11 December, 2023
AfricanDefenders Partners with Meta in launching an Africa-wide HRD Fund and Digital Security for Activists Curriculum
[Kampala Uganda, 11 December 2023] — The Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network (AfricanDefenders), and Meta, are proud to announce the launch of two transformative projects aimed at safeguarding human rights defenders (HRDs) and online activists across the African continent. These initiatives, the Online Hub Cities: Africa HRD Fund and Digital Security for Activists Curriculum, underscore a shared commitment by the organisations to protecting individuals facing threats, harassment, and persecution due to their online advocacy and mobilisation for human rights.
“Meta is committed to protecting human rights defenders and fostering a safe and inclusive digital environment. We are proud to partner with AfricanDefenders on these important initiatives, which will provide critical support and resources to activists working in the region to make a difference in their communities,” said Mazuba Hanyamaa, Director of Human Rights Policy, Africa Middle East & Turkey, Meta
The Africa HRD Fund is a microgrant program tailored to offer support to HRDs impacted by their online activism. This initiative is aligned with AfricanDefenders’ existing effort, the Ubuntu Hub Cities initiative, which focuses on city-based relocation for HRDs at risk across Africa. The initiative offers holistic and tailor-made support to HRDs confronting risk because of their human rights work in Africa.
The Africa HRD Fund will play a pivotal role in providing crucial support for activists utilising social media platforms to raise awareness on critical issues, especially in contexts where freedom of expression is consistently throttled. The fund aims to offer small grants for emergency situations where online presence has led to imminent physical harm. The small grants will be utilised for legal and safety assistance, temporary relocation, and digital security devices. This commitment aligns seamlessly with Meta’s dedication to upholding human rights principles across its platforms, reinforcing its role in fostering a safer online space for human rights advocacy.
In tandem with the Africa HRD Fund, Meta launched online Digital Security for Activists Curriculum which is a free-to-access online training program focusing on security basics, Community Standards, and available support resources. AfricanDefenders has partnered with Meta to provide virtual and in-person classroom training sessions across the region through a train-the-trainer (TOT) program. The TOT program will then equip selected trainers with the skills, materials, and resources necessary to deliver effective digital security training on Meta’s platforms. Regular assessments and participant feedback will be used to enhance the program’s impact and effectiveness.
“This collaboration marks a significant step forward in ensuring the safety, resilience, and empowerment of human rights defenders across Africa. By combining the strengths of AfricanDefenders and Meta, these projects aim to create a safer online space for activists advocating for positive change,” said Hassan Shire, Chairperson of AfricanDefenders
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About AfricanDefenders and Meta
AfricanDefenders known as the Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network is an umbrella network of five African sub-regional networks working to protect and HRDs on the frontlines of human rights defence in Africa.
Meta builds technologies that help people connect, find communities, and grow businesses. Meta’s platforms, including Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Threads are used by billions of people globally to share experiences, build communities, and advocate for causes that matter to them. Meta is committed to upholding human rights principles and fostering a safe and inclusive digital environment.