07 Jul 2020 Digital literacy workshops empower Palestinian women in Gaza Strip
Sameera Zoroub, who graduated with a degree in media, used to think that her social media accounts were “secure and protected.”
But when she attended a Digital Security workshop organized in late June by Community Media Centre, a Palestinian NGO, she realized that there was so much she didn’t know about safely navigating the mobile and online world.
At the end of the workshop, Sameera said she “learned how to protect my personal information and myself from hacking, bullying, information theft, and blackmail.” She also “learned how to employ my personal accounts in a proper and positive way and that every action we do online might be used against us.” Sameera said she now feels “an obligation to deliver this knowledge to others.”
Sameera is one of the 20 female graduates trained on the safe use of digital media by CMC, through a project supported by WACC Global. Other project activities include sensitization sessions for marginalized women from all over the Gaza Strip, including gender-based violence survivors and internally displaced women. Topics will include digital media literacy, information protection and digital privacy. A guidebook on digital media literacy and an educational video is also being planned.
“This project seeks to build the capacity of approximately 700 vulnerable women to understand, access, evaluate, and analyse different types and sources of online information as well as to communicate on digital media platforms as competent media consumers and contributors to promote their rights,” said Lorenzo Vargas, program manager of WACC’s Communication for Social Change.
The project “takes place in a context in which Palestinian women are disproportionately affected by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its social, political and economic consequences,” said Vargas. “In addition, a patriarchal social climate in Palestine often deprives them of their rights, including their right to freedom of expression and communication.”
Women in the Gaza Strip, especially vulnerable women, often lack the necessary knowledge and skills to use digital media platforms to advocate for their rights and highlight their concerns in a safe way, added Vargas. “This exposes them to risks and threats such as misinformation and disinformation.”
Banan Ashour, another Digital Security workshop participant, said she will use the knowledge she gained not only to protect herself. “I realize now that I have a responsibility towards my peers, my family and my community to correctly deliver the information I learned from the training to them so they can protect their privacy.”
The workshop discussed issues such as electronic harassment, electronic espionage, spyware detection and protection.
Established in 2007, CMC seeks to create a human rights-oriented Palestinian media that enhances the values of democracy, human dignity and equality.