Increasing web literacy and digital inclusion in local areas across East Africa has been an objective for our gender and education teams in Mozilla. We’ve been taking great strides over the last year and with the help of our partners and continuing to build local digital champions in these areas.
In March I (along with Julia Vallera) traveled to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya to run Mozilla Club Leadership Trainings. These trainings were in-person, one day training for individuals facilitating Mozilla Clubs through the Mozilla DOT Clubs project. Participants received an introduction to Mozilla, working open, web literacy, facilitation techniques, tools and resources. The training was done primarily offline, with assistance of the web to show where to access materials and demonstrations of Mozilla tools that teach digital literacy.
I was excited for the opportunity to,
- Collaborate with our partners at Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) and bring Mozilla programs into their existing leadership program offerings. We facilitated trainings for their youth leaders and regional leads who are excited to bring more digital and web into their programs through Mozilla Clubs.
- Talk about what a healthy internet looks like in East Africa. Mozilla wants to support a healthy internet by working and talking to people to understand what that means to them. Though there are global threats to the internet, there are also cultural and locally differentiating threats which provide inequalities in parts of the world participating in the web.
- Teach the principles of Open Leadership. At Mozilla, we believe in the power of open and we’ve created the Mozilla Open Leadership Training that fuels the Internet health movement through training and mentorship on working open best practices. The training provided a unique opportunity to run local and offline activities focused on Open Leadership concepts.
After two weeks, three trainings and over 30 people trainings; we learned a lot.
As it relates to Internet Health in East Africa:
- We need to build with East Africa, not for East Africa. Many of the global resources available now were built for areas like East Africa but without building with the individuals in the community we will be missing large pieces of local and cultural relevance that will make it affective.
- Digital learning, sharing and collaborating must be done online. The myth that digital needs to happen entirely on digital platforms is one we need to shake. Learning, collaborating, sharing can all happen offline and be supported by local networks.
- Being open could affect my ability to be successful. In the day old tale of openly sharing ideas, which were stolen by others in the community who did what you wanted to do better and cheaper; sharing openly can still be scary and often times hard to see the value.
- Individuals don’t think they have the tools and skills to protect their privacy online. Fake news? Real news? Individuals don’t know how to know what is real or fake online anymore and they aren’t aware of how to protect their privacy until they can been scammed.
As it relates to Open Leadership Training:
- Offline learning is complimentary to online. There is power in taking online learning curriculum and adapting it for offline use. Especially when you get to do that with peers and collaborate with them. Online learning allows equal access to the new skills but is best when facilitated with offline practices.
- More offline resources and curriculum needed. This is always the feedback we receive but individuals want more offline activities that they can facilitate with their communities in low-resourced areas.
- Open practices vs. Open Source. What does it mean to work in the open versus opening everything you work on? How to protect your ideas while collaborating with others to help your ideas grow.
- Need some lightweight ways to integrate open into their existing programs. Sometimes the bar for open leadership can be high, especially when you’re introducing tools like Github to people for the first time. We need a couple quick and easy ways for people to bring better open practices to the work they are currently doing.
Julia Vallera created this fantastic Thimble blogpost recapping the events
Myself and Azra Dhalla captured some Pictures from the various trainings