Statistics by Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA) in 2020, reveals that men are still dominant in the digital space.
During a day-long training of the societal actors on digital advocacy to end FGM, women’s engagement online came out to be a major hindrance.
Grace Orao, a digital advocacy expert said that low women activity online poses a great challenge in women’s rights advocacy.
Despite women being the majority, they are the minority in digital consumption as compared to menMs Orao
This includes calling for actions against harmful practices like FGM and GBV, women are exposed to.
“Despite women being the majority, they are the minority in digital consumption as compared to men,” states Ms Orao.
“This has greatly posed a challenge in advocating for women’s rights digitally,” she explained.
To bridge this gap, Amref Health Africa in Kenya is targeting men to influence women to embrace more use of digital tools.
Additionally, Amref body has embarked on training societal actors in Migori on digital advocacy on eradicating FGM.
Digital advocacy to end FGM
Danish Ochieng from Amref Health Africa in Kenya, stated that Amref aims to maximise the use of social media to advocate for change in society.
He says the best way to start is through training the societal actors at the community level on how to use these digital tools.
He said this while addressing a workshop on digital advocacy to end FGM/GBV in Migori County.
Ochieng cites that the training comes handy at the time when there is an assumption that only young people are the ones online.
Although young people are the most active digitally, the old are the custodians of the societal normsDanish Ochieng
This assumption he says is ill advised as not only young people can do the advocacy on the digital space.
“Although young people are the most active digitally, the old are the custodians of the societal norms,” Ochieng’ noted.
“Even the people deep down in the community can use digital space to create change,” added Ochieng.
Ochieng’ noted that they seek to bridge the digital gap through capacity building the old.
Therefore enabling them to understand and familiarize with the platforms and how they operate.
This is before they start creating more awareness on the social media platforms on the dangers of the FGM vice.
Digital platform for change
Digital platform has been hailed as a faster and more efficient way to advocate for the urgent need for change in modern society.
With Kenya ranked among the top internet consumers in Africa, there is a clear indication that a huge number of Kenyans are on social media.
This, therefore, provides a good platform for calling for social change on matters of FGM and GBV, according to experts.
The use of digital space will help reduce the workload on the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on the ground.
However there are possible challenges on digital consumption like poor internet connectivity.
Migori County still provides a better environment for digital advocacy to thrive.
Vincent Mwita of Tunaweza Empowerment Organisation, a CBO in Migori noted that fighting FGM is a collective responsibility.
He adds that the training will empower the less advantaged to be in a position to report cases of harmful practices digitally.
“Training of societal actors on digital advocacy is good at the time that digital space has covered a wide scope,” said Mwita.
“This will enable them to report promptly hence save the harm from happening,”he added.
Boost to Anti-FGM campaign
Mwita believes that digital advocacy is going to act as a catalyst in the figth agaistnst FGM.
This is as a result of societal actors joining young people in the digital space in highlighting and reporting these harmful practices.
Digital platforms use is also a safer means of counteracting harmful practices in society in this new era.
For instance, some hostile perpetrators of these vices will not be able to launch a physical attack on a digitally shared content.
However, cyber bullying is a threat to new digital consumers.
There is still more to be done in training them to be safe in the digital space.