On February 25 – 26 , Global Peace Foundation represented by Ms. Caroline Anne Amollo, Director, Education Programs in Kenya, participated in a consultative workshop hosted by Google at the YouTube Space in Tokyo, Japan. The participation was as a result of the robust working relationship between GPF and Google in Kenya whereby Education Programs encourage improved access to technology for youth and Google supports youth to be safer online.
Google organized the event having realized that, in recent years, technology and innovation have emerged as key enablers of economic growth and integrated education. As more content is being created and consumed online, challenges have arisen along side opportunities posing threats and concerns among internet stakeholders. The international workshop, therefore, addressed the issues that arise from dangerous narratives online. Participants of the workshop from 13 different countries discussed comparative experiences dealing with dangerous speech online and explored strategies, especially non legal ones, aiming to address these issues through partnerships between tech platforms, civil society and internet communities.
Ms. Amollo, in her presentation, outlined the strides made by GPF in improving access to technology for youth in schools through their partnership with Airtel internet provider who provide free internet to all Leap Hubs in Kenya, Intel and Oracle who provide online resources for teacher and student training. “The risk that our youth will encounter dangerous narratives as they navigate the internet is very real,” she said, “ and the impact has been measured by UMATI who carried out a study in 2012 that analyzed the role that hate speech online played in the 2007 post election violence in the country.” She went on to state that GPF in collaboration with Google Kenya is working closely with education stakeholders to ensure that young people remain informed of the dangers of online existence and that they are well trained to respond correctly when it happens.
“Narratives are central in exploring ideology online. As civil society we have a role to play in countering extremism and preventing radicalization both online and offline,” said Jonathan Russell, Head of Policy at Quilliam Foundation, UK. Other workshop participants included Asrul Daniel from Malaysia, Cheikh Ahmadou, Founder and CEO AlazharTouba.com from Senegal, Dr. Palmer, Vice president, Atlas Network, USA and Zororo Mavindidze, Senior Researcher, Freedom of Expression Institute in South Africa among others.
Apart from training participants to use Google services and resources like Google Analytics and Google Forms, the YouTube team explored various avenues of expanding their support of NGO work around the world to make the internet a safer place. They welcomed new innovative approaches to enhancing online safety and the use of Google as an education and peace platform.
“One way we can expand GPF collaboration with Google and YouTube is through teacher and student skills development in Google resources as well as further collaboration in anti radicalization campaigns around Kenya especially with the ongoing Al-shabaab menace in the country,” concluded Ms. Caroline.