At least twenty-five women and girls from Kigezi sub region were on Friday trained on digital Security and urged to promote safer digital skills in their communities.
The women and girls have been the most vulnerable on the internet especially on social media platforms and this has resulted into unwanted pregnancies and early marriages and other worst, unthinkable stories.
The training that was carried out by Girls Must Uganda with support from Defend Defenders, the Belgian and Dutch embassies in Uganda at Heras Resort in Kabale town also intended to equip women and girls with new skills to use the internet responsibly.
Maurine Tukahirwa, the Executive Director of Girls Must Uganda noted that there’s a need to improve digital spaces for girls and women; equip them with digital knowledge and skills so that they will be ambassadors of change in their communities.
“Most cases of teenage pregnancy in Kigezi vulnerable communities remain undocumented due to a number of challenges normally centered on accessibility to safe and secure digital platforms for Adolescent Girls to raise their issues. That’s why this Digital Skilling Initiative is so timely to equip young women and girls in Kigezi sub region with digital safety and security skills to strengthen their safety both on and off line” There’s a need to bridge the digital gender divide gap in the Kigezi sub region starting from the most vulnerable communities with high risks of teenage pregnancies and early forced marriages. Digital safety skills will help enhance girls’ focused livelihoods especially in the continuous changing internet generations.” Tukahirwa was quoted.
More than 7,000 early pregnancies among teenagers were recorded during Covid-19 lockdown in the districts of Kabale, Kisoro, Kanungu, Rukungiri, Rukiga and Rubanda.
Tukahirwa revealed that most girls and young women who’re on social media don’t care about the data they use on social media, resulting in unknown attacks.
According to Tukahirwa, most early marriages and early pregnancies among these women and girls are strongly attached to poor use of the internet.
“Be careful of what you post on the internet, it’s being watched by everyone on the internet, some are naked, some are rapists, some are thieves and others are innocent people. There are for instance, men who are on the internet masquerading as women, using pictures of women, you talk to them and finally land on a man. Please, use the internet responsibly. The internet can be a source of income and as young women and girls; we need to learn how to responsibly use the internet to earn a living” Tukahirwa was quoted.
Macklin Kamusiime, the LC3 chairperson for southern Division in Kabale Municipality noted that the training was timely, as young women and girls were being bullied on the internet due to lack of proper knowledge compared to their male counterparts.
“It is very important for Women and Girls to understand deeply how the internet works. Online Gender Based Violence has however created intimidation for them to actively engage online. This training is timely for young women and girls” Kamusiime said