them first, let them set the tone.  Let them start the conversation and then we open up to a wider community to now come and contribute and see where the tensions are, where the challenges are, and also where the points of agreement are.

Usually those points of agreement that you can use to make the biggest inroads when it comes to challenge and social norms.  So Reema again will talk about the practicalities.  Moderation is important for safe spaces, we don't claim to stop all of the trolls at the door.  We can't stop them all.  What we do is we have trained moderators that can actually recognize certain reactions or certain comments and have actually got sort of a guide book on how to react to those things, and women feel safer in our space than somewhere else or on social media or somewhere else on the Internet.  We also encourage sometimes women to get into private messages, for instance, direct messages we try not to ban people because the whole point is to get diverse voices.  Heard.  There should be a certain level of respect and decorum when talking on our platforms.  So this moderation is also very important.

It creates an inclusive and gender-friendly space.  Our moderators are usually 50/50 men and women to ensure that certain things that can fly under the radar, who may not see it or recognize that this is a certain form of maybe harassment according to social norms and a female moderator can step in and say, listen, hold on, this conversation is going out of hand. Let's try and bring it back within the set remits of community guidelines and how we treat each other in communities online.  So just to summarize what we do when it comes to gender inclusion.

We make our websites lean.  We need to make sure that women can access it and that as much as possible, finances is not a barrier to access.  We use mobile first because we are targeting and we know that it's mostly on the mobile phone.  Mobile strategy is important.  It's included in terms of trying to find young women where they are.  In a lot of countries we work in, WhatsApp and Facebook are very big and TikTok is gaining traction.  We are doing a lot of work when we are young women on WhatsApp or Facebook, but if we want to talk to duty bearers, we go and Tweet because that's where they are.

Gender-neutral language is important.  Complementing offline with online is very important.  We encourage women to join our teams and we train them.  We use visuals and videos to reach illiterate people or people with disabilities.  We make sure everything is as accessible as possible.

And it looks as if strategies are working.  Next, I'm taking a little bit, one of the, one of our colleagues will tell you how much they are working.  If you look at this chart here, you can see that the engagement rates, the average engagement rates for Facebook pages for women in 2019 is much lower than what we have on our platforms which shows that us trying to get more women to actually come out and to speak and to own and challenge and create a voice in our spaces, those strategies are actually working.  And thank you very much for your attention, and if you have any questions, I will be staying on to answer them.  Thank you.  Is.

>> MODERATOR:  Thanks a lot.  You basically set the tone for our next speaker, Ms. Reema Hamidan, she is the project coordinator for Huna Libya.  She started off as a contributor and now as a young woman she is leading a very big team of members and more than 100 contributors Libya has and Huna Libya is one of the largest youth networks in the country with more than 35,000 followers and this is not something new for Reema.  She has also been heavily involved before joining Huna Libya team in the development sector and from this simple introduction, we are going to see an amazing representation.  Reema, the floor is yours.  Please start your presentation.

>> REEMA HAMIDAN:  Thank you, Nesmah.  And thank you, Jahou for presenting.  My presentation will be about Libya's experience with effective and gender‑neutral digital engaging content, and gender inclusiveness.  So as a start, the main key takeaways is that you can take from this presentation is the benefits of smart targeting, dealing with online polarization, steps of smart targeting with examples and the results that we found during one of our campaigns.

So how is smart targeting for Huna Libya platform.  With one of our examples of using smart targeting tool is during one of our campaigns we had this year which is about gender equality.  Its name was same.  The campaign reached 970,000 Facebook page.  It was talking about the gender equality challenges in Libyan society.  I will show you examples of how we use smart targeting in this campaign.

The goal of the campaign was to spread awareness of gender equality, highlighting facts, rights and laws that aim to support gender equality in Libya that focus on economic and socioeconomic changes.  But what we noticed at the beginning of the campaign that most of the dominated discussion makers were men and women who were against gender equality accusing the content of delivering western agenda.

In general, women were less encouraged in the discussions why and the content was relevant social examples they can rely on.  And as Jahou mentioned women's voices were very important for us to show, so we were prepared with smart targeting strategy.  When was the smart targeting strategy used in our platform is, it was used for both moderation and content to decrease the polarization of the discussions and prevent shifting to a black hash and into the campaign.  And most important to open this page for more women and men to discuss how they define equality and where they need to see it in the society.

So the main steps that we have taken into this campaign was mainly three steps with a targeted promotion using Facebook as to engage more women in discussions, creating an audience‑based content to help more women see examples of other commentaries, and gender inclusive language as the era quick language has two lines for both females and males.

