SafeSisters Fellow Empowers Women Journalists and Human Rights Defenders with 2-Day Digital Safety Training in Liberia

Monrovia – A two-day digital safety and security training aimed at enhancing the digital protection of women journalists and women human rights defenders in Liberia has successfully concluded.
The training which took place on September 14-15, 2023, organized by SafeSisters Fellow, Lisa Tenneh Diasay, with support from DefendDefenders, a sub-regional rights group, through a grant under the SafeSisters Fellowship Program. Defend Defenders is committed to strengthening the work of Human Rights Defenders in the sub-region, reducing their vulnerability to persecution, and enhancing their capacity to effectively defend human rights.

Twelve (12) women journalists and women human rights defenders were trained on how to safeguard their personal information, secure their devices, strengthen their online security, and gain a deeper understanding of internet dynamics in the 21st century.

At the outset of the training, SafeSisters Fellow, Madam Lisa Tenneh Diasay, stressed the importance of enhancing the digital security knowledge and skills of women human rights defenders and women journalists in Liberia. She emphasized the need to provide access to essential digital security tools and resources, creating a safer online environment for these individuals to carry out their vital work without fear.

Lisa shared her own experience as a victim of online attacks, citing the hacking of her online television pages due to her reporting on a sensitive case in Liberia. She highlighted the prevalence of such incidents among journalists and rights defenders, underscoring the urgency of equipping participants with the tools to counter online threats.

Participants were trained in enabling Two-Factor Authentication on their accounts, encrypting their devices, identifying social engineering tactics, recognizing phishing emails, and taking proactive steps to protect their privacy.

Upon completion of the training, participants expressed their gratitude for the invaluable knowledge and skills acquired to enhance their digital safety. They commended the efforts of the SafeSisters Fellow and Defend Defenders for empowering them to regain control over their personal information and devices.

Famatta Thomas, Radio Superintendent at Firestone Radio, remarked, “This training was designed particularly for me because I didn’t even know that most of what I had been doing was exposing myself to threats and increasing my vulnerabilities. I am grateful for being selected to be part of this training, and I can confidently say that, from today and beyond, I will ensure that my digital life is protected.”

Willet Salue of WONGOSOL said, “I am very pleased to have been part of this training for the past two days. The practical examples and steps shown have greatly helped me in transitioning to protect my information by encrypting all my files and using an encrypted email. I recommend that our organization conduct similar training for the over 100 member organizations of rights defenders within our network to ensure their safety as well.”

Munah Warmah, from IYEED, added, “Before attending this training, I was unaware of these digital security issues. I had all my personal information out there and was not safe at all. But today, I am a different person altogether. The knowledge acquired here will go a long way in ensuring that I am not vulnerable.”

The Safe Sisters Fellowship Program is designed to train women human rights defenders, journalists, media workers, and activists to understand and address the digital security challenges they face in their work and daily lives. The fellowship combines self-study, tool practice, mentorship, workshops, peer sharing, and small grants, enabling cohorts of women to unite in addressing the most pressing digital challenges hindering their safe online presence.

As part of the grant, there will be a series of follow-up activities to ensure the safety and digital well-being of the participants after the two-day session.

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