As a start, well, using promotion for micro targeted groups, at the start of the campaign we found that Facebook as we were targeting more men than women within our platform.  So we found that women were reached before using smart targeting micro target groups of females 18‑35 was 7.5,000, but after a promotion of a target audience of females we reach the 12,000 women which encouraged more women to see the content.

We created content from women's comments and we shared it in our platform.  On the left we saw one of the womb's comments was a question to Libya audience saying which you ask the women on the page what is missing for women in Libya to be equal to men.  We published it during the campaign.  It created a diverse discussions and encouraged people, women to share views on gender equality.

As a result one of the women were shedding the right, you can find the women's comment about what is missing is appreciation on the basis of gender.  That he/she is a human being with rights.

Sharing a photo of a woman influencer supporting gender equality.  She is an activist female with a confident smile about women empowerment and gender equality.  This will help more women to be more comfortable to talk about rights and gender equality in their lives while at the same time making comments safe for them to communicate with moderation strategy for, to avoid any harassment or bullying in the comments so they can find a very safe space for them to interact.

One of the results we found that more women were encouraged even in our private messages, bun female shared a story of her daily life, discrimination with house work and she found that it's always been looked at her role.  She shares her story and we published it in our platform in Facebook, and we have many women commenting that this happens the same for them in their daily lives.

Also we used a gender inclusive language as was said it's important to have a gender neutral language visually and verbally, not just by wording but by using visuals that contain both females and males in the content to help more see that this matter and this issue is for both genders, not only for specific targeted group.

And they found that, we found that more women and men are engaging in the discussions with very positive approach.  As a result of this campaign, we have a really successful results.  We found out that more women are requesting legal rights.  They wanted, they shared part of the Libyan laws which are against women's rights and they wanted to change.  We found that there was a support from the influencer and activists online sharing their content, our content and sharing voices.

We found out that men's voices are very important in the matter of gender equality as they might have a different perspective and they always should be included in the discussions about gender equality as to men and boys' voices matter because they also support or have different perspectives of the topics that we are talking about.

So that's the main results of what we found in our campaign about gender equality Libya using smart targeting.  You can follow us on Facebook and check our website if you want to find more about the content we are producing and thank you for listening to this discussion and I thank you all for presenting today.

>> CHAIR:  Thank you, Reema for such an amazing presentation.  I can say nothing about the presentation, but amazing, eye opening, we just heard three different stories, but they are all interlinked.  We heard from Anna how we should bridge the gap between the tech people and the activist from Jahou that gender inclusion is not a term but more of an inclusive approach that needs more work and Reema just told us how contextualizing any strategy is important.  So we can invite more women to talk.  Thank you, ladies for the amazing presentations.  I salute you.

And now our audience, we want to go to you.  You have heard three amazing, three amazing presentations and we have a question for you.  We are going to give you one minute to think about an answer and you can put the answer in the chat.  And Anna will also put the question in the chat, but our question to you is in your context, what are the main challenges and differences for women to have their voice heard in the tech/digital space in comparison to men?  We would love to hear stories from your own local communities and from the experiences that you have about women, women's inclusion in the tech world.

I can give you kind of an idea from my example in Yemen one of the main challenges women do not own Smart Phones.  Many women are not allowed.  If they had Smart Phones and if they were allowed to join social media they are not allowed to have usernames.  Their social media platform is always under the radar of the family, so it is just a very complicated and we would love to hear from you.

While waiting for your answers, we are going to start with the Q and A.  We have got some very good questions from you, and I will start with the first question we have from our colleague who is joining us from Uganda.  I think Anna and Jahou we are going to, the one who would love to answer it, she is asking that we are about to start implementing a project in Uganda which will bring women and provide them with basic digital and mobile skills through public and community libraries.

Do you have any recommendation how to make it successful?  Please, Anna, you can start.

>> ANNA KULIBERDA:  It's a brilliant question.  So my educator experience is saying make it as handsome as possible as soon as possible.  Because overcoming the first fear is, it takes time.  Sometimes we, so I have my experiences with building big programmes and showing people different possibilities, and they never actually touched the tool.  And that is a failure that I was really not happy with the result.  So we started to push into the usage of the tools whatever tools it was.

And so this is one.  And the second, making the content relevant, and this is definitely Jahou will speak to that.  So making the content relevant, and if you are building kind of political capacities so speaking your own voice, ask questions that will be friendly in a way, like I can understand what you are asking for.  But from my educator experience, make them use the tools.

So otherwise, it's like just wasting this time when they are just reading about tools.

>> JAHOU NYAN:  I agree completely, Anna, make them use the tools and if possible if you can see how they can apply the tools in their day‑to‑day life so it doesn't get siloed in their mind that I only use this for this.  You want them to become fully digitally literate.  You said you are going to do it in public and community libraries, so I would say you should have a very good understanding of the social norms.  You should be comfortable to sit in a public library and be seen on the computer.  Is there possibly going to be a challenge there.

Sometimes it's the little things what, time do you set up this thing in the public library?  Is it a time when they are cooking or watching for kids and you start seeing after an initial start of everyone being on board, you start seeing absenteeism and lateness because it's not fitting within their time.

So these are the little, little things that come within your context, so make sure you have a very thorough understanding of the context you are working with of the responsibilities of the social forms and try and make the tools as practical as possible even in their day‑to‑day life, even in things like, I don't know, you are teaching them a digital tool for civic voice, but you show them how you can use the same tool or same approach to get a recipe, just to make them more, I know this is kind, this ‑‑ what's the word I'm looking for, stereotype, maybe they are not cooking, I don't know, whatever it is, whatever target it is.

If your target group is seamstresses, something that would be useful in daily life as well so you can see the benefit of using digital tools outside of your own specific goal for your project.

>> MODERATOR:  Thank you, Jahou and Anna for the answers.  I think I have a question for Reema.  She asks about you mentioned smart targeting.  Does this include the intersectionality between gender and race?

>> REEMA HAMIDAN:  So smart targeting is maybe not only about one specific target group, not only about men and women is part of my example, but it's about targeting a specific group of people that you are interested to engage during the content, whether it's, whether you find it's not that much engaged or the messages that you are using is important for them.  So this tool had the word and your voice or your message to reach these groups to be more engaged in the content and encouraging their voices to be more included in the discussions online and digital spaces.

So this is a tool to use it, to empower more people from different backgrounds in the digital discussions online.  So I hope this answers your questions and maybe and someone else will also add.

>> MODERATOR:  Thank you Reema.  Did either of you want to add to this question?

>> JAHOU NYAN:  Yes, basically just as Reema said, it depends who you are trying to target and what variables or what measures you are using to target.  Smart targeting tool is usually also kind of dependent on what the social media platforms give to you.  So if they are not tracking certain points like they are looking for, for instance, if they are not tracking race and you want to smart target on race, then you have to look for more imaginative ways of doing the smart targeting.  By targeting groups to you know have got a certain racial profile that you are targeting.

So it does include different intersectionalities, gender, race, ache, it includes geographic location as well.  And you can just set it according to the kind of audience that you are looking for or your targeting, yes.

>> MODERATOR:  Thanks a lot, Jahou, and you basically also gave us an opening for our next question from, from one of our participate ands.  She asks that, she mentioned the recruit in a way that has different religions and social, socioeconomic status representing.  How do you ensure that this is not something that people put on their CV or are likely to discuss during interviews?

>> JAHOU NYAN:  In some of the countries we work in, it's pretty much straight forward process because some of these demographics are actually divided geographically as well.  I will give you an example of let's say a country like Nigeria where you have the southern states being predominantly Christian and the northern being predominantly Muslim.

If you make sure you have bloggers both from the south and from the north, even if the bloggers themselves may not be Christian or Muslim based on the geographic location they live in, they do have enhanced appreciation of the social norms based on the different religions and different areas they work in.  For a lot of countries we work in especially in Sub‑Saharan Africa it's a straight forward process.

In other cases where we actually see that this is a gap within our team and we need to bridge it, for instance, when we put certain content online and you have a lot of backlash, people saying that, for instance, this content is not sensitive based on my X or based on my social class or based on my economic status or my political ideology and we get that feedback, then we have to recruit someone who can help us understand where our audience is coming from especially if we do not recognize ourselves that this is a gap that perhaps we have on the team.

Crucial partnerships become important.  We have a wide network of partners both from traditional media, journalists, blogging associations from NGOs and CSOs and if you have a CSO who has worked within that particular niche who have targeted that particular audience in the past, this he can help us to bridge the gap and do the recruitment.  The recruitment is not just based on cities, it is once you have a wide geographic spread, in some countries we work in we are guaranteed to have the inclusiveness showing up when you look at your staffing.

Other thing is when we are doing recruitment, to make sure that we make it as attractive as possible.  Sometimes people might feel intimidated that I don't have a Master's Degree.  There is no way I can write on this platform.  Or I don't have a Bachelor's Degree.  So we make sure that in advertisements we try and make it simple and say, listen, this is something that if you have the drive and if you have the knowledge, we can give you the training and you can still come on board and do it.  So that's another way we try and get diverse people on board.  I hope that answers the question.

>> MODERATOR:  Yes.  Thank you, sand now I have a question to Anna.  Anna, I would like you to explain to us what should be done to ensure that Digital Inclusion efforts actually respond to the local needs of women?

>> ANNA KULIBERDA:  It's about more than just gender inclusion.  It's seeing the intersections of where we come from and not only seeing but having our ears open and to listen what are the knees, not to have too many assumptions and to actually listen.  It's kind of basics of activist that we are working with our communities, so trying to ‑‑ if you come from outside of the given community, listen more than talk, and always involve more people than just you in actual actions.

It requires enormous humidity, like to really be able ‑‑ humility to be able to overcome the privilege of like I will come and help you, and rather believing that people can solve their own problems.  So I, as a kind of working with communities as a coach, like I cheer for you more than you might believe in yourself right now, but I will not make the work for you.  I will help wherever I can.  And I think a lot of development initial initiatives are kind of like I will tell you what to do, while on the other hand we need to actually listen in order for the solutions to be sustainable.

That's exactly like this comic strip, like this looks simple, why aren't you doing this?  You should be doing that for a long time.  And six months later, it's really more complicated than that, so learning about how complicated it is beforehand and making all of the experts involved being as humble.

So it's simple, but very complicated.  It's not easy.  And that's why we are where we are right now, because if it was so easy to implement, it would be, but being aware of their own bias, of our own biases, that helps, but it's a constant work also on ourselves when we are trying to help.

>> MODERATOR:  Thank you, thanks a lot, Anna, we have questions about a participant from South Korea, and he mentioned that the divide between men and women, is not that much and considering about participation into Internet Governance, most of them, most of the members of the Internet Governance group were men, and he is asking how or he or she is asking how could I empower women to participate in Internet Governance.

Would you like to answer the question,.

>> ANNA KULIBERDA:  I can very quickly, not to take the spot from our brilliant panelists, I can ‑‑ it's a huge problem.  Under the open data community, I can totally welcome open heroines community who are women who got fed up with men leading the open data world saying it's gender neutral and net people were facing difficulties all of the time.

So the women in open heroines, you can find them, they can help if you are a woman.  Join open heroines, I totally can recommend it.  I'm a member and I love it.  And also call for old community, it's bringing technology and activists and this community is really working hard on empowering women so they can take more space in their own respective countries.

>> MODERATOR:  Thanks a lot, Anna, unfortunately I am running out of time, I know there are many great questions and many great stories in the chat, but unfortunately we need to wrap up.  Thanks a lot, everyone, for your active participation and for the questions, and I want to take the time just to give you the key takeaways from our session that maybe we have, maybe we have, many people have strategies but these strategies need to be tailored to the communities and they need to encourage people, encourage women mainly to speak in a men‑dominated world, which is the digital world as well.

We have, we have heard about the importance of having both online and offline activities to build the bridges between women and the online communities, and I want to take these last few moments to give us, for my respected speakers to give us, one, their final remarks and commitments as the IGF community states.  We can start with you, Reema.

>> REEMA HAMIDAN:    I think it will be very important for you to focus more on engaging more women in content creating visually within our platforms as it is, the rate of participants in this section is not equivalent.  This is a goal for Libya to maintain, and in general it's important to include women in creating content for social media to be more, to have a wider perspective for gender inclusiveness goals for these spaces.

Thank you.

>> MODERATOR:  Thank you, Reema.

>> JAHOU NYAN:  Thank you for a very, very interactive session, and the questions were also very interesting and trying to understand the different perspectives.  We will try and get the questions we didn't get by typing in some answers for you as well.  And in terms of commitment, I am going to work hard to make sure by December 2020 we will improve the digital literacy skills of at least 100 young women between 15 and 30 years old who live and work in Sub‑Saharan Africa.  Getting these digital literacy skills are crucial especially since we have seen what has happened during the COVID‑19 pandemic where those without have been greatly even more disadvantaged and we need to continue to build those bridges together to ensure that that digital gender divide is finally closed.  Thanks.

>> MODERATOR:  Thanks.  Now, Anna.

>> ANNA KULIBERDA:  So commitment ‑‑ in the community‑oriented innovation capacity building project is working also on the organizational culture, not only on technology, but digging deeper into understanding the culture and adjusting technology and innovation, so it can be more sustainable and more people will be able to take advantage of the innovation.

>> MODERATOR:  Thanks a lot, Anna, thank a lot, everyone, for taking the time and joining our session.  We really appreciate your participation.  We really appreciate all of the comments you have given us.

As you saw in the chat, our colleague, Anna, has put the links for the organisations, and if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out.  I wish you have a very pleasant event with us, and you have learned a lot about the concept of building bridges.

, personally, I have been learning a lot working with these amazing ladies and I hope we see more women involved in the tech world that they think they are technicians and they are tech experts while they are not, so, again, thanks a lot, and let's, and let's keep in touch and we will see you in other events.  Thank you.

 

